(NBC News) The feds are ordering schools across the country to make “reasonable” changes to sports programs so that disabled students can play — or else create separate teams for them.

The new guidance from the Education Department issued Friday was hailed by advocates for the disabled but denounced by a conservative think-tank that said it could cost big bucks for cash-strapped schools.

“We think it’s huge and historic. In my opinion it could have the same effect, if properly implemented, as Title IX did for women,” said Kirk Bauer, executive director of Disabled Sports USA.

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