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Plenty of Sports Opportunities for Girls

by Craig Mattick

The government is looking out for girls in high school athletics.  May be a waste of time and money.


The National Women's Law Center and the Office of Civil Rights have been involved with investigations of about a dozen high schools across the country on the number of girls playing sports and the apparent wide gap in numbers between the girls and the boys who are in athletics.

One of those schools being investigated over the past three years is Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Data from 2006 showed as much as 50-percent of the Sioux Falls public school student population was female, but only about 35-percent of the districts athletes were female.

The district claims the numbers were just for sanctioned sports and didn't include club sports or intramural sports.

The school district will be surveying students this fall about their interest in athletics.  I have no problem with the survey.  Don't hold your breath with anything surprising.  Its because girls have plenty of opportunities to be involved with extra-curricular activities.

You could have a logical debate on what sports should be sanction by the South Dakota High School Activities Association, but many of those sports won't be added due to the cost of adding those sports.

In Sioux Falls, high school girls can play soccer, softball, tennis, golf, volleyball, basketball, track & field, gymnastics, cross country, competitive cheer and dance, bowling, not to mention cheerleading, band, orchestra, chorus, theater, oral interp, debate and drama.  There are plenty of opportunities for girls to be involved with extra-curricular activities, but can you make girls get involved?

I've talked with several school administrators over the years, and they say girls just don't go out for activities and the same rate as boys.  Since 2006, Sioux Falls and the SDHSAA did add competitive cheer and competitive dance, to try to get more girls involved with sports.  Don't expect anymore to be added, due to the cost.  We all know high school budgets are pretty tight.

When it comes to Title IX, maybe they should be more concerned about how many opportunities are made available to girls and boys, rather than trying to get the same number of girls in sports that the boys have. In many schools, high school and college, there are more sports and events for girls than for boys.  

What's the government going to do about that?  Pay to play?