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The one conversation all should have: get involved

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Updated: September 26, 2011

By Jamie Moffatt

Let’s set this scene, which could happen any day now, in any town in the USA, of a meeting between an athletic director and the wrestling coach in a mythical Lincoln High School.

Athletic Director: Thanks for coming by, coach. There have been some recent developments where our school district is being sued by a gender quota advocacy group because we don’t have enough girls going out for our athletic teams. I want to give you an update.

Coach: Okay, sir. You know I am all for supporting the rights of girls to play team sports.

Athletic Director: Me too, but it’s not that simple, coach. Right now we have 250 boys on our athletic teams at Lincoln and just 150 girls.                                                 Unfortunately that puts us out of compliance with the Title IX proportionality mandate that requires that we must have 50-50 proportionality of male/female athletes. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get more young girls to sign up for our existing sports teams. And with our budget freeze, there is no money to add additional girls’ teams unless we take some drastic action.

Coach (feeling a bit nervous now): What kind of action are you talking about, sir?

Athletic Director: I have to either find 100 more girls to play sports at Lincoln or eliminate 100 boys. I hate this — but I have no choice because of that Title IX quota ruling.

So here’s my solution. I’m going to have the football coach cut 50 of the 80 boys out for football.                         Then I’m eliminating entirely the wrestling team — that’s another 30 boys cut — which will get us down to 170 male competitors at Lincoln. Then you and I will try to talk 20 girls into starting a high school wrestling program.

Your job is safe for now. You just have to switch from coaching boys to coaching girls and we will be in compliance with Title IX.

Coach: Are you serious? I can’t believe you’d eliminate boys’ wrestling here at Lincoln. Most of these kids have dreamed of wrestling varsity for Lincoln for the last 10 years or so. You can’t do this to them.

Athletic Director: Sorry, coach. It’s Title IX’s ridiculous proportionality rule and I can’t do anything about it. Now go out there and find 20 young girls that want to start a wrestling team. Otherwise we’ll have to try to start up some other new girls’ sports team at Lincoln.

Make no mistake, here. While this scene was invented for illustration purposes by the author, a similar conversation is likely to occur very soon at the majority of high schools in the USA … unless the Title IX proportionality regulations are changed.

 

SCENE 2 of this story features the captain of the eliminated Lincoln wrestling team and his parents having a discussion.

Wrestler: Dad, I’ve been wrestling since I was five years old and now the government is saying no more high school wrestling for me just as I’m going into my senior year, all because of Title IX. That’s incredible. I just can’t change my sport. I want to wrestle.

Dad: Well, I’ll see if you can get a transfer over to the rural school district and live with your grandma so that you can wrestle your senior year. Maybe they don’t have any Title IX quota problems over there.

Wrestler: I’m not sure that will work; I don’t want to leave all my friends behind. And all our wrestlers can’t transfer. This is the pits for me.

Mom: I’m fed up with this Title IX proportionality mess. Of course girls should be given the opportunity to play sports, same as the boys. But right now it has gone way too far and Title IX is clearly discriminating against male student athletes. The law says that you can’t discriminate on the basis of gender and that’s exactly what they’re doing to you. It’s wrong and we shouldn’t stand for it.

Wrestler: But what can we do?

Mom: Dad and I … and you too, son … need to be pro-active. Let’s become involved in correcting this injustice, not just complain about it. There is one vocal non-profit group in Washington D.C. I think it’s called the College Sports Council, which is leading the charge in reforming Title IX.

Wrestler: Yes, I was reading about them in WIN Magazine. I think they just changed their name to the American Sports Council. They have recently filed a lawsuit against the government arguing that Title IX’s proportionality test does not apply to high schools.

Mom: Great! I hope they win that court case so our high schools across the country don’t lose their wrestling programs like the devastation that has happened at the college level. Plus, I recently heard that due to Title IX regulations, the high schools in some areas are now prohibiting booster clubs from raising money for their own teams.

Wrestler: You’re right, Mom. The football players are complaining bitterly that the money they raised by washing cars last month was supposed to go for a new blocking sled; however the AD said that those Title IX gender quota advocates are demanding that booster club donations can’t be sport specific. So, in our case the boys did all the work to raise extra money, yet a good portion of it went to the girls’ teams who didn’t raise a dime.

Dad: That’s counter-productive. It takes away the incentive to help raise money for your team if donations are dumped into one big general fund. I’ve had enough of this. I’m going to sign up with the American Sports Council on their website and give them a hand in fighting these ridiculous federal regulations. Son, you need to sign up on their Facebook page.

We need to tell all the parents to write Congress and get them to reform Title IX. Hopefully, those regulations will be history by the time your younger brother is ready to wrestle in high school.

In the last three months 300 high schools in the Pacific Northwest have been hit with Title IX complaints based on proportionality.

For more information about the American Sports Council and how you can directly help in their quest of changing Title IX so that it is fair for both girls and boys, go to their website: www.AmericanSportsCouncil.org.

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