January 6, 2017 - See Forbes.com's Bob Cook's insightful piece on how poorer kids - especially girls - simply have fewer sports participation opportunities. This article illustrates Title IX issues at poorer schools and it touches upon the root causes of many of the public/private issues that plaque youth sports. There is a reason that the richer schools win. Cook nails it. See It's Tough For Low Income Kids, Especiallly Girls, To Participate In Sports.
December 23, 2016 - Kenilworth, NJ - Why Family Is Making Full-Court Press To Get Daughter On Boys' Basketball Team, reported by Tom Haydon, nj.com. This seems like a simple matter. A catholic middle school doesn't have a girls' basketball team; so a girl wants to play on the boys' team. The school has a no-cut policy. Sounds simple, but ifit was simple there wouldn't be a lawsuit, now would there?
November 3, 2016 – Boston, MA - Title IX Hits Harvard Soccer Team’s Crude Female Rating System. See Harvard Suspends Men’s Soccer Team Over Sexual Comments, AP Wire Service on Boston, KIRO Channel 7. Not to be outdone, Columbia Suspends Wrestling Team Over Lewd Texts: NYT, NBC News, November 15, 2016.
September 23, 2016 - Arizona High School Boys Soccer Team Refuses To Play Team With Two Female Players, reported by Richard Obert, Arizona Republic, September 26, 2016. This is a clash between Title IX rights and a Christian school. The school with the two female players has no girls' soccer team; so the girls can play on the boys' team. If they didn't get to play on the boys' team, the girls could never play high school soccer. However, the team that refused to play against the girls is a Christian school that has historically refused to let its boys' teams play against teams that have a girl on the team. This type of conflict doesn't tend to occur at large schools, but at smaller schools that can't or don't field girls' teams, co-ed teams can occur more frequently and these types of conflicts can occur more often.
August 20, 2016 - The Foundation for Individual Rights In Education (FIRE), a free speech organization, appears to believe that Title IX enforcement imposes on students' First Amendment rights. FIRE devotes a lot of space to this issue on their website. Click here for details. See our Title IX page for Title IX coverage and links to other Title IX organizations - such as the excellent Title-IX Blogspot.
July 19, 2016 - Buffalo Grove, IL - Ex-High School Water Polo Player: I was Sexually Assaulted During Game, reported by Tony Briscoe, Chicago Tribune. Rebecca Dabrowski alleges that she was sexually assaulted by a player from Libertyville High School. Dabrowski played on the boys' water polo team. If you're not familiar with water polo, fairly rough play occurs below the water line out of view of officials, coaches and spectators. But a sexual assault would be beyond the pale. Dabrowski's bringing a Title IX action. She's also been on ESPN's Outside The Lines Show. This is one of those cases that has the ring of truth while at the same time being virtually impossible to prove. Still, both schools needed to try... a full investigation was in order and it's not clear if that ever occurred. We will soon find out.
May 11, 2016 - For a thorough airing of transgender issues in sports, Title IX's impact on female college coaches and how schools cook the books to impact how athletes are counted for Title IX purposes, listen to The Center For Investigative Reporting's Reveal Radio Show's: Women's Sports: A Mans' Game. You can also find this podcast on the Reveal website, and see A Man's Game: Inside The Inequality That Plagues Women's College Sports, reported by Annie Brown, Reveal.org, for an in depth report on Title IX's impact on female college coaches
August, 2015 - Title IX has done a lot for girls, but the benefits of Title IX are slower to trickle down to schools with high concentrations of minority and low-income students. See Finishing Last: Girls of Color and School Sports Opportunities, National Women's Law Center Report.
Chula Vista, CA - September 19, 2014 - In a major high school Title IX case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sustained a District Court finding that the Sweetwater Union High School District violated Title IX. See Appeals Court Upholds Title IX Ruling Against Sweetwater by Allison Sampite-Montecalvo, San Diego Union Tribune, September 22, 2014. Click here for the Ninth Circuit's ruling.
August 20, 2014 - Lax enforcement on crimes against women creates ongoing Title IX Problems For Colleges. See Athletes, Assaults and Inaction, ESPN Outside the Lines, August 20, 2014.
