Thursday, September 22, 2011

Boosters pay extra for coaches

The football boosters at Mercer Island High School in Washington want to offer the football coach a little extra money for his off-season duties. Realizing last spring though that they could not do so without violating Title IX, they got together with the parents' club of the gymnastics team to offer a similar deal to the gymnastics coach. The amount of the extra pay will be different; a discrepancy explained by the difference in the size of the respective programs. A seemingly good explanation.
Kudos to the people at MIHS for recognizing the potential booster-induced disparity.
It could be, as one administrator noted, a slippery slope given that most coaches do work in the so-called off-season.
Also a possible issue (not mentioned in the article) is that the outside salary will benefit more boys than girls because the football team is bigger. Also it looks like the gymnastic coach's off-season duties include helping the cheerleaders--which seems like a separate job--especially since he is not allowed to work with his own team members in the off-season, per the state association's rules. (Not sure exactly how the football coach is getting around this. One of the boosters said that there is no "select season" in football, which I'm pretty sure is wrong. Why would every other sport have a season and not football?)
The issue of booster clubs in high schools, and what they are and are not allowed to do, is gaining visibility. And schools are likely to have to continue to juggle the desires of boosters to support the most popular sports and the equitable distribution of amenities, facilities, equipment, and perks. The case at MIHS, though, seems far less contentious than others we have read about.