|Written by Greg Ruland|
|Thursday, 17 February 2011 00:00|
Softball sponsors fewer teams for girls than baseball does for boys, the number of female coaches is one-third the number of male coaches and fewer girls than boys play sports overall, raising concerns about Mingus Union High School’s compliance with federal law.
Athletic Director Mike Boysen told the Mingus Union High School District Governing Board on Thursday, Feb. 10, only 26 percent of the female student population participates in sports compared to 36 percent of male students.
MUHS pays 19 on-campus male coaches compared to three on-campus female coaches. Overall, the school has 33 male coaches and 11 female coaches, Boysen said.
In addition, the baseball program fields freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams while the softball program only fields two teams, one for junior varsity and the other for varsity.
“I’ve monitored this closely for the last several years and the truth is we don’t have enough girls to make three teams,” Boysen said after the meeting. “I thought this year would be the year because we had a lot come to preseason meetings but we didn’t have that number show up when the time came.”
Baseball also has a difficult time fielding a freshman team, he said.
The school has not surveyed female students for more than five years to determine whether MUHS offers enough programs to satisfy their desire to play sports, Boysen said. At the urging of MUHSD Board President Jim Ledbetter, the athletic director agreed a new survey should be conducted in the near future.
“If we did one of those surveys, I believe we’d find we’re satisfying those needs,” Boysen told the board.
Boysen noted one area of improvement this year: For the first time, the MUHS cheer squad started cheering at girls basketball games. In the past, the squad only cheered for boys basketball. During football season, the squad also occasionally cheers at girls volleyball games, he said.
The chairman of the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s equity in sports committee will review the Mingus Union High School Athletics program for compliance with federal law Thursday, Feb. 24, Boysen said.
Scott Brown, the AIA committee chair, will conduct the unofficial review to assess the school’s compliance as a favor. The results of the review will be used to identify areas the school might improve, Boysen said.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination at schools like Mingus that receive federal financial assistance. MUHS takes an active approach to Title IX compliance rather than waiting for a complaint or lawsuit to reveal inequities, he said.
A Title IX checklist completed by Boysen and presented to the board Feb. 10 showed the MUHS athletic program was fair and equitable in every respect despite concerns about athlete numbers and the softball program.
“You don’t have to be perfect to pass Title IX but if we fudge this information we can get in trouble,” Ledbetter said.
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