Philadelphia, PA - March 15, 2013 - Philadelphia Archdiocese Reverses Field - Let's Eleven-Year Old Girl Continue To Play Football. This isn't really a Title IX issue as it occurred in a private church league, but it still raises some interesting points that impact girls in youth sports. Philadelphia's Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) has an old rule on its books that bars girls from playing football. Caroline Pla, an eleven-year old girl, has been playing CYO football for the past two years. The wise CYO heads alerted to her presence, and invoked their rule. The problem, of course, is that by playing - and playing well according to most people - Caroline proved that the rule wasn't needed: a cynic may add that the rule wasn't needed in her case. Obviously, youth football creates some issues. The biggest issue is whether a scrawny player could get injured by a strapping, muscular, and large player. Most youth leagues guard against this problem by having fairly strict size rules. The size rules solve the problem that the CYO was trying to prevent with its boys' only rule. Fortunately for Caroline, the CYO heads reviewed their rule and deleted the boys' only provision. Now, Caroline can play legally. She has won the battle. See Girl, 11, Scores In Fight Against Philadelphia Archdiocese To Play Football by Sarah Hoye, CNN, March 15, 2013
June 2012 - 40 Years After Title IX, Women Are Gaining On The Field But Losing On The Bench. ESPN pointedly asks where have all the female coaches gone; they've gone home and been replaced by a wave of males coaching female teams. See The Glass Wall by Kate Fagan and Luke Cyphers, ESPNW and ESPN The Magazine, June 2012, and Outside The Lines: Title IX Coaching Conundrum, ESPN, June 15, 2012.
Sacramento, CA - May 14, 2012 - California Assemblyman Chris Norby Tries To Butt In On Brandi Chastain's Party. The California State legislature tried to hold a feel good moment, honoring Brandi Chastain as part of a Title IX 40th Anniversary celebration. That's when Norby struck, stating that Title IX had deprived men of opportunities. Norby may have been in order if the legislature was debating Title IX, but there was no debate. The legislature was simply honoring Chastain: a standard government process where an elected body simply passes a resolution that boils down to saying, "We're proud of you", followed by the recipient getting a nice certificate and a photo opportunity with some legislators. For a parallel, just think if we invited Martin Luther King, III to an event where we recognized the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by giving him a certificate in honor of his late father, and Norby stood up and said, "You know, helping those black folks sure was nice, but let's not forget that somewhere a white guy might have lost his job." We'd run Norby out of town for that, and he'd go down as the idiot of the year. Heck, he still might go down as the idiot of the year, but my guess is that he'll probably be forgotten by next week. Women have made great strides, but you can still crash their party and basically get away with it. In all fairness, though, Norby is all over the news for his treatment of Chastain. However, I doubt that he'll face cries to resign. See Lawmaker Blasts Title IX, Brandi Chastain Winces by Lisa Leff, AP Wire Service in Sacramento Bee, May 14, 2012.
February 2012 - Latest Title IX News is educational. We tend to think of Title IX as mostly a numbers' count because that's what we see most often when we read about college sports. However, Title IX is not just numbers. It also means that the girls need to receive equal treatment and benefits. Also, Title IX impacts all aspects of schools. In the last few weeks, we have seen two very good examples of the reach of Title IX.
First, in February, a Federal Court found that the Sweetwater Union School District violated Title IX by providing girls' inferior resources and facilities. Some of the judge's findings included the girls' teams having lockers too small for their equipment while the boys' teams had sufficiently large lockers, and the band and cheerleaders disproportionately supporting boys' teams and not girls' teams. The District plans to appeal.
The District's superintendent also raised an argument that has recently gained momentum, stating that Title IX should not be applied to high schools. This novel theory is not likely to carry legal weight, and will likely drive up the District's costs on appeal. For the story on the lawsuit, see Judge Finds Gender Bias In High School's Athletics by Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, February 11, 2012, page C3. To read the leading advocates of the theory that Title IX should not apply to high school sports visit the American Sports Council's web page. To read the excellent Title IX blog spot's take on the American Council's position, and their lawsuit over Title IX not applying to high schools, click here. One should note that while it may not be uncommon for a school district like the Sweetwater Union School District to write an amicus curiae brief (basically a supporting brief in someone else's lawsuit) to support the American Sports Council, it seems fiscally irresponsible for them to spend money pushing such a theory in their own lawsuit as the position is almost a certain loser. If one doesn't want Title IX to apply to high schools, one needs to go to Congress, not to court.
