The Supreme Court yesterday refused to consider reinstating a lawsuit that accuses federal officials of discriminating against male athletes in enforcing equal opportunities for women.

Justices, without comment, rejected an appeal from the National Wrestling Coaches Association and other groups that have been fighting federal policies under the anti-discrimination law known as Title IX.

At issue for the court was whether the challengers showed that the law directly caused a reduction in men's sports and whether they should be allowed to sue federal officials.

The Supreme Court has indicated a special interest recently in Title IX, the 1972 law that bars sex discrimination in any educational program receiving federal funds.

Mike Moyer, executive director of the wrestling coaches' association, said yesterday: "We are more determined than ever. We are never going to give up. We need a more fair and reasonable interpretation of Title IX that protects women without harming men. We are going to continue to carry the fight against the quota system in the courts and on the playing field."

Over the past two decades, the number of wrestling teams at NCAA schools has dropped from 363 to 222 while football teams increased from 497 to 619, according to NCAA leaders. Title IX has been blamed for part of the decline.

In addition to men's wrestling team cuts, other schools have dropped outdoor track, swimming programs and ice hockey, the court was told.

A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the lawsuit should have been filed against individual colleges that eliminated men's sports, not the federal government.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports