On Friday, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights issued rules explaining that under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, schools are required to give equal opportunity in their athletic programs to students with disabilities (you can read an article about it at http://bigstory.ap.org/article/schools-must-provide-sports-disabled-us-says).
Previous rules had been vague—and thereby led to evasion. The new rules make it clear that all sports activities in schools are covered, not just competing teams.
If a participant can be included with typical modifications of the type used in other settings, such as a visual cue instead of a sound cue at a track event, that is acceptable. The rules do not require that a coach choose players who are less-qualified. However, the rules do require inclusion, so if accommodations cannot be made, separate activities must be provided. An example of this would be wheelchair basketball for those with mobility impairments. The most exciting possibility is that the rules encourage “unified” or “allied” teams that would include students with and without disabilities.
As the video shows, inclusion like this is already practiced in many places. Stay tuned—it will be interesting to see how this effects Indianapolis Public Schools, the largest system in the state, and the currently-sitting Indiana legislature, which seems to be more concerned with whether students will be able to write in cursive script.