OHS Funding Sports Equally?
The Olympia School District continuously reviews how equally it funds guys and girls sports. The controversial law known as Title IX has raised heads and caused questionable cuts to mens sports programs around the nation. OHS coaches and administrators continue to face scrutiny in how we implement this law.
The 1972 law, Title IX, reads, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” This is applicable to many things but was pinpointing the inequality in male and female athletics at the collegiate level.
The theory of this law was great: Gender equality in school sports and sports funding.
However, the way authorities have gone about equalizing sports is not the way that many involved believe it should have been done.
From coaches to athletes, the prospect of adding more girls sports seemed great. If school systems were not seeing to the needs of girls that wanted to participate in sports, then certainly schools should be forced to pay attention. And, perhaps sexism was involved by stereotypically favoring men in sports funding. Title IX addressed this.
Unfortunately, by and large colleges did not simply add more girls sports. Rather, colleges have worked to equalize the funding between guys and girls by cutting mens sports. This way of complying with the law saves money.
At OHS, there has not been any overt cutting of men’s sports. But the concern of equality under Title IX has been discussed and questioned among coaches and directors over the years.
As noted by coaches who wish not to have their names published, there has been particular scrutiny of how often guys teams and girls teams are using the artificial turf of Ingersoll stadium. Administrators and coaches have found themselves counting how many times girls soccer has been on the turf compared to the football team. Overall, it has been even.
One of the only complaints has been the fact that the fast pitch team practices and plays at Stevens field,” said Mr. Amedon, OHS Athletic Director. This has been discussed many times over the years, with the various coaches to Fastpitch opting to keep the well-lit and groomed Stevens complex over any plan that would have put the girls on campus. In some respects, girls fastpitch has a nicer facility off campus at Stevens Field than the two fields used on campus by the baseball team.
Amidon says that the Olympia School District, as well as others, interpret Title IX as implying that schools must give girls the same opportunity to play sports as it gives the guys. So, though there have been years when 22 girls turned out for fast pitch and 75 guys turned out for baseball, that did not mean that the guys had to cut their team to 22 players. The opportunity was given and funds provided for just as many girls. So, OHS is in compliance.
The Olympia School District Athletic Director’s office keeps track of all this on a series of files that lead up to a Title IX meeting once a year. At the meeting there is investigation into how Title IX has been complied with over the past year, and what each school can do to improve participation numbers.
Horror stories of mens teams being cut at colleges and at some high schools in order to fund Title IX compliance is not a reality at Olympia High School. With the current interpretations of the law, it should stay that way.