The real issue: Athletic justice delayed is justice denied

ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” story. It is an editorial by the editor.

TitleIXA tangled web is being weaved after former Wayland Board of Education Shelly Whitley filed a complaint against the schools for violating federal Title IX provisions.

It seems Whitley filed the action for two huge reasons — one, it is just plain wrong for softball to have five proper fields on the high school/middle complex while baseball has only one. The second reason is that apparently the only way this unfair and illegal situation will be remedied is by taking strong action.

No one is being critical of the job varsity softball coach Cheri Ritz is doing. She and her players deserve their quality facilities.

But baseball is being shortchanged here. The program should be granted a second field on the campus so the teams have enough space in which to have practice and play games.

Title IX very clearly insists it’s all about equal opportunities for boys and girls to compete. And that’s not happening right here in Wayland.

The Administration and Board of Education must stop acting as though this suddenly came up this year. Whitley, as chair of the Athletic Committee, brought this problem to everybody’s attention for four consecutive years, but the response was to “kick the can down the road.”

This illegal and unfair situation has festered for too long, and apparently Whitley had to get tough in the interests of athletic justice.

But the denial and foot-dragging continues. Superintendent Taylor sent Newschannel 3 the following statement:

“We were disappointed to learn of the complaint that was filed with the OCR today. At this point, we consider the complaint to be prematurely filed, as the Board of Education has not yet taken any final action on the funding of its Summer 2015 projects. Unfortunately, we can’t prevent someone from filing a complaint before the Board has made a final decision.”

This is in direct contradiction to a statement Board of Education President Nancy Thelen made to Whitley that, “We are not saying we will not be doing a new field, but not for summer projects of this 2015 school year.”

So will they or won’t they?

Supt. Taylor went on to tell Channel 3: “In the meantime, the district remains committed to providing equal opportunities for all its students, both in terms of athletics and academics. If it becomes necessary to respond to the OCR complaint in the future we will do so. Our focus right now remains on serving our students and continuing to provide them with positive learning opportunities during this school year.”

George Orwell, in the book “1984,” introduced Newspeak, which the dictionary describes as “ambiguous euphemistic language used chiefly in political propaganda.”

Taylor seems to have mastered the process — making a comment without actually saying anything of value.

Too many politicians, corporate CEOs and coaches have become skilled in the art of not telling you anything in response to a question. Taylor’s quote for Channel 3 is a textbook example.

The school board and administration should stop stonewalling and begin steps to take action. If they don’t, maybe the state or the feds will step in.

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