New Title IX resource guides are available to help evaluate whether K-12 schools and colleges are providing equal athletic opportunities consistent with the regulations and explains how to file a complaint if a program is not.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is concerned there are still discrepancies in how different genders are treated in athletic programs. Despite progress, females participating in sports programs continue to face barriers including unequal funding, reduced resources, fewer coaches, lesser facilities, fewer scholarship opportunities, and sex-based harassment on and off the field.
The new guides, Title IX and Athletic Opportunities in K-12 Schools and Title IX and Athletic Opportunities in Colleges and Universities, provide the background of Title IX, how to evaluate your school’s athletic programs, and what to do if there are Title IX violations.
Title IX is a federal civil rights law which prohibits schools that receive federal funding from discriminating based on sex in programs and activities, including athletics. Public schools and colleges, including most charter schools, receive federal funding while private schools generally do not.
This means public schools and colleges are responsible under Title IX to provide equal athletic opportunities to all students regardless of sex. The requirement includes club, intramural, and interscholastic teams.
Evaluating Athletic Programs
Measuring how schools provide equal opportunities according to the Title IX regulations is important to determine compliance. Equal opportunities in athletic programs are measured two ways. First, by the comparison of benefits, opportunities, and treatment given to boys and girls teams overall, and second, by how a school meets students’ athletic interests and abilities.
The Title IX resource guides provide sample questions to determine compliance for equitable benefits, opportunities, and treatment in the following areas:
- Equipment and supplies
- Scheduling games and practice times
- Travel and daily allowances
- Locker rooms, fields, courts, and other facilities for practice and competition
An example question provided is, “Are coaches available to girl and boy athletes for equivalent amounts of time?” If a school offers four athletic periods during the school day for boys and only two for girls, the answer to this question is “no”. Many other examples are available.
The resource guides also provide three ways to measure the second criteria — athletic interests and abilities of boys and girls. The measurement options are:
- Substantial proportionality — compares the percentage of girl and boy athletic participation to total girl and boy student enrollment to see if they are about the same.
- History and continuing practice — analyzes the history of expanding athletic programs to respond to interests and abilities of girls.
- Interests and abilities of students — if there is a disproportionality, determines if the school is meeting the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex.
A school may choose any one of the three measurement choices.
Reporting a Complaint
If a student, parent, coach, teacher, athletic director, or school official thinks a school is not providing equal athletic opportunities under Title IX, a complaint can be made by:
- Notifying the athletic director or another school official, such as a principal or a dean
- Contacting the school’s Title IX coordinator
- Filing a complaint through the school’s grievance procedures
- Submitting a complaint with the OCR if none of the above actions are successful
Several HRX articles providing detailed Title IX information are available on the TASB website, including:
- HR and Title IX Compliance
- Title IX Proposed Revisions Released
- HR and Policy: Vacancy Posting Requirements
- Implementing the New Title IX Regulations
Using the new resource guides to analyze school athletic programs can help school leaders determine if they are providing equitable programs and activities to all students and ensure they are complying with Title IX regulations.
Cheryl Hoover joined HR Services in 2018. She assists with staffing and HR reviews, training, and other HR projects. During Hoover’s public school career, she served as an executive director of curriculum and principal leadership, executive director of human resources, principal, assistant principal, teacher, and coach.
Hoover earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin and obtained her master’s degree from Texas State University. She is a certified PHR.
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