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Title IX. No – it’s not a movie or some sick new video game. It’s a law passed in 1972 to better expansion for underrepresented sexes in any federally funded education program or activity. This law applies to every educational institution that receives federal funds.
Title IX specifically stated that “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.”
Focusing on the subsection of sports, Title IX states that following. Institutions are not required to offer identical sports for each gender but must provide equal treatment benefits, and opportunities to play under the provisions of:
- Equipment and supplies
- Scheduling of games and practices
- Travel and daily allowance/per diem
- Coaching and medical personnel
- Locker room facility, housing, and dining access
- Support services such as boosters
When I asked our assistant principal Mr. Erickson on Title IX he immediately brought softball and baseball to my attention. After being found in direct violation of Title IX, the administration began upgrading the softball field in order to create equality for the underrepresented sex in this situation.
Title IX does not require to spend equal dollars spent on men and women’s sports for obvious player numbers but they are required to provide equal treatment and benefits within the same sort but may vary among different sports. For example, football will need more funds to pay for equipment such as their excessive protective gear but compared to wrestling, who only needs mats and head gear, finances for football seems highly unfair to the wrestling program. Discrepancy in costs of equipment is taken into account as long as the football and wrestling teams have the same quality of their needed equipment benefits. However, a female softball team must receive the same equipment benefits as a male baseball team would receive. This includes equal treatment costs for the opportunity to play on the same quality field and receive equal benefits provided by funds.
“Sometimes appearances aren’t reality,” Erickson said. “The monetary amount given is not the same as equal access. It’s apples and oranges. A lot of people see Title IX as a gender issue when it’s really a balance of equal benefits.”
Riverton High’s administration has been working towards fixing current Title IX violations such as the half finished softball field and their nonexistent benefits compared to baseball.
“Title IX gives time to make adjustments,” Erickson repeated. Maybe future problems like this should have been prevented from the beginning but until we can figure out how to learn from our past mistakes, we are all left wondering just how much more time it will take for equality to appear.