Monday, November 16, 2009

Softball coach takes on football

Usually when we hear about a complaint filed by or on behalf of softball players, said complaint usually compares the treatment softball receives or the facilities it has access to as compared to baseball. But a recent complaint, initially filed anonymously and then admitted to by the softball coach at Theodore High School in Mobile County Alabama, compares the treatment the team get to that of the football team. Perfectly legitimate of course and we have been somewhat concerned by all the softball versus baseball references because that, of course, is not how Title IX compliance is measured.
Coach Tyler Murray seems to be a brave person to take on football in Alabama but her version of the facts is pretty compelling. OCR has already done its site visitation so a report is likely forthcoming.
Murray says that her team does not have access to the same kinds of facilities as the football team nor have they received the same portion of donations to the athletic department. The weights her team (and others worked out on) were removed from the weight room they used. They spent most of their season working out in hallways and the shower area. She alleges that 40 percent of the equipment was damaged because of the move which resulted in some of the pieces being put outside where they rusted. And when her players tried to use the weight room the football team uses, they were kicked out, she said.
After the complaint was filed, the high school converted an art room into a weight room.
Murray also noted that football coaches get paid more than other coaches. The response to this complaint was that this is a nationwide trend. Not exactly a compelling retort.
Her issues have been with her athletic director who, not coincidentally, is also the football coach. He will not comment on the complaint, only saying that he is in compliance. Murray said she had accepted that she and her team gets less, but that her tipping point was when what she had began being taken away from her.
Interestingly, the quotations from the superintendent's statement refers to the law as "Title Nine." This worries me a little. But I am looking forward to hearing what OCR found during its September visit.