Friday, May 25, 2012

Darien School Board Concerned About Boosters' Gift to Football Team

Some members of the Darien, Connecticut school board are reportedly expressing concern over the board's decision to accept a $1600 gift from the unified booster club to purchase scouting cameras for the football team.  Apparently, the boosters asked all coaches what equipment they needed, and honored the two requests received: the football team's request for cameras, and the basketball cheerleaders smaller request for competition music.

I commend the board for scrutinizing the Title IX implications of accepting any gift.  Especially in Darien, which has had plenty of Title IX compliance problems in the past.  It's worth noting, however, that accepting a larger gift for a boys team doesn't necessarily create a Title IX problem. Nor is it safe to assume that just because the boosters didn't turn down any gift requests that all is equal between the girls' and boys' teams.  If I were the concerned members of the school board, I would want to know why the coaches of girls' teams did not request any new equipment.  If the football players benefit from more proactive coaches who are more aggressive about capitalizing on available resources, then that is an inequity in the quality of coaching available to each sex.  Relatedly, I would also want to if the girls' teams are foregoing scouting, or do they already have the equipment they need?  If the fact that only a boys' team requested cameras is a sign that only boys have access to a program that is operating at the level of sophistication where such equipment is required, then that is clearly a Title IX violation that the school board should rectify.