Just last week, the first annual athletic gender equity reports were due from public secondary schools under a new state law that passed on June 30, 2012. The Equity in Interscholastic Athletics Disclosure Act (or Act 82 Article XVI-C) requires secondary schools to provide annual, publicly released reports containing information about school-sponsored athletic programs in order to improve schools’ compliance with Title IX and work towards achieving gender equality.
Sadly, efforts are currently underway in the state legislature to interfere with this law before the first reports are even publicly released. On Tuesday, October 22, House Bill 1734 will be considered by the House Education Committee. House Bill 1734 would repeal several crucial provisions of this important disclosure law.
- HB 1734 would eliminate the requirement that schools report the total value of booster club purchases for each team. (Significantly, this portion of the reporting law does not even take effect until next year.) Some schools blame the inequality of their athletic programs on booster clubs, but in fact, schools are responsible for ensuring that boys and girls have equal opportunities and experiences. HB 1734 would allow schools to remove from their annual reporting the privately raised money being poured into boys’ teams.
- HB 1734 would repeal the requirement that, for the first year only, schools include the dates when each team was established. This easily available information shows whether schools have a history and continuing practice of expanding the girls’ athletic program.
- HB 1734 would sunset all reporting after just three years.
Passing HB 1734 virtually guarantees that parents and students will have to turn to other, more burdensome ways of learning about their schools’ compliance with state and federal gender equity laws.
The participation gap between boys and girls in interscholastic athletics is widening. See Decade of Decline: Gender Equity in High School Sports, Sharp Center & Women’s Sports Foundation, Oct. 2012. Now is the wrong time to retreat from the mandate of equal opportunity and fair treatment for our girls.
What you can do:
- Contact your state rep and urge him or her to vote NO on HB 1734 and stand up for gender equality.
- Visit your local public high school’s website and see what its Equity in Interscholastic Athletics Disclosure report has to say.
- Can’t find a report from your school? Contact your school’s Title IX officer and ask where you can get a copy of the report.
- Can’t find your school’s Title IX officer? Call your school’s superintendent and ask who the Title IX officer is and how you can get a copy of the Equity in Interscholastic Athletics Disclosure report.
- Not getting the information you are entitled to? Call the Women’s Law Project: 412-281-2892 or 215-928-9801.