The Albany County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees plans to discuass potential remedies for the imbalance in the number of sports offered to male and female high school students.
Currently, the district participates in all sports sanctioned by the Wyoming High School Activities Association, which includes 12 sports for boys and 11 sports for girls.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires schools to offer equitable sporting opportunities for boys and girls. Since 1979, the Office for Civil Rights used a three-part test to ensure Title IX compliance. Under the test, a school is in compliance if the number of male and female athletes is proportionate to their respective enrollments, the institution has a continuing practice of expanding participation opportunities for an underrepresented sex or the institution is effectively accommodating the interests of the underrepresented sex.
On Wednesday, board member Tammy Schroeder renewed her concern with the WHSAA sanctioning one more sport for boys than girls.
“I will never let this die,” she said. “This is a big issue for me.”
ACSD No. 1 board members agreed to discuss possible remedies at their September board retreat, including the potential of getting WHSAA to sanction another sport.
Given the popularity of softball around the state, Schroeder said the OCR could argue Wyoming has not sufficiently accommodated the interests of its high school girls.
WHSAA’s justification for having fewer sports for girls isn’t “going to stand up in court,” Schroeder predicted.
WHSAA sanctioned an equal number of sports for boys and girls until 2010, when support for gymnastics was cut amid dwindling participation statewide.
In order for WHSAA to sanction another girl’s sport, at least eight schools would need to participate. While that might be difficult accomplish, Schroeder said it’s worth it for ACSD No. 1 to attempt being “leaders in the state” on advancing gender equity.
“We could be the leaders and add a sport and have the kids playing in Colorado until this state comes into this century,” she said.