Schools Need to Keep Good Records on Students’ Participation in Competitive Sports during all of 2015-2016 (and beyond)

In August 2014, the Governor signed SB 1349 which supplements the Sex Equity in Education Act so as to require all schools (including charter schools) offering competitive sports (i.e., any sport that has a coach and a governing organization, practices and competes during a defined season, and has competition as its primary goal) to begin posting the following information on their website (or on the district’s website if the school does not maintain one) at the end of this school year (and annually thereafter):

(1) The total enrollment of the school, classified by gender.

(2) The number of pupils enrolled at the school who participate in competitive athletics, classified by gender.

(3) The number of boys’ and girls’ teams, classified by sport and by competition level.

The data schools post should reflect the total number of players on a team roster on the official first day of competition.  Note:   The materials used by a school to compile the required information must be retained by the school for at least three years after the information is posted on the Internet.  Schools should expect advocates to be examining the data that is posted at the end of the year, to be issuing public records act requests for the materials used to compile the information posted and to begin bringing Title IX legal claims where they see gender disparities in athletic participation.

By now, all school districts should have adopted a version of the California School Boards Association’s model Administrative Regulation 6145.2 with compliance guidance for their school(s).

Why is this important (aside from avoiding costly lawsuits)?  The California legislature found:  “Female pupils receive substantial benefits from participating in athletics, including physical benefits, psychological and emotional health benefits, learning responsible social behavior, and achieving greater academic success.”    Despite these benefits, disparities continue to exist not only between boys’ and girls’ participation, but also between the participation of Caucasian girls and girls of color.  The California legislature stated:  “In 2008, a national survey of pupils in grades 3 to 12, inclusive, by  the Women’s Sports Foundation found that 75 percent of Caucasian girls play sports, compared to less than two-thirds of African American and Hispanic girls, and about one-half of Asian girls.  And, while boys from immigrant families are well represented in youth sports, less than one-half of the girls from those families are playing sports.”

Bottomline:   Encourage all of your students to participate in sports this year and keep good records!