The Imperfections of Title IX

By Emily Roberts

15 year old Paige Sultzbach was unable to play in her baseball team’s championship game. 17 year old Casey Ryan was unable to participate on her school’s wrestling team. 7 year old Anna Kimball was kicked off her little league baseball team.

All of these athletes share something; they all had their Title IX right taken away form them. Title IX requires gender equality for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding. Thanks to this law there has been a real growth of women athletes. Unfortunately, there are still some flaws in the athletic world despite Title IX. According to the founders of Title IX, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has a responsibility to enforce the law in schools across the nation. The OCR can investigate any school that they believe has a problem with Title IX but it rarely does, despite the many violations. Between January 2002 and December 2006 there have been a total of 416 athletic complaints. During this time the OCR initiated only one review of a school’s athletic program. Many women athletes are yearning for athletic equality and we need to step up and get their voices heard.

Many people will argue that guy sports are mental, physical, and testosterone driven. While this might be true, that does not mean girls should be prohibited from playing them. If a girl is physically and emotionally strong enough to deal with participating in a male dominated sport, she should be permitted to play.  But even if a girl makes it into a guy dominated sport, many opposing teams will forfeit against her team. Their excuse? Boys will take abuse from teammates and fans if they lose. For example, there was a news story recently on Fox News about a young woman on a baseball team who faced problems because of her gender. Paige Sultzbach, 2nd basemen forMesaPreparatoryAcademy’s baseball team, was unable to play in her state championship. Why? Because her opponents, Our Lady of Sorrows Academy, forfeited the game. Mesa Prep does not have a softball team so Sultzbach tried out for the school’s baseball team instead, and made it. Her team went undefeated this season including the two times they played Our Lady of Sorrows. Sultzbach even sat out these two games for respect of Our Lady of Sorrows’ beliefs. But, she earned the right to play in the championship game against them and it would be unfair for her to sit out. Naturally, Sultzbach team was very disappointed when they only won the championship to a forfeit after all that hard work.

Cases like Sultzbach’s should not be happening anymore, but unfortunately, they do. This is not the 1950s; gender roles have progressed and Title IX has come into play. Many athletes across the country are discriminated against on the field, court, or mat because of their gender. As students and athletes it is important that we recognize Title IX. If more people get notified about the stories of these young women athletes who had their rights violated, the Office of Civil Rights will be pressured to make the correct adjustments in order to stop discrimination on the field.

Featured Image Courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune Campus

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