Athletic Training Education Program
Technical Standards Rationale
History and Rationale
The landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, P.L. 101-336 (“ ADA ” or “the Act”), enacted on July 26, 1990, provides comprehensive civil rights protections to qualified individuals with disabilities. The ADA was modeled after Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which marked the beginning of equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. As amended, Section 504 “prohibits all programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance from discrimination against individuals with disabilities who are ‘otherwise qualified’ to participate in those programs.” With respect to post-secondary educational services, an “otherwise qualified” individual is a person with a disability “who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the recipient's education program or activity.”
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II and Title III are applicable to students with disabilities and their requests for accommodations. Title II covers state colleges and universities. Title III pertains to private educational institutions; it prohibits discrimination based on disability in places of “public accommodation,” including undergraduate and postgraduate schools.
Given the intent of Section 504 and the ADA , the development of standards of practice for a profession, and the establishment of essential requirements to the student's program of study, or directly related to licensing requirements, is allowable under these laws. In applying Section 504 regulations, which require individuals to meet the “academic and technical standards for admission,” the Supreme Court has stated that physical qualifications could lawfully be considered “technical standard(s) for admission.”
Institutions may not, however, exclude an “otherwise qualified” applicant or student merely because of a disability, if the institution can reasonably modify its program or facilities to accommodate the applicant or student with a disability. However, an institution need not provide accommodations or modify its program of study or facilities such that (a) would “fundamentally alter” and/or (b) place an “undue burden on” the educational program or academic requirements and technical standards which are essential to the program of study.