Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate last Wednesday that would require high schools to report the number of male and female students participating in high school athletics and the money spent on each team.
Currently high schools aren’t required to report data on gender equity though colleges that receive federal funds are required under Title IX to prove that their sports programs aren’t discriminating based on sex.
“We have made tremendous strides, but we must continue to fight for gender equality and create equal opportunities for girls and boys to excel in sports. This legislation will further improve female participation in high school athletics, ” Snowe read in he statement on the bill.
It must be very liberating for Sen. Snowe to have the Democrats take over the senate. Now she can feel free to introduce legislation like this bill that wouldn’t have seen the light of day under a Republican senate.
It doesn’t appear that Snowe has done much research on the subject though. Over the last 20 years female participation in high school sports has exploded. When I was in high school 30 years ago we had a handful of girls teams; tennis, basketball, field hockey to name a few. Now girls teams are on par with most of the boys teams and in some locations where no girls team exists they play on the boys team. There are even female wrestlers on high school teams.
The problem with the gender equity or equality movement is that if high schools are forced to comply like colleges do under Title IX then there is a large risk that the sports programs will be eviscerated as they have been at many colleges and universities that were in essence forced to make sure that the number of female athletes is proportional to overall enrollment. Just because your enrollment is 55% female doesn’t mean that is the percentage of female athletes a school should have.
I don’t know what the dollar cost of implementing this is at the high school level, but it would be tremendous and require an even greater bureaucracy which is the last thing we need in public education.
Hopefully someone will try and educate Snowe and any of her colleagues that support this bill and kill it before it kills high school sports.
Don Irvine is the chairman of Accuracy in Media.