Saturday, April 26, 2008

Different fight for season change

In Nevada, a father of a high school soccer player has filed a suit attempting to prevent the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association from moving girls' soccer from the winter to the fall. Only the southern half of the state has girls' soccer in this non-traditional season and the NIAA has wanted to change this for some time now in order to create a state championship in which all schools can compete.
But this father has alleged the move would be a violation of Title IX because it would mean reducing the number of sports available to girls in the winter season. And the school board seems to think this is a legitimate concern.
But if the districts in which soccer is played in the winter have not created an equitable number of opportunities for girls, switching seasons is not going to matter. It is number of opportunities--not how many exist in each season or whether the same girl can play more than one sport. The parent of the soccer player seems to be motivated by the latter. His daughter plays both soccer and volleyball--both traditional fall sports. She would have to choose if soccer moved. But the overall number of opportunities would not change assuming all teams were able to attract enough players to remain viable.
Furthermore, as we have seen in Michigan most infamously, but elsewhere, courts have viewed the scheduling of girls' sports in non-traditional seasons to be a violation of Title IX. The parents and other concerned folks in Nevada who see it the other way around will have trouble making their case should it become a legal battle.