Thursday, September 11, 2008

Settlement in Nevada

I really hope someone in this Nevada soccer seasons case gets a Title IX expert on board soon. Because I was shocked to read that the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) has settled with parent Eric Johnson of southern Nevada who claimed that moving girls' soccer (his daughter Emma plays) from the winter to the fall (when she plays volleyball, but when the rest of the state plays soccer) is a Title IX violation. Johnson said such a move would limit the number of opportunities girls have to play winter sports and give boys more winter sport opportunities. But as we have said before, it's about the aggregate number of opportunities, not how they break down by season. And the season issue should really be about whether the girls experience adverse effects from the placement of the season. Johnson argues that girls who play winter soccer are denied the opportunity for a state championship. The settlement has NIAA agreeing to, for another year, hold a championship for the southern part of the state. But one could argue that this could have a negative effect. The majority of high school state soccer championships are in the fall. This is also when recruiting is done. Do the girls in southern Nevada lose out because their championship is not viewed as legitimate or as competitive? (Granted this all relies on a dominant version of sport that fails to disrupt notions of what competition is and should be or question the value and goals of interscholastic high school sports, but since the court isn't doing this, I am not going to either--for now.)
It could be that NIAA is just biding its time until Emma Johnson graduates. The article linked above does note that there will be a continuing exploration of the Title IX ramifications including the possibility of adding a girls' winter sport.