May 03, 2011

Where Title IX apparently doesn't apply both ways: "I'm sick of boys dominating the game,'' Gloucester field hockey coach and athletic director Kim Patience

posted by Demophon to culture at 03:01 PM - 8 comments

I'm not seeing the Title IX connection. Perhaps Title IX isn't what you think it is.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:19 PM on May 03

It is what I think it is, it's just that some people seem to think that it is a one way street, when in fact it should apply both ways. Title IX indicates that there must be equal opportunities for both males and females. Since there are no male field hockey teams the males must play on the female teams. What MIAA is trying to do is minimize the playing opportunities for male field hockey players.

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..."
20 United States Code Section 1681

While these rules do not exclude the male players from playing, they do prevent them from receiving the same benefits that the female players can attain based on the quota of only (2) males on the field at a time for the same team (dropping to 1 during OT).

posted by Demophon at 04:36 PM on May 03

Title IX indicates that there must be equal opportunities for both males and females

For colleges though, right?

posted by yerfatma at 05:04 PM on May 03

I think lbb's point (although she can speak for herself) is that this is not a Title IX issue, but an issue because Massachusetts has an equal rights amendment in it's state constitution.

The regs related to Title IX provide as follows:

(b) Separate Teams. Notwithstanding the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, a recipient may operate or sponsor separate teams for members of each sex where selection for such teams is based upon competitive skill or the activity involved is a contact sport. However, where a recipient operates or sponsors a team in a particular sport for members of one sex but operates or sponsors no such team for members of the other sex, and athletic opportunities for members of that sex have previously been limited, members of the excluded sex must be allowed to try-out for the team offered unless the sport involved is a contact sport. For purposes of this part, contact sports include boxing, wrestling, rugby, ice hockey, football, basketball and other sports the purpose or major activity of which involves bodily contact. [4 C.F.R. 106.41(b)]

Courts have generally interpreted this to make Title IX subject to two broad exceptions -- the "athletic opportunity" exception and the "contact sport" exception -- both of which have been used by courts to overrule challenges that boys should be permitted to play field hockey on girls/womens teams.

Massachusetts is the outlier here because of its ERA, and MA courts have ruled accordingly.

On edit: To yerfatma's point, Title IX does apply to high schools, but I believe they are exempt from certain reporting requirements that colleges and universities are subject to, and thus there is less of a basis for enforcement.

posted by holden at 05:06 PM on May 03

Holden, your edit addresses my response, but I do understand that perhaps my title should have been "Where gender equality doesn't go both ways"

posted by Demophon at 05:57 PM on May 03

Demophon -- I think the point you were making was clear enough, and it's an interesting issue. I do not know enough about Massachusetts jurisprudence regarding its equal rights amendment to know how this will shake out, but it will be interesting to watch. The statements about it being a safety issue, etc. are presumably already laying the groundwork for the justification of the new rules, because "this throws of the competitive balance" is not going to cut it.

posted by holden at 06:36 PM on May 03

So there's no separate boys' field hockey league? And it's an Olympic sport?

I think that's the real issue.

/used to play Division 1 hockey. NB: the other version is called "ICE Hockey" where I come from.

posted by owlhouse at 02:10 AM on May 04

So there's no separate boys' field hockey league? And it's an Olympic sport?

I think that's the real issue.

Well, it's a chicken and egg problem. You can't just create a league with no players, and there aren't enough boys playing field hockey to support a boys' league in Mass.

By the way, the history of field hockey in Mass is an interesting one. Dating back to before Title IX, it was one of the few athletic opportunities for high school girls, and they had to fight tooth and nail for it. They were most definitely second-class citizens in the sports world, a very distant second -- without budgets, without locker room facilities, without transportation to away games or pay for coaches. The situation of the Newton North team must represent the nose of the elephant coming through the door to some people.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:35 PM on May 04

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