Why Title IX Rules Might Turn Out the Lights on High School Baseball Tradition

When Patsy Mink, the former Congresswoman from Hawaii, worked to create the anti- discrimination law that would later become known as Title IX, she was motivated to end horrendous gender quotas that capped enrollment of women in medical and law schools.  But she probably never expected that the law would cause high school administrators to turn off the lights on boy’s high school baseball games.

Fans of the Lake Washington High School baseball team in Kirkland, Washington are in an uproar over the threat to end their over 30-year tradition of playing baseball under the lights in a public park.

According to T.J. Martinell in the Kirkland Reporter, the impetus for the change is compliance with Title IX:

“A letter from Lake Washington High School Principal Christina Thomas reveals that one of the main rationales behind removing the Kangs baseball team from Lee Johnson Field was to make things more fair for the girls softball team and address possible federal Title IX violations.”

[…]

“If male athletes, like baseball players, are able to play in a big game atmosphere during prime time in a top flight facility and female athletes don’t have the same opportunities, then the law may be violated.”

Parents of the players have organized an online petition to fight the move. Over 1,100 people have already signed it.

As Martinelli previously reported:

“One aspect of the dispute is whether the move would save money or cost more. LWHS, for example, believes the proposed move curbs costs by eliminating the rental fees for using the field, which is owned by the city of Kirkland. The Kangs Baseball Booster Club contends it would cost more to move them back to the high school. Plus, the Booster Club has offered to pay the rental fees, according to the online petition.”

The American Sports Council fully supports the language of Title IX that clearly forbids discrimination on the basis of gender and the principle of Title IX that support equal access and equivalent funding for female and male teams. It is the outdated regulations that are used to enforce the law that are the problem and need to be reformed. Until these bad regulations are changed, we will continue to see more stories like this one where boys are punished in ways which yield absolutely no benefit to girls.

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