Wednesday, December 12, 2007

OCR Investigates Softball Inequities at California High School

The Santa Cruz Sentinel recently reported that the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating claims that Scotts Valley Unified School District is violating Title IX for failing to provide softball facilities comparable to those for baseball. Baseball boosters used private funds to upgrade the boys' field three years ago; the softball field has not been similarly updated.

If this case sounds familiar, it's probably because it sounds like any one of the dozen of cases we've mentioned on this blog involving booster-funded inequities between high school baseball and softball teams (e.g., here, here, here, here, and here for our posts on this issue since September).

OCR's position on booster funds is clear (see, e.g., here). Treating athletes of one sex better than athletes of another sex is discrimination, regardless of where the money comes from. Boosters can raise whatever funds they want, but in the end, the school district is responsible for ensuring that all students receive equal treatment.

So there's no question that funding disparities caused by boosters is illegal under Title IX. But there is question raised by this trend in Title IX enforcement. Where are the boosters for girls' sports? Why is it that all across the country parents are only fundraising for their sons and not their daughters?