The second big Title IX news in February was a non-athletic case in Dallas. The Dallas Independent School District spent $57,000 to take 5,000 boys to the movie Red Tail, leaving the girls behind. According to the Dallas Morning News, the "district said only boys were invited to the screening because the theater lacked space to accommodate everyone and that district leaders thought boys would enjoy the movie more." See Did the Boys-Only Dallas ISD Field Trip To See Red Tails Violate Title IX? by Matthew Haag, Dallas Morning News, February 9, 2012. Well, since Title IX bars sex discrimination in any educational program receiving federal funding, the answer to the question posed by the article is, yes, the boys-only field trip probably violated Title IX. I only hedge because of the very slim chance that seeing Red Tails is not a meaningful benefit, but it probably is since it was deemed sufficiently educational to have merit for 5,000 boys.
Anyway, these are two Title IX violations. You may feel sorry for the Sweetwater Union District. They appear to have innocently violated - even though their Superintendent's theory about Title IX not applying to high schools is dumb. It's hard to justify the Texas situation, though. That just seems dumb. But, maybe there's something we don't know - maybe there's some male leadership program with a female leadership counterpart. Maybe the girls are going to see a movie later in the year. Still, Dallas is treading in dangerous water from a legal perspective.
Dallas, TX - January 31, 2012 - Shades of the 1970s! A 7-year-old girl was just kicked off of a youth baseball team. Why? You know why! She's a girl! See 7-Year-Old Anna Kimball Kicked Off Baseball Team Just Because She's a Girl by Cameron Smith, USA Today, January 31, 2012. And if you think girls either don't or can't play baseball when they're older, well, here's a website filled with girls playing baseball. Click here for girlsplaybaseball.com.
Davis, CA - August 5, 2011 - US District Court rules that UC Davis violated Title IX. The court ruled that Davis properly cut two women's sports because opposing colleges' failure to offer the sports led to a lack of competitive opportunities. However, Davis had an obligation to replace the lost opportunities by giving women opportunities in sports where competition could be found. The court also found that Davis properly cut three women from its wrestling team as the women had lost in wrestle offs against better wrestlers. Since other Universities don't offer women's wrestling, Davis had no obligation to create a women's wrestling team for these women. See UC Davis Gets Split Ruling Over Title IX by Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, August 5, 2011, page C-2.
New York, New York - July 18, 2011 - Girls' Flag Football Continues To Make Inroads. Title IX at work as New York considers adding high school flag football. See PSAL Considers Organizing Girls Flag Football Leagues, Tries To Gauge Level Of Interest With Clinics by Julian Garcia, New York Daily News, July 18, 2011. This is great, right? It's what Title IX is supposed to do - so who could complain? Well, nobody in New York seems to be complaining, but it did take a while for people to embrace girls' flag football. A year ago, people in Florida weren't all thrilled by what has become a successful sport. The New York Times looked at girls flag football in Florida a year ago. They found that some Title IX advocates view flag football as a new sports opportunity for women in sports. Others agree (since it is a new opportunity), but contend the sport is an artificially contrived sport that exists just to help solve Title IX problems (ya think?). Florida school administrators say where the rubber hits the road, they can hardly keep up with the demand. Could it be that everybody in this argument is correct? See No Tackling, But A Girls' Sport Takes Some Hit by Katie Thomas, New York Times, May 16, 2010.
Seattle, WA - June 11, 2011 - Feds Investigate Over 100 Washington State Schools For Title IX Violations. If you're a high school administrator, it's time to take stock. Are you in compliance with Title IX? If not, your time could be running out. See Feds To Investigate Title IX Compliance by Jim Camden, Seattle Times, June 11, 2011.
Detroit, MI - February 15, 2011 - Three years after the Michigan High School Athletic Association got hit with a whopping $7.4 million Title IX judgment, a Michigan high school league decided that it just had to commit one of the clearest Title IX violations we've seen. Michigan's Downriver League decided it could save money by giving boys' basketball teams three officials, and girls' basketball teams two officials. Who wouldn't see the problem, here? This is an obvious Title IX violation. The DRL eventually reversed its decision under pressure from the ACLU, but they violated Title IX with this ill-advised policy for most of the 2011 basketball season and they're lucky they didn't walk away with a very large financial penalty. See ACLU Is Concerned With Prep Officiating Cuts by Tom Markowski, The Detroit News, February 15, 2011. For an ACLU-blog piece on this victory for women, officials, and common sense, see A Different Type of Basketball Fever by Jessie Rossman, ACLU of Michigan blogs, March 21, 2011. The Downriver League's actions indicate that the very large legal judgment against the MHSAA did not have a signficant deterrent effect. The DRL was not deterred, and was willing to roll the dice on a clear Title IX violation until they were directly confronted.
