Which is more important in school sports: Interest or Equality?


Photo Credit: Adam Crofts

Karver Crofts executes a perfect serve.

Joseph Thompson, Copy Editor

Although volleyball is a predominantly female sport, it has been a love of mine for a while now. I’ve been a part of many conversations about the want for a men’s team here in Twin. After all the experiences I’ve had, these questions still remain, why don’t we have a team if I’ve seen interest, and what the heck is Title IX?

Title IX is the federal law that states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” This means that all funding that a school or institution has for an activity, such as sports, must be balanced for members of all sex, race, ethnicity, and so on. This law targets equality, but should interest take precedence?

In an interview I had with the Activities Director here at Canyon Ridge High School, Ted Reynolds, I asked him about this law. He explained, “Title IX is definitely needed…If you take it away, money talks.” 

Here at Canyon Ridge, Men’s basketball and Football bring in the most money. “Those two programs (Men’s basketball and Football) tend to get the biggest crowds. Not always, but tends to. And so the gate revenue from those programs is what goes into the athletic account to try to help fund the other programs. You make no money on Cross Country. There is no gate. You make no money on golf. You make no money on tennis,” Reynolds explained.

If we were to do away with Title IX for more emphasis on interest, other sports would be ignored, while the money-makers like football would be the institution’s priority. Sports like tennis, golf, and cross country would be ignored because of the lack of money they bring in. 

How does Title IX affect the possibility for sports like a men’s volleyball team? While it could be said that Title IX makes it harder for lesser sports like men’s volleyball to get introduced to schools, Ted helped shed some light on obstacles in the way of smaller sports.

“I am all about giving kids opportunities to participate in something. The problem that I see happening, and it started when we added soccer, and then we added swim…The more you offer, the more you’re gonna end up watering down some of your other programs.”

There are only so many kids interested in sports at schools like Canyon Ridge. The more sports you add, the more students are going to have to pick and choose what sports they get to play. 

I interviewed Carter Richins, a junior here at Canyon ridge, and Aiden Tackett, a junior at Twin Falls who both are involved in sports, but have an interest in Men’s volleyball. When asked if he would play men’s volleyball instead of the sport he plays during the volleyball season, Carter said he wouldn’t. Aiden explained, “I do have sports during the volleyball season, so it probably wouldn’t work out, but I’d still be pretty interested.”

You can decide whether or not you prefer interest or equality in school sports, but Title IX seems to be a lot more than that. Whether it’s funding or fear of watering programs down, there is more to think about here than meets the eye.