The Education Department says students with disabilities must be given a fair shot to play on a traditional sports team or have their own leagues.
That message was being delivered to the nation's schools on Friday. The order is reminiscent of the Title IX expansion four decades ago of athletic opportunities for girls and women and could bring sweeping changes to school budgets and locker rooms for years to come.
Students with disabilities who want to play for their school could join traditional teams if officials could make "reasonable modifications" to accommodate them.
But if those adjustments would fundamentally alter a sport or give the student an advantage, the department is directing the school to create parallel athletic programs that have comparable standing to mainstream programs.