Indianapolis, IN - October 8, 2010 - Surprising Result: Federal Court Rules Indiana Schools’ Game Time Disparity Does Not Violate Title IX. See Schools Win In Lawsuit Over Girls’ Basketball Game Times by Nat Newell, Indianapolis Star, October 8, 2010. To read the decision, click here for Parker v. IHSAA.
Lock Haven, PA - July 22, 2010 - Title IX Problems Cut Both Ways: This Time The Men Are Suing, And Suing, And Suing. See School Locked In Gender War: Men Allege Bias, Women Assert Fairness, Both File Lawsuits by Erik Brady, USA Today, July 22, 2010, page C-1.
Washington, D.C. - April 20, 2010 - Title IX Model Survey Policy To Be Rescinded by Erik Brady, USA Today page C1, April 20, 2010. For the past decade, one way of complying with Title IX was to use an interest survey. Critics of the survey argued that non-responses were construed as lack of interest. The Office of Civil Rights, now under the direction of the Obama administration, will now require schools using the model survey to provide other indicators of a lack of interest. Examples cited in the USA Today article are "participation in club sports and tracking trends at feeder" schools. And, yes, the title of the USA Today article is misleading since the survey can still be used - but the Title does make the point that a big change occurred in how the survey can be used.
Washington, D.C. - March 10, 2010 - DC's Coolidge High To Hire Nation's Only Female Head Varsity Football Coach. Is she the first? That's not clear. But she appears to be the only one in anybody's recent memory. See D.C. High School To Hire First Female Head Varsity Football Coach by Stephen Spielwak, MaxPreps.com, March 10, 2010; Natalie Randolph To Coach Coolidge High School Football Team by Alan Goldenbach, Washington Post, March 9, 2010. The first challenge for an urban high school coach is to get her players eligible. Randolph has hit the ground running. See A Football Coach Used To Tests Insists Her Players Pass Theirs by Juliet Macur, New York Times, May 9, 2010. Ultimately, a coach has to produce and Natalie Randolph has produced. In just her second season, she took her team to a championship game. See Natalie Randolph Has Won Over Coolidge High's Players By Taking Them To Turkey Bowl and Focusing On Their Futures by James Wagner, Washington Post, November 23, 2011.
Eaton, CO - October 5, 2009 - Score One For Title IX: It's More Effective Than Beating Up the Coach Who Won't Let the Girl Play! See Football Coach Throws Punch Over Girls' Right To Play by Emily Friedman, ABCNews.com, October 7, 2009; and Flag! Coaches Brawl Over Girl Playing Youth Football by Alan Gathright and Tyler Lopez, Denver Channel, October 6, 2009.
Florida - July 15, 2009 - Whoopsee. Florida has to rescind high school sports cuts. They cut without counting and ended up violating Title IX. See State Rescinds High School Sports Schedule Cuts After Lawsuit Over Impact on Girls' Teams by Ben Volin, Palm Beach Post, July 15, 2009.
New York, N.Y. - Feb. 28, 2009 - Girls in Baseball: A Growing Trend. See Challenges For Girls Playing High School Baseball by Mark Hyman, New York Times, February 28, 2009. In Bayonne, N. J. one Girl Throws A Youth League No-Hitter. See 12 Year Old Girl Fires Perfect Game Against Boys, NBC Sports, April 24, 2009; and Perfect-Game Jersey Girl To Throw Out First Pitch at Citi Field by Michael Buteau, Bloomberg News, April 24, 2009.
Fresno, CA - February 24, 2009 - Some Things Never Change! Another Title IX Suit at Fresno State. This one's a retaliatory discharge and gender discrimination in hiring charge from a Fresno State Track Assistant. Fresno State has already paid out over $16,000,000 from previous Title IX suits. Is this piling on? Maybe. Did Fresno State ask for it? Yes, most definitely. Fresno State's previous problems include blatant retaliation against a basketball coach and the creation of a hostile work environment that was so bad that the athletic department once posted a weekly "Ugly Female Athlete of The Week" Award on bulletin boards. This stuff wouldn't fly in any workplace. For information on the latest Title IX problem at Fresno, see Fresno State Athletics Faces Another Lawsuit: Pagel Latest To Take School to Court on Discrimination and Title IX Complaints by Jeff Davis, Fresno Bee, Feb. 24, 2009. Click here for timeline of Fresno State's long string of Title IX problems.
New York, NY - January 18, 2009 - NYC Schools Will Move Girls' Soccer To Fall, Title-IX Blogspot, January 18, 2009; City Shifts Girls' Soccer From Spring To The Fall by Javier C. Hernandez, New York Times, January 18, 2009.
