School athletic directors fear equity proposal

SIDELINES

May 08, 1994|By PAT O'MALLEY

A rather controversial proposal being studied by the Anne Arundel County physical education department and the Board of Education has coaches and athletic directors shuddering with fear.

They're fearful that pure equity might result in pure disaster in terms of quality athletic programs.

Under consideration is making sure the number of boys playing in a given sports season equals the number of girls playing. Anything done for the boys should be done for the girls no matter how unreasonable and unnecessary.

Awhile back the county formed an equity committee consisting of Marlene Kelly, assistant to physical coordinator Rick Wiles; Annapolis principal Laura Webb; Northeast athletic director Roger Stitt and some parents.

That committee came back with a report that county athletic directors accepted wholeheartedly. It guaranteed equality in providing the girls what they need, which would not necessarily equal the amount of money spent on the boys.

For instance, in lacrosse, it's much cheaper to dress the girls in quality gear because they don't wear helmets and pads as the boys do. It stands to reason that it costs more to dress the boys than the girls.

"We thought their report was very reasonable," said Annapolis athletic director Fred Stauffer. "But then the report was cut to shreds by the superintendent's council of area directors. They went berserk."

The council proposed matching money allotments, equal numbers of participants in a given season and flip-flopping prime-time revenue-making games.

It's their idea that any money spent by a boosters club on boys soccer should be equaled right to the penny on the girls soccer team. If you spend $5,000 on football, then $5,000 should be spent on field hockey under the council's report.

"That's ridiculous because of the needs of football equipment compared to what they need in field hockey," said Stauffer.

"Some schools could do more in providing the girls better uniforms, warm-ups etc. and that is something we should improve but to say the expenditures on equipment have to be equal is not reasonable. Supplying what the girls need is important, not matching totals."

Another drastic step would be making sure if 300 boys play in the fall then 300 girls must play in the fall. If not, some boys who want to play would be cut to make it equal.

"I told them that we don't have 300 girls interested in playing in the fall and if we have 300 boys interested, why should we turn some of them away to attain an equal number," said Stauffer.

Also, the idea of flip-flopping traditional money-making night games with traditional afternoon contests is being studied. If approved, some football games would be played at 3:30 p.m. with some field hockey games moved to 7:30 p.m.

Now wouldn't that do a lot for the revenue-making sport of football? Field hockey games at 7:30 p.m. drawing 1,500 like football?

Please, don't insult my intelligence nor the intelligence of county coaches and athletic directors with such foolishness.

Football makes money for the entire athletic department and enables it to function.

Put football games in the afternoon and it's no longer a social event on Fridays. Parents and fans used to going from work to the evening games wouldn't be able to and attendance would suffer, creating a serious financial deficit.

Certain girls basketball games do draw, but most of them don't draw as well the boys and to put them on a 50-50 basis in terms of prime time is ludicrous and self-defeating. Here again, lost revenue only hurts everybody, including the girls.

This radical thinking of establishing pure equality could only kill the overall athletic program. So, what would be accomplished?

"Nothing," answered Stauffer.

"What bothers me is that just a few people sit back, and I'm not sure who they are, and come up with these scary ideas even though we don't have parents and the female coaches complaining.

"I think we've done a lot in this county to raise the level of girls athletics and these new ideas could hurt everybody, including the girls."

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