Keeping Title IX in Mind

By Mike Boylan | Dec. 8, 2015

"If we don't have the funds, we can't offer the programs."

-Juvenal Lopez, Phoenix Union High School District Title IX Coordinator

As athletic departments across the state see their funding drop, the job of an athletic director becomes that much harder. After speaking to athletic director's at Arizona high schools, it's clear to see that Title IX has stayed at the forefront of their minds as they try and figure out how to spend the minimal funds coming in.

Booster clubs and parent groups may think they are the saviors of fledgling athletic programs, but this can be a dangerous situation for any school. Outside money is the quickest way for a large gap in funds to form between different sports, which means the school is now out of Title IX compliance. One Phoenix-area high school saw this exact issue arise, when outside money lead to a significant disparity between the boy's baseball team and girl's softball team.

But Phoenix Union High School District takes Title IX seriously. It even has a specific position in the district for a Title IX coordinator. The man that currently holds the position, Juvenal Lopez, took quick action to alleviate the disparity. For him, Title IX goes further than equal amounts of sports programs for both genders. It's about tearing down old gender stereotypes and giving any child the opportunity to pursue whatever they are interested in.

For a school to be considered to have a large gender equity, the difference between the percent of spots on teams for girls and the percent of the total students who are girls has to be larger than 10 percentage points. Arizona is currently ranked 41st in the nation based on this data, which means the state has a way to go before it can be considered completely Title IX compliant.