McDonough, GA - August 29, 2008 - Girl Kicker Booted Off School Football Team by Kathy Jefcoats, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Report: Kicker Dismissed by Georgia Team For Being a Girl, ESPN.com, August 30, 2008 (Kacy Stuart, a 14 year-old freshman kicker, is tossed off her high school football team. Why? "Simply because she's a girl.") .
Fort Wayne, IN - August 10, 2008 - Title IX: No Small Task: Colleges with Fewer Students Struggle Finding Equity by Stacy Clardie, The Fort Wayne, In. Journal Gazette, August 10, 2008.
Oregon - June 9, 2008 - Did University Use Title IX As An Excuse To Cut Wrestling? See Wrestlers Sue Oregon: University Wants To End Program, restore Baseball by William McCall, Associated Press, published in seattlepi.com. Click here for coverage in Southern Oregon Mail Tribune. For years wrestling programs have been cut in order to strike a better gender balance in order to help schools comply with Title IX. This doesn't make the wrestling community very happy as they've become the whipping boys for Title IX compliance. Here, though, the cuts in wrestling have been offset by a University adding a men's sport that they weren't playing previously. The University used Title IX as an excuse, but a Title IX excuse won't fly since the University replaced the men in wrestling with men in baseball. Wrestlers won't be happy here. Women's groups won't be happy either as they won't like Title IX being used in a cynical manner for pretext cuts to a male sport. The University of Oregon is going to take some well deserved heat here - and the matter may end up in court under Oregon statutes that establish prerequisites for the dropping of a University program. In October, 2008 Oregon ultimately won a dismissal of a lawsuit against it for dropping wrestling. See legalnewsline.com for details.
Summer, 2008 - Cheerleading In The Context of Title IX and Gendering In Sport by Rebecca Boyce, The Sport Journal, Vol. 11, Number 3, Summer 2008 (published by the United State Sports Academy).
May 27, 2008 - Let's Face It, Wrestling Programs Have Been Cut Since the Advent of Title IX. However, they may get a new lease on life as the growth of women's wrestling is beginning to penetrate high schools and even smaller universities. See Women Want To Wrestle; Small Colleges Oblige by Katie Thomas, New York Times, May 27, 2008 Page A-1.
Beaverton, OR - May, 2008 - When Should Girls Be Allowed On The Boys' Team? If turnaround is fair play, does this mean we should ask when the boy should be allowed on the girls' team? TheHoop, a Beaverton, Oregon, private club is facing these questions because one of its girls' basketball players is just too good for the girls. See Oregon Basketball Ace Kept off Boys Team by Tom Hallman, Jr., Seattle Times, May 18, 2008; Girl Barred From Boys' Basketball Team, KOIN Channel 6, Portland, May 14, 2008. Is it fair to have even the best girl play with other girls? Well... maybe! See Gender Bias Cuts Both Ways by Gwen Knapp, San Francisco Chronicle, May 27, 2008 page C1. Also, see Crossing Gender Divide in School Sports Not New by Charles Walsh, Connecticut Post, April 24, 2006. What if it's a sport where there's no girls' team? In that case, the girls should get to play on the boys' team. See Indiana High Schools Reverse Decision Preventing High School Girl From Playing Baseball, Muncie Free Press, February 29, 2008; Click here for story on Women's Sports Foundation Website.
Michigan - April 2, 2008 - Michigan's Title IX Bill Is Due - And It's A $7.4 Million Whopper!!!
The Michigan High School Athletic Association lost a decade long legal battle last year. The MHSAA was found to have violated Title IX by playing girls' basketball in the fall and boys in the winter - amongst other scheduling issues. Michigan has now joined the rest of the country in playing girls and boys' basketball in the same sports season, but the plaintiffs' lawyers' fees bill is in and the MHSAA has to pay $7.4 million. See Federal Judge: Michigan Prep Sports Group To Pay $7.4 Million by Fred Girard, The Detroit News, April 2, 2008. Click here for information on Communities for Equity, the group that brought the suit against the MHSAA. To read the fee decision click here. It is interesting to note that Hawaii confronted this issue also. Rather than fight, they opted to join America and play boys and girls' basketball at the same time. This doesn't mean that they're always happy about it, but they did it - and the world kept turning. For an example of their dissatisfaction, see Concurrent Seasons Cause Problems, Honolulu Star Bulletin, February 13, 2008. The MHSAA's $7.4 million Title IX Bill had little impact on Michigan's Downriver League. In 2011, the DRL decided that they could save money by giving boys' basketball three officials, and girls' basketball teams two officials. The DRL reversed its decision under pressure from the ACLU, but don't you wonder what the DRL was thinking in the first place? See ACLU Is Concerned With Prep Officiating Cuts by Tom Markowski, The Detroit News, February 15, 2011. For more see our 2011 stories on this page.
