Before Title IX was passed in 1972, there was inequity between the funding of girls’ and boys’ education. It requires “gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding.”
Title IX includes but is not limited to athletics, access to higher education, and career education.
Originally, Title IX applied only to Division I schools, but now it applies to all levels of schooling.
Although Title IX applies to all forms of federal funding, high school athletics is one that many people focus on.
“Title IX gives men and women equal financial opportunities to try to make their respective programs as successful as possible. As girls, it helps us express who we are through sports without having to worry about gender discrimination,” said Brittany Belscher, senior.
“At Leesville, we try to keep all the sports as equal as possible. We follow Wake County’s rules as far as coaches and supplements and what Wake County provides. We give equal opportunities for boys and girls,” said Coach Rogers, LRHS athletic director.
An anonymous softball player said, “I know about Title IX, but I don’t know if it really impacts the equality between the genders because it seems like baseball gets everything and softball doesn’t get anything. They’re getting a new backstop, and ours is falling down. And their dugouts are much larger than ours. The baseball stadium is much larger than our lack of stadium.”
However, her perception varies from reality. She is only seeing what has happened this year, but in actuality funding cycles equally through each sport. For example, the softball team has concrete under their bleachers, but the baseball team still has their bleachers sitting on top of gravel.
In the near future, the baseball team may make plans to spend money to put these bleachers on concrete, just as the softball team may decide to spend money on a new backstop. What is purchased each year depends on the coaches’ needs and wants.
As far as dugout size, baseball teams tend to be slightly larger than softball teams, thus needing more space.
A common misconception is that funding raised by the sports teams, such as in ticket sales, goes solely to that sport for things they want to buy.
“Attendance does not impact how much funding a sport receives. It’s not sport-specific. If we get 4,000 people at a football game, the ticket receipts go into a general fund, not just a ‘football fund.’ Some sports don’t charge or less people attend, so if we earmarked the funding it would not be fair,” said Rogers.
When thinking about Title IX, people tend to only focus on what is going on around them at the current time. Instead, they should focus on how the money has been spent over the past few years. A period of time is more accurate in showing the equality between sports rather than a single moment in time.
“If you don’t come onto the campus all the time, you don’t know that the funding cycles through. If you see one thing, that doesn’t mean we don’t do something for the other sports. There is no way for us to do everything at one time. There has to be a process, but we do everything we can to keep things as equal as possible,” said Rogers.
Uniforms are another thing people focus on when they look at Title IX. To accommodate for the costs of uniforms, Leesville uses a buying cycle.
“We don’t buy every sport new uniforms every year. It’s on a 4-5 year cycle. We try to get as much use out of them as possible. But we still keep it as equitable as possible. For example, if a good softball uniform costs $100 and a good track uniform costs $60, we’re not going to buy track uniforms for $100 if we don’t need to. But the money still equals out,” said Rogers.
The PAC –Pride Athletic Club, a parent booster organization–also plays a role in the funding of all sports.
Rogers said, “The funding [PAC] provides is mostly for the facilities and major expenditures. For example, they may pay for a bus or weight equipment. But they are a non-sports specific club, so the money cannot be earmarked per sport. [The PAC] does what is best for the entire program.”
Outside funding does not affect funding received by sports teams based on Title IX.
Rogers said, “Outside funding is based on each sport. There is no sport-specific club. As much as parents volunteer [and spend their money] depends on each sport. It just depends on what the coach organizes [for the parents to do].”
To outsiders not financially involved with Leesville sports, funding does not always appear to be equal. In actuality, however, everything works out evenly. Although doubts exist, Title IX positively affects athletic funding at the high school level.