Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Does OCR have an Alaska office?

Hope so, because they received a Title IX complaint about the University of Alaska, Anchorage this past summer. The complainant(s) remains anonymous for now and the athletic department is incredulous.
Says Athletic Director Steve Cobb:
"This complaint is mind-boggling to me. To tell the truth, I can't wait for them to come up here....The idea that we are disadvantaging our women athletes is absolutely ridiculous."
This is despite the fact that Cobb admits that the locker room situation is problematic. Women's teams, six of them. share 2 locker room, while men's basketball has their own as does men's hockey, with the three remaining men's sports (skiing, track, and cross country) sharing one locker room. A new sports complex currently in the design phase will remedy that particular problem, but not for at least five years. There are two other aspects of the complaint: access to quality coaching, and access to medical trainers and other medical personnel.
One doesn't hear a lot about the issue of quality coaching at the collegiate level and it will be interesting to see the specifics of this part of the investigation.
The specifics of the trainer situation is also interesting. Cobb insists that the decision is based on risk rather than gender with a trainer attending every men's hockey practice and game. But gymnastics, also a high risk sport, does not get a trainer because the team practices off-site and thus sending a trainer would present time issues. I don't think time constraints are going to prove to be a viable excuse.