2012 came with the 40th anniversary of an educational equality amendment that was cheered into signing during the Nixon administration. Hope Solo, Serena and Venus Williams, Candace Parker and Marion Jones all have this law to thank in helping their cause in becoming world class athletes. With its passage, it was promised that men and women would receive equal federal funding in educational environments.
Title IX is a federal law that mandates schools that receive federal funding equally disburse funds between men and women, specifically in collegiate athletics. Las Positas is not quite meeting these requirements as both women’s coaches are part time, while the men’s coaches are full time positions. To make matters worse, the college could lose federal funds as a result and could be sued for millions of dollars.
“Having access to their coach (benefits the student athletes), in a full time capacity to discuss classroom issues or athletic issues,” LPC Athletics Director Dyan Miller said. “Whether it’s counseling, figuring out what classes to take and practice times.”
LPC meets all other requirements of title IX when coaching is excluded, but that is still not a shield from the possibility of a lawsuit.
Over the years since Title IX was signed into law in 1972, there have been several high-profile lawsuits, however the dollar amounts in settlements are rarely available. Some notable cases have hit major universities such as the University of Tennessee, UC Berkeley and Duke, along with a recent case which is pending at Penn State.
“You look at the availability of students to their coaches, times of practice, which could be one or three because those people are leaving to go to a different job,” Miller said. To address the problem, she said that LPC needs to hire at least one of the part time positions so that they are equitable.
“You can’t even say that there’s balance because there’s a full time position for a men’s sport and a part time position for a women’s sport,” Miller said. “What you’re saying is that the priority has been put on male sports because all of them are full time.”
For the Lady Hawks basketball team, the fact that there has been only a part time coaching position has been a problem. The team is now on their third coach in three years, now being led by Clarence Morgan.
During the spring semester, Miller sent out an email appealing to the LPC administration to look into hiring a new full-time faculty member in the physical education department to help the school meet the Title IX requirements. The P.E. department ranked high enough the process to hire new faculty members, which is ranked by need, but the request was denied because of fiscal constraints.
With the current fiscal state of LPC, it may seem like a naive thought that the school would hire a physical education faculty member, but it is a move that could save the school from a huge lawsuit and the potential loss of federal funding.