How Title IX Has Hurt Youth Sports

And it’s not what you think. . .

Steve Baker flckr.com

Almost two years ago, I wrote a post on LinkedIn extolling the virtues of Title IX and its impact on the ability of women to earn more over the course of their respective careers.

Now I’m here to say the same law which opened previously closed educational doors for many young women is going to close them soon. And it has NOTHING to do with the law, its funding, nor its administration.

Youth sports is a $7 billion industry and growing all the time. It brings tax revenue to cities through tournaments and tourism along with providing opportunities for players to get scouted. Sounds like a real gold mine for families and municipalities, right?

Not if there aren’t enough referees and umpires to work the games. According to EVERY metric you can find, the number of officials in every youth sport has decreased over the last 10 years. A basic Google search reveals that truth.

I read THIS post today in the Durango Herald. Games are being rescheduled and outright canceled because of the lack of referees to work them. This is in the state of Colorado which allegedly has so much extra tax money from marijuana legalization it can’t spend it fast enough. So obviously paying referees more isn’t the answer.

It’s about abuse from coaches and fans. It’s about people not wanting to spend $100 or more on uniforms and gear to stand on a cold football field or soccer pitch or basketball court and hear about every single mistake on every single play. It’s about people who don’t want to spend unpaid time in the off season studying rules, spending money going to camps, and replacing old uniforms to get yelled at by uninformed fans who expect every call to be correct 100% of the time.

This quote from the Herald article says all you need to know:

“[The association] has lost three referees in the past four years because of coach abuse. Others leave after being verbally assaulted or even at times physically accosted after games. Young athletes watch as coaches and parents berate officials, and when they are approached about chipping in, they don’t entertain the idea of being subjected to such treatment.”

In the last two years, umpires in my local association have been followed to their cars five times over “missed” calls. I know this because I have dealt directly with athletic directors and other administrators.

How does this connect with Title IX? There will come a point where your daughter (someone’s daughter) won’t be playing the game in front of the coach of the college she wants to attend. There aren’t enough referees because you are a ravenous harpy dressing your righteous indignation and lack of understanding of basic game rules in the cloak of alleged fairness.

Do I need to go on?

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