Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Title IX Isn't the Problem; It's Football

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Title IX Isn't the Problem; It's Football

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

Crystal Bandor has seen Title IX at work on what might be called the grass roots level. Only, as she recalls, there really wasn't much grass on the softball field at Orange Park High School three decades ago. Just hard clay that would snap shovels and rakes.

"There were people who took care of the boys' field," she said. "But we didn't even have water for our field. I got in my car and drove to the fire station and said, 'We need help!'"

She was a freshman at Orange Park in 1973, one year after Title IX passed. Since then girls have gotten help, programs have flourished from Orange Park to Orange County, Calif., participation has grown from 300,000 to 2.8 million.

This is a wonderful thing. The last 30 years have proven that sports do the same things for girls that they do for boys, providing physical and mental benefits.

The problem? It comes in the balancing act to meet Title IX standards. And Bandor has experienced that, too. She spent five years as athletic director at Green Cove Springs Junior High, crunching numbers, trying to make everything equal, always realizing somebody was getting left out.

"The sad part is, here in Clay County we don't have boys soccer teams at the junior highs because it throws off your numbers," she said.

From junior high to college, there are some surprising holes in the sports landscape. Think about this: the University of Miami doesn't have men's golf or men's soccer. With South Florida's climate and demographics? How does that happen?

The easy answer is to blame Title IX. And that's what has been happening a lot lately, so much so that last week a commission met in Washington to discuss changing the standards for satisfying Title IX. The commission made the right decision. It did not, as some wanted, drastically weaken the law. …

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