By Jonathan Stempel
(Reuters) - An organization that oversees high school sports in Minnesota has rescinded its rule preventing boys from joining their high schools' competitive dance teams.
The change announced on Friday night by the Minnesota State High School League followed a March 6 decision by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota blocking the rule's enforcement.
Roughly one-third of U.S. states offer competitive dance as a high school sport, but Minnesota had been the last to restrict it to girls.
In a memo to school activities directors and posted on its Facebook page, the league said the settlement avoids protracted litigation, and will allow boys to join competitive dance teams beginning in the 2019-2020 school year.
The rescission is a victory for Dmitri Moua and Zachary Greenwald, respectively juniors at Roseville High School and Hopkins High School near Minneapolis, who sued last July after being barred from their schools' dance teams.
In its decision, the appeals court had said the girls-only rule probably violated boys' constitutional equal protection rights.
The court also found no proof that the rule addressed girls' historic underrepresentation in high school sports in Minnesota, where boys and girls now participate almost equally.
"We are extremely pleased," Joshua Thompson, a lawyer from the Pacific Legal Foundation representing the boys, said on Monday. "This case has always been about giving all Minnesota students the opportunity to dance."
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas)