I’ve always had mixed feelings about Title IX, which mandates female student-athletes be given the same opportunities to compete as their male counterparts.
It’s not that I’m against equality for women — I have three sisters and five nieces — but there comes a time when equality for females becomes inequality for males.
I believe Title IX stands for equal opportunity. But equal opportunity doesn’t always result in equal numbers.
Davidson Middle School's football team only has 30 players on this year's roster — a direct result of Title IX. Administrators set a limit on the number of boys playing football so there will be an equal number of girls participating in Davidson sports.
The thing that troubles me is that my understanding is that not one young lady wanting to participate in Davidson athletics was being denied that opportunity because there might have been 40 or 50 players on the football team.
The discrepancies are at every level where young men have been discriminated against because of Title IX's effects.
Did you know a Division I men’s college basketball team gets 12 scholarships, but the women’s basketball teams get 15?
Division I baseball teams are allotted 11.7 or 12.7 scholarships to be divided, as the coach decides, among 20 or 25 players. But Division I softball teams receive a full allotment of scholarships for every player.
Many Southeastern Conference schools were forced to discontinue their wrestling programs more than 20 years ago as women were given sports such as rowing, field hockey and gymnastics.
How many Florida high school rowing teams can you name?
Give up? So do I.
I have a nephew who was an all-state wrestler at DeLand and had the choice of Division III or club wrestling at the college level. I feel he has been cheated because he wasn’t given an equal opportunity to compete at the highest level in the sport of his choice.
Don’t get me wrong, I think if the school district pays a supplement for a boys basketball coach the same supplement should be paid to the girls coach. But if the boys team raises more money and can afford better equipment, it shouldn’t be penalized for success.
When I was in high school in the 1970s Gulf Breeze offered football, baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, track and field and cross country for the boys. The girls had volleyball, basketball, track and field, cross country and tennis.
If Title IX had been enforced then the way it is today I would have been cut from the football team and missed out on the best part of my high school experience.
I believe we must do everything we can to make sure every young lady has an opportunity to play sports.
We should secure the best coaches possible and help them raise the funds needed to field top-notch women’s teams.
But we can’t be so focused on making sure no young woman is left behind athletically that we ignore the young men who have an equally burning desire to play ball.
Not every young man will be good enough to make the basketball team or baseball team. There might be times when funds are not available to allow every boy to play high school football.
However, a boy should never be cut to balance gender numbers.
Equality is a street that should go both ways.