Friday, August 26, 2011

Scheduling remedies in our own back yard

Several friends have informed us about a settled Title IX complaint right in our neighborhood. Amherst Regional High School has agreed to make changes in both game and practice scheduling.

Amherst resident Craig Goff filed a complaint with OCR almost a year ago about the scheduling of girls' sports, and last May* the school agreed to remedy the inequities by:

  • scheduling an equal number of prime time games;

  • scheduling an equal number of nighttime under the lights games;

  • implementing a full schedule for girls' soccer, tennis, and volleyball (which had reduced schedules due to budget cuts; the athletic director said she had thought that--over the course of the reductions--cuts had been made equitably among boys' and girls' team; but apparently not);

  • and ensuring equal access to desirable practice times in shared facilities.

And in case there is a question of why this matters (though we have spoken about it before, mostly in posts about the scheduling of girls' versus boys' basketball games), Goff makes a good point. When girls' games are scheduled exclusively during the day, fewer parents can attend. This also means, as Goff noted, that these teams get less community support. Parents are their student-athletes' biggest fans and advocates. The visibility of girls' and women's sports can be directly related to when their contests are scheduled, which is why scheduling is one of program areas Title IX covers.

This story continues our theme this week of "it's not just quantity--it's quality." Also of note, Goff is a parent of a former Amherst student-athlete. He noticed the inequities when his daughter played soccer for the school a decade ago. A good reminder that anyone can file a complaint. (But note it can be anonymous.)

* I couldn't discern from the article whether OCR actually made it out to Amherst or if the school changed their ways based on consultation with other entities before the investigation occurred.