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Are Boys' and Girls' Athletic Programs Treated Equally? : No: On the surface, Title IX has given girls' programs a boost, but results are mixed.

November 01, 1994|LISA McNAMEE

In 1972 when Title IX passed, I was 10. I remember reading about Title IX and discussing it with my parents; like me, they were excited about the opportunities it would provide for girls and women in athletics.

On the surface, Title IX seems to have done what it was supposed to do: open the door for girls to have the same opportunities and experiences in sports that boys have traditionally had to themselves. Certainly from a player's point of view, I was able to benefit from quality coaching, equal facilities, a heightened level of competition, and the opportunity to play under scholarship at the NCAA Division I level. I am sure that most high school and college athletes would agree that Title IX has accomplished bridging the gap between men's and women's sports.

Now in 1994, after 10 years of coaching at both the high school and collegiate level, I have some mixed feelings concerning the current level of equality in men's and women's and boys' and girls' programs.

First, without a strong head coach, girls' and women's programs are often "walked on" regarding gym time, uniforms, money, equipment, salaries and the hiring of qualified assistant coaches. Secondly, without strong administrative and community support, even successful women's programs do not get the publicity and recognition they deserve. Thirdly, providing strong positive role models for women's sports needs to be more of a priority for school administrators. There are qualified, experienced coaches out there, whether they are on campus or within the community. The administrators in our schools need to take more time to find and hire the most qualified, rather than the most convenient person for the job.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday November 2, 1994 Orange County Edition Sports Part C Page 9 Column 1 Sports Desk 1 inches; 31 words Type of Material: Correction
Prep Voices--Lisa McNamee officially will not become Irvine Valley's women's basketball coach until her hiring is approved by the school's board of trustees at its Nov. 14 meeting. Tuesday's Times indicated otherwise.

In 1972, when Title IX passed, more than 90% of women's sports teams were coached by women. In 1990, only 47.3% of female teams were coached by women, and the numbers continue to drop every year. With so many more girls participating in sports and going on to earn scholarships playing at the collegiate level, there should be an increasingly larger pool of qualified applicants for the jobs available. Today's high school and college coaches for female teams need to encourage their players to consider coaching as a viable career, and provide a role model that their players would be proud to emulate.

Title IX has definitely brought the inequalities to the surface, and since its inception, girls' and women's programs have grown in leaps and bounds. Along with the gains and the benefits, women's programs have also begun to experience some of the problems of men's athletics: illegal recruiting, academic ineligibility, specialization in one sport at an early age, and a "win at all costs" attitude. As professionals working for what is best for the student-athlete, regardless of gender, we must continue to strive to provide quality programs with quality instruction and guidance for all athletes.

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