ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
The Ooltewah High School football team practices on the football stadium field as soccer nets are set to the side.

We're less than two weeks from Hamilton County Schools starting.

Man, where did the summer go?

Whether you were at the beach or the ball park, there's certainly plenty to do between now and students returning to class Aug. 11.

But rest easy. No matter how much you have to do to get ready, take solace in the "War and Peace"-length to-do list for Robin Copp.

some text
Jay Greeson

The new Ooltewah High School principal takes the reins at the place that made too many headlines for the wrong reasons last year.

After the horrifying sexual assault on a freshman basketball player in a cabin outside Gatlinburg, Tenn., in December, former principal Jim Jarvis, athletic director and assistant principal Jesse Nayadley and head basketball coach Andre "Tank" Montgomery were not retained.

Copp and new AD Brad Jackson named Jay Williams to replace Montgomery, the first step in a lengthy process of rebuilding trust within the athletic department and the school.

That was after parents of girls soccer team players voiced Title IX allegations against the school because they are edged off the school's field in favor of various football programs.

This claim creates several lasting ripples, few of them good.

First, if you believe this will be the last concern raised about questionable decision-making by Ooltewah's previous leadership, well, there's some oceanfront property in Soddy I want to sell you.

Next, the girls soccer team has every right to be upset if it's true middle-school football teams and even pee-wee teams were allowed to use the practice facilities before the kicking Lady Owls were.

Here's betting Copp and Jackson — two capable and effective leaders — will get this handled sooner rather than later.

The girls soccer team's frustration raises the interesting question of Title IX