So many celebrations around the 50th anniversary of Title IX – how far we’ve come. Really? Sixty years ago, I refused to play high school basketball because girls could only play half court and were required to dribble five times and then pass. While very different today, one thing is still the same – the disrespect toward female athletes.
Riverside-Brookfield High School’s girls basketball team recently lost their regional game. Trailing throughout the game, they played with incredible intensity and determination, not wanting their season to end. RB was up by three with 5.9 seconds remaining. Simeon hit a three to tie the game to go to overtime. I guess it helped that Simeon had six players on the court.
After huddling, the three officials decided they didn’t want to call a technical so late in the game. Can any reasonable person imagine such a travesty if it were a boys game? Could this have been corrected?
A boys team would have reconvened the next night and the game would have proceeded from the point of the technical, RB would have the ball and the game would be over.
What actually happened is the perfect example of the disrespect toward female athletes. Their season ended because the opposing team was allowed to defeat them with an extra player, and I guess that was OK with the IHSA. After all, it was only a girls game. An RB player sent a respectful e-mail to the IHSA and she got no response.
If Title IX was the success people are led to believe, girls’ facilities would be comparable to boys (not even close), girls wouldn’t be playing during school nights while boys play on weekends, and girls would have officials who were comparable to boys.
Officiating is not easy, but the above example is just one problem. People say they don’t go to girls’ games because they are not as exciting. A major reason for that is officiating that penalizes girls for playing aggressive ball. Officials should call fouls the same for boys and girls. Maybe officials should be paid more for doing girls games – even things out a bit. Media coverage, or lack thereof, speaks for itself.
In any event, my suggestion to the IHSA is to stop promoting Title IX if your support is meaningless. And when a student-athlete sends you an e-mail, it would be nice of you to reply.
Patti Marino, River Forest