Long Beach, CA - March 6, 2008 - Court Finds Title IX Facilities Violation At Long Beach Wilson High School. Converting on-campus dedicated gymnastics space into a weight room discriminated against the girls' gymnastics team by showing a disregard for their practice conditions even though the District did not intend to eliminate the team. See Wilson High Broke Law On Gym Decision, Judge Rules by Kevin Butler, Long Beach Press Telegram, March 6, 2008..
January 10, 2008 - Movement to Reduce Male Practice Players Gains Traction in Division III. See Let The Women Play by Donna Ledwin, Inside Higher Education, Jan. 10, 2008.
Fresno, CA - December 6, 2007 - More Title IX Problems At Fresno State: This Time The Former Basketball Coach Wins $19 Million Dollars. See Fired Fresno State Coach Wins $19M in Sex Discrimination Lawsuit, USA Today, December 6, 2007; and FresnoBee.Com Editorial Opinion Blog, December 6, 2007. (Note: this award was later reduced to $6.6 million - still not bad, but remember you have to have the misfortune of being the victim of discrimination to get this money. See Ex Fresno State Coach Agrees To Take $6.6 Million, San Francisco Chronicle, February 14, 2008).
Fresno, CA - October 11, 2007 - Fresno State, Former Associate Athletic Director Reach Settlement, KSEE TV 24 Fresno, Oct. 11, 2007 (Diane Milutinovich wins $3.5 M from Fresno State in gender equity retaliatory discharge case).
NFHS: September, 2007 - Title IX -- 35 Years and Counting: A View of Educational Equity: Part One of Two by Peg Pennepacker, CAA, High School Today (published by the NFHS), September 2007 page 6. and Title IX -- 35 Years and Counting: A View of Educational Equity: Part Two of Two by Peg Pennepacker, CAA, High School Today (published by the NFHS), October 2007 page 8.
July 11, 2007, NCAA, Government Often Differ On Title IX Compliance Statistics by Jodi Upton and Erik Brady, USA Today, July 11, 2007.
Fresno, CA - July 9, 2007 - Lindy Vivas, a fired Fresno State women's volleyball coach, wins Title IX retaliatory discharge suit on grounds she was fired for complaining about equal access and equal treatment. See Jury Awards Former Dogs Coach $5.85m: Panel Finds Unanimously On Majority of Questions In Discrimination Suit by Bryant-Jon Anteola, Fresno Bee, July 10, 2007. Also see Fresno State Coach Gets Title IX Award, Kansas City Star, July 9, 2007.
Fresno, CA - July 4, 2007 - Problems in Women's Sports! Fewer Female Coaches Every Year. This article also details the severe problems at Fresno State that led to Lindy Vivas's successful Title IX suit. Things were so bad that male coaches staged an Ugly Women Athlete's Day, definitely creating a hostile work environment. See Female Coaches Are Leaving Collegiate Ranksby Garance Burke, Fresno Bee, July 4, 2007.
Washington, D.C. - June 25, 2007 - OCR Tells Colleges: Don't Cut Pregnant Athletes' Scholarships Or Else!! Actually, OCR is a bureaucracy enforcing Title IX and there actual language is much more dry. Stephanie Monroe, from the OCR, did make a powerful statement that, "terminating or reducing financial assistance on the basis of pregnancy or a related condition is prohibited under Title IX." Click here for OCR's letter to colleges.
June 5, 2007 - Who's Playing College Sports? Trends In Participation by The Women's Sports Foundation, June 5, 2007.
Texas - May 14, 2007 - OCR denies boys claim that he can play on girls' volleyball team under Title IX. Click here for OCR's May 2007 Denial Letter.
San Diego, CA - April 20, 2007 - Level The Playing Field by Chris Moran, San Diego Union Tribune, April 20, 2007 page B1 (Girls' softball facilities significantly worse than boys' baseball - school allegedly fires coach for complaining about it).
Harrisonburg, VA - April 19, 2007 - One common approach to solving Title IX issues is to cut men's sports. James Madison University has stirred up controversy by cutting 10 sports - 7 men's and 3 women's. The great number of sports has stirred up debates and legal action over how to achieve equity. See One School's Title IX Debate by Erik Brady, USA Today, April 19, 2007 page C1.
