Monday, December 18, 2006

When football asks for money...

...I just cringe. Which is what I did last week when I saw some football team members standing in front of the grocery store with cans in their hands "begging" for money in their varsity jackets with the leather sleeves. I am not sure how widespread this practice of "canning" is but it brought back my own memories of standing there wondering how much eye contact is really appropriate when you're unabashedly asking for money. Or whether when someone asks your win-loss record (I was on the tennis team knowledge of our win-loss record was rare unlike football which many more people follow--but not in a Friday Night Lights kind of way--it was New England after all) if you should maybe pad it a little less they feel you are unworthy of a donation.
Anyway I did not give money to canners because well it's football. I am not anti-football. I actually enjoy it once in a while. I was one of the few people in the band who actually paid attention to the games when we played them. But I am of course critical of the amount of money football gets often to the detriment of women's sports and men's "minor" sports.
High school football has not come under as much criticism as intercollegiate football of course largely because no one is getting scholarships to be there, players are not put up in hotels before home games, etc. But it would be interesting to see how things broke down budget-wise and in terms of amenities. I do know that football at my high school had a pretty big booster organization which could raise a lot of money selling concessions at a nice stand at the stadium--an opportunity other sports did not have.
Thus far most Title IX cases involving high schools have dealt with equity in regards to access to sports. Others have dealt with equitable facilities (fields, gyms, etc.) but it will be interesting to see if booster dollars, other fundraisers, and overall budgetary issues come under legal scrutiny on the future. Just because the budgets are not as big does not mean there are not equity issues in high school athletic departments. Perhaps because they are not as large there might even be a greater imperative to make things equitable.

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