Title IX victory in Ottawa Hills, OH, as WSF Senior Director of Advocacy intervenes
The Board of Education in Ottawa Hills, Ohio, ruled yesterday that they would sponsor both girls’ soccer and girls’ lacrosse, a decision many years in the making. WSF Senior Director of Advocacy, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, wrote a letter to the Board, explaining that there should be no dispute and that failure to add both girls' lacrosse and soccer would be a violation of federal — and probably state — Title IX law.
Parents have fought the district for years to make the teams either club or varsity sports to bring the district into compliance with federal Title IX law. But the soccer team needed at least board sponsorship to continue into the postseason; Tuesday's unanimous approval of team sponsorship was an attempt to allow the girls to continue to play while discussions of the dispute are resolved. Parents of the soccer team, which funds itself, said they were happy with the board's action but will continue with a push for a more formalized school relationship.
A compliance review of the district by a committee of residents, parents, and school officials who consulted with Title IX experts at Bowling Green State University showed that girls made up 48 percent of the school's enrollment during the 2009-10 school year and 46 percent the next year, but they made up only 39 and 37 percent of the school's sports participation rates in those years.
To be in compliance, those percentages would require that the school add between 27 and 54 slots for girls' athletics. School board members will hold a special board meeting on Oct. 4 to discuss possible compliance solutions.