Detroit, MI. April 3, 2007 - Scheduling Equity In High School Sports! Huge Change For Girls' Sports by Fred Girard, Detroit News, April 3, 2007. MHSAA loses lawsuit over inequities in sports seasons. Michigan was one of the few, if not the only, states to play girls' basketball in the fall and boys in the winter. They had other scheduling issues that were found to violate Title IX. Now they must adjust. How will they do it? See Changes Pose Tough Challenges For Schools by Tom Markowski, Detroit News, April 3, 2007.
New York, N.Y. - February 17, 2007 - Girls in High School wrestling have to compete against boys as there aren't enough girls in most states to have girls' teams. What's the impact of this? Click on More Girls Take Part In High School Wrestling by Tamar Lewin, New York Times, February 17, 2007 page A1. For more, Click here for Girl Wrestlers Buck Tradition (by Walter Grable, Indianapolis Star January 25, 2001), a story on Hannah Paarlberg, a girl wrestling against high school boys in Indiana. Hannah later transferred to California and became the first girl to wrestle her way to the State Tournament by defeating all of her male competition, making her the most accomplished high school female wrestler we are aware of.
February 11, 2007 - After Title IX? High School Reporting, Op. Ed. by Marci Seman published in Southwest Florida Herald-Tribune, Feb. 11, 2007 (this piece advocates the High School Sports Information Collection Act of 2003, which did not pass but was introduced as the High School Sports Information Collection Act of 2007). The 2003 Act did not pass - click here for details.
February 7, 2007 - Follow the High School Sports Information Collection Act of 2007 by clicking on the following: Bill Summary, Bill Text, Bill Status.
Birmingham, AL. 2006 - Important Title IX whistleblower protection established in Jackson v. Birmingham Bd. Of Educ. in the U.S. Supreme Court: Click here for Going The Distance:How one coach's refusal to give up changed Title IX law for everyone, gaining permanent protection for coaches who speak out against gender equity, AthleticSearch.com, 2006. See Washington Post Article, High Court Supports Title IX Protection: Law Now Covers Whistleblowers by Charles Lane, Washington Post, March 30, 2005 page A01.
Title IX Status of Competitive Cheer
Hartford, CT - September 8, 2010 - Cheer groups try to find way to make cheer a sport after the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut rules that cheer is not a sport in Biediger v. Quinnipiac University. For the latest on these efforts, see Groups Competing To Make Cheer A Recognized Sport, Associated Press Wire on Yahoo.com.
July 21, 2010 - The latest in the ongoing debate about whether competitive cheer is a sport: The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) states that competitive cheer can be a sport if a team was picked primarily on athletic ability, operated like other sports teams, competed more than it supported other teams, had a defined sports season, and was run by an athletic department. The Women's Sport Foundation listed these guidelines in a Q and A. These factors were the industry standard. However, a federal court has ruled that intercollegiate competitive cheer simply doesn't meet these factors. Indeed, OCR has never found an intercollegiate competitive cheer team to be a sports team - although some lower levels of cheer have been found to be competitive sports.
The basic problem is that competitive cheer really doesn't have a set season. It goes all year and appears to be linked to apparel companies and competing sponsoring organizations' attempts to profit. There's no clear set of rules either. The rules vary from place to place. All these problems were exposed in Biediger v. Quinnipiac University, which was just decided on July 21, 2010 by the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. The court refused to count competitive cheer as a competitive sport. This led the court to rule that Quinnipiac University violated Title IX by canceling its Women's Volleyball team. The cheer participants aren't countable athletes so Quinnipiac is going to have to either play volleyball or find another women's sport. The ruling doesn't mean that cheer can't be a competitive sport, but as currently structured it's unlikely to be ruled a competitive sport. Sounds like the competing organizations and apparel companies need to sit down, create a season, create some rules, and basically run a sport. They won't do it, though. It's against their economic interest.
For fallout from Biediger v. Quinnipiac University, see Competitive Cheer Fans See Acceptance In Future by Katie Thomas, New York Times, July 22, 2010. Also, see Is Cheerleading A Sport?, National Cheer Safety Foundation (2010) (arguing for acceptance of cheer as a sport)
Competitive Cheer Can Be a Sport Under Certain Circumstances. The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) measures the following factors to determine whether cheer is a sport:
whether selection for the team is based upon objective factors related primarily to athletic ability;
whether the activity is limited to a defined season;
whether the team prepares for and engages in competition in the same way as other teams in the athletic program with respect to coaching, recruitment, budget, try-outs and eligibility, and length and number of practice sessions and competitive opportunities;
whether the activity is administered by the athletic department; and,
whether the primary purpose of the activity is athletic competition and not the support or promotion of other athletes.
