Bake Sales Not So Sweet Anymore

Controversy in New Mexico continues over booster club funding and Title IX implementation as discussion heats up over the state’s Schools Athletics Equity Act. The issue remains whether private donations raised by parents through bake sales and working concession stands, or whether philanthropic contributions by private businesses, should be pooled together and distributed among all boys and girls teams under the guise of Title IX equality — and regardless of which parents/teams raised what.

The American Sports Council believes that combining volunteer, charitable donations will harm athletic departments. Quite simply, pooling donations will create a disincentive for parents to raise money for their own child’s team when they realize that their own time, effort and money will go to other teams that have nothing to do with their child’s sport. Furthermore, given that teams are already cash-strapped in this tough economic climate, why should schools demand that programs forgo financial contributions that others are willingly and intentionally giving to certain teams?

It’s important to recognize that nowhere in the language of the federal Title IX law does it say that booster club/volunteer money will be counted as part of creating an equitable balance among males and females. Instead, like in New Mexico’s case, the state law’s interpretation of Title IX completely skews the law’s original intent. Most assuredly, students will be denied opportunities to play sports as the impact of the contributions is lessened when they are distributed to a variety of teams, as well as when generous donations stop trickling in because of the mandate.

Fortunately, one New Mexico State Representative is fighting to overturn the New Mexico law, and even goes so far as to say that its spirit may even be un-American.

Las Cruces Sun-News has the latest:

State Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Texico, says hard-working sports teams that raise money for their program have to share it with the lazy ones.

Roch, an associate school superintendent and former coach of boys’ and girls’ athletic teams, said the law had created burdens on schools and uncertainty about how sports programs can be run.

For instance, he said, if a boys’ basketball team makes the playoffs and therefore spends more on travel, has the girls’ team that did not qualify for the post-season been shortchanged financially?

Many legislators considered that purported problem to be a reach, not a practical concern.

A more important issue to Roch is expenditures made on individual teams.

Certain boosters raise a lot of money to help their team with travel expenses or uniforms. Why should they have to share their money with other teams that showed no initiative? Roch asked.

He said the state law borders on being un-American, as it provides a disincentive to hard work.

Hopefully, New Mexico legislators will overturn the law, and other state lawmakers will not even consider a similar regulation, by realizing that it not only strays far from what Title IX aims to achieve but will also negatively impact student athletes in the process.

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