The place: Detroit, Michigan. The scene: a newly-renovated baseball field, paid for by the fundraising efforts of the baseball player’s parents. The crime: that the field is unequal to the girls’ softball field. The result: the new seats were ripped out and are in storage until there is a solution that is acceptable to everyone.
I’m a Title IX girl, a woman who earned nine varsity letters in high school and is profoundly grateful for the same opportunities that men have. But the spirit of Title IX was never meant to extend to equality of results in private efforts. It would be problematic if a school were to allow the boys’ baseball team to fundraise to improve their stadium, but not the girls to do the same; likewise, it would be a problem if the school pushed a disproportionate amount of its funding to the boys’ facilities.
Here is the relevant section of Title IX:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Yes, in theory, disproportionate fundraising for an effort that also receives federal funds would result in unequal treatment, but the touchstone is that the programmes operate in a non-discriminatory manner. No one is alleging that the school set out to discriminate against the girls; the only allegation is that the result of private efforts by parents is disproportionate.
Cry me a river. This makes a mockery of a great achievement for women’s athletics.