Some groups meet the test:
See Talequah, OK - 2000 - Title IX Settlement Recognizes Cheer As A Competitive Sport.(remember this is not a published opinion so it is not binding upon any non-parties, but it is part of on-going recognition that competitive cheer is a sport under the right circumstances).
For More Information
See the OCR's October 18, 2001 letter to the MHSAA on competitive cheer, and the OCR's April 11, 2000 letter to the Minnesota High School League on competitive cheer. The April 11, 2000 letter sets out the governing standards for when competitive cheer is a sport. For on-going updates on this issue click here for Title-IX.blogspot's discussion of cheer. Click here for Title-IX.blogspot's home page.
The Women's Sports Foundation Provides Excellent Guidance In This Q & A:
Q: Can cheerleading be considered a varsity sport?
A: No in the case of traditional cheerleading where cheerleaders perform at athletic events and participating in no or few cheerleading competitions each year. Yes if the cheerleading team has a coach, practices as frequently as a regular varsity team, and competes against other cheerleading teams on a regular basis and more frequently than it appears to cheer for other teams.
Cheerleaders Fight Back – Publishing Injury Survey To Show Their Sport Is Not Unsafe. See American Association of Cheerleading Coaches And Administrators’ Annual Sports Injury Study, October 2009. However, the numbers don't support the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches. Worse, anecdotal information is letting the public see the safety issues in cheer. Despite the risk of harm, cheer's occupation of a gray area between fully recognized sport and team support activity has led to youth sports administrators being hesitant to push for more forceful legislation involving safety, coaches' training, and equipment requirements. These same youth sports administrators have been very aggressive in dealing with these very same issues in fully recognized team sports. While there is a high school cheer rulebook, most cheer competitions are run by private groups who often don't use the high school book. Los Angeles’s KTLA TV has addressed the damage done to cheerleaders in its Special Report: A Cheerleader’s Story by Lu Parker, KTLA, November 3, 2010.
Cheer Is Becoming More and More Controversial As It Occupies A Gray Area Between Competition and Team Support. Injuries, Deaths, and Sexuality Add To That Controversy. For examples of the Dangers of Cheerleading see Cheerleader Death Highlights Danger of Sport by Dan Childs, ABC News, April 18, 2008. For Boston Globe coverage see Cheerleader Hurt In Contest Dies: Her Lungs Collapsed, Officials Say by Erin Ailworth, Boston Globe, April 18, 2008. For a good synopsis of the controversies surrounding cheer see Give me A 'C' For Controversy by Sharon Jayson, USA Today, August 23, 2005.
Cheer Safety: Starts With The Coach. See Cheerleading Injury Rates Being Misreported by Jim Lord, NFHS High School Today, October 2008, page 14. This article also has information on the states that require AACCA coach safety certification. At present, Alaska, Minnesota, Montana, Arizona and Florida have safety certification requirements, and Arkansas, Oregon and Maine will require safety certification by the start of the 2009-10 school year.
Cheer Safety: More competitive and more dangerous than ever. See Cheerleaders Take High-Flying Risks Under Untrained Eyes by Melissa Rohlin, Los Angeles Times, October 13, 2009.
Court Rules Cheerleading is Contact Sport, espn.com; Ex-Cheerleader Loses Suit Against Student, School District After Fall, cnn.com. For a thorough legal review of this case, seeCheerleading A Contact Sport, Court Says by Don Collins on momsteam.com.
Title IX Links
Good Sports, Inc. - The Title IX Specialists
Click here for the Women's Sports Foundation's Issues Related To Pregnancy and Athletic Participation: The Foundation Position, 2008. Is a position needed? Oh yes. This does come up as Texas high school student Mackenzie McCollum found out when she tried to play while pregnant. See High School Pregnancy, ESPN Outside The Lines, November 29, 2009; Pregnancy Raises Participation Issue in Texas by Tom Bergeron, rivals.com, December 9, 2009.
For a legal review of issues pertaining to pregnant athletes, see The Invisible Pregnant Athlete and The Promise of Title IX by Deborah L. Blake, Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Vol. 31, page 323 (2008).