The Government Did Not Force A High School To Tear Out Its Baseball Seats

Apr 1 2014, 1:58pm CDT | by

I may already be too late to quell the outrage — or at least funnel it in the right direction — regarding the baseball boosters of Plymouth High School in suburban Detroit having to tear out seats it bought and installed on their own dime and time. But I want to correct one big whopper of a mistake that is bouncing its way across the rage-o-sphere: the federal government did NOT order the seats torn out as a remedy for a Title IX gender equity violation.

It’s just like how the federal government doesn’t tell a college violating Title IX that it has to cut the men’s wrestling program – under Title IX, it ensures that men and women have equal athletic opportunities. However, cuts in men’s sports have happened during the 42 years of Title IX, so there is a subset of people who believe it’s been responsible for a war on males. That subset is ready to pounce on any “evidence” that another shot in this War on Men’s Sports has been fired (while ignoring football’s role in squeezing out opportunities for males in other sports).

On March 28, the local Fox television station in Detroit provided some fuel for outrage. It reported that after boosters installed a seating deck and a scoreboard at the Plymouth High baseball field, a complaint came into the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights that there might be a Title IX violation because similar work wasn’t done at school’s softball field. At one point, the report notes Plymouth-Canton Community Schools “agreed to take the seats down” to be in Title IX compliance.

Except that according to the investigative report on the complaint, which wasn’t quoted in the Fox Detroit story (and was about equality of facilities in general, not just about the seats and scoreboard), the district wasn’t asked to tear anything down — it was asked to build up. From the Department of Education’s report dated Oct. 31, 2013, which took a complete look at the district’s athletics programs and facilities for boys and girls:

If booster clubs provide benefits and services to athletes of one sex that are greater than what the district is capable of
providing to athletes of the other sex, then the district must take action to ensure that benefits and services are equivalent for both sexes. …/>

The District has signed the enclosed resolution agreement, which, once implemented, will fully address the information obtained during the investigation in accordance with Title IX. The agreement requires the District to: renovate the School’s varsity softball field to include a scoreboard and seating equivalent to what is provided at the School’s varsity baseball field; and provide the School’s girls’ lacrosse team with access to an on-campus practice facility equivalent to that provided to the boys’ lacrosse team.

However, because it’s a lot more fun to say the big, bad ol’ government is oppressing people, the Narrative (there’s always a Narrativequickly established that the feds told the boosters to tear out the seats (or as often misreported, bleachers). Two of the boosters appeared March 30 on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” and it only took until the first question for them to be asked if this government-ordered seat removal wasn’t un-American. The boosters, apparently not regular viewers of “Fox & Friends,” seemed a little surprised by that line of questioning.

But if the federal government didn’t tell the boosters to remove the seats, then who did? I’ve sent emails to Plymouth-Canton Community Schools superintendent Michael Meissen and the district’s director of communications, Kate Dietrich, to find out what happened. At this writing I haven’t heard back from the district, but I’ve asked these questions, and I will relay their answers when I receive them:

According to the Fox Detroit report, the softball field is getting a new scoreboard. But as for the seats, were the softball team’s boosters given a chance to raise the $15,000 the baseball boosters told Fox & Friends they spent for their seating deck? Are the softball boosters still being given that chance, or are there other budgetary discussions, given that the baseball seats are being put into storage rather than being thrown out? Fox Detroit reported the seating deck had issues regarding accessibility for the disabled — is that why they were taken down? An anonymous athletic director is quoted in the education report that he didn’t like the seats because they were in the path to take a direct hit from foul balls — is that why they were taken out? Who actually ordered the seats be removed?

Somebody ordered that the seats be removed. But the evidence points to that somebody not being an employee of the federal government. I don’t blame the baseball boosters for being upset about having to tear apart what they worked hard to build. But if they or anyone else is going to get angry, they should make sure their displeasure is directed at the right people.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Ebola toll rises to 1,350: WHO
Geneva, Aug 21 (IANS/EFE) The death toll due to the Ebola virus continues to rise in West Africa and currently stands at 1,350, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
 
 
India charges Nepal lowest interest rate
Kathmandu, Aug 21 (IANS) Compared to other South Asian countries, India charges Nepal the lowest interest rate for the lines of credit (LOCs) it offers, a diplomat here said.
 
 
An abusive boss can make entire team hostile
New York, Aug 21 (IANS) Is your boss abusive and does not pay much heed to even positive suggestions made by the team? Such superiors can actually throw the entire work team into conflict, hurting productivity, reveals a study.
 
 
OPEC daily basket price closes higher
Vienna, Aug 21 (IANS/WAM) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stood at $99.52 a barrel Wednesday, compared to $98.93 Tuesday, according to the OPEC Secretariat.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Real Madrid aim for big-six season
Madrid, Aug 21 (IANS) If pre-season results were anything to look on then Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti would be feeling hot under the collar and looking anxiously over his shoulder following four defeats, one win...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Israel killed three senior commanders: Hamas military wing
Gaza, Aug 21 (IANS) The al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamist Hamas movement, Thursday said that Israel has killed three of its senior commanders in the Gaza Strip. It said the three commanders were...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Ebola toll rises to 1,350: WHO
Geneva, Aug 21 (IANS/EFE) The death toll due to the Ebola virus continues to rise in West Africa and currently stands at 1,350, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said. Of that number, 576 have died in Liberia where...
Read more on Business Balla
 
India charges Nepal lowest interest rate
Kathmandu, Aug 21 (IANS) Compared to other South Asian countries, India charges Nepal the lowest interest rate for the lines of credit (LOCs) it offers, a diplomat here said. "This shows India's close affinity to...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
An abusive boss can make entire team hostile
New York, Aug 21 (IANS) Is your boss abusive and does not pay much heed to even positive suggestions made by the team? Such superiors can actually throw the entire work team into conflict, hurting productivity, reveals...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Paltrow okay with Martin's relationship with Lawrence
Los Angeles, Aug 21 (IANS) Actress Gwyneth Paltrow reportedly approves of estranged husband Chris Martin's romance with Jennifer Lawrence. The "Iron Man 3" star, who recently started dating "Glee" co-creator Brad...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Bradley Cooper reveals his love of Oasis
Hollywood superstar Bradley Cooper is a big fan of Oasis. Bradley, 39, has revealed his love of the group - who officially split in 2009 after a string of high-profile disagreements between Noel and Liam Gallagher - was...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Dan Stevens gets in shape for The Guest
Dan Stevens has got himself in shape to play a former American soldier in 'The Guest'. The 31-year-old actor is almost physically unrecognisable from the character of Matthew Crawley, who he played in the popular...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Unesco condemns American journalist's killing
Paris, Aug 21 (IANS) Unesco director general Irina Bokova Thursday condemned the beheading of US journalist James Foley by extremist Islamist militants in Iraq, calling it a "heinous killing". "I condemn the murder of...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
OPEC daily basket price closes higher
Vienna, Aug 21 (IANS/WAM) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stood at $99.52 a barrel Wednesday, compared to $98.93 Tuesday, according to the OPEC Secretariat. The...
Read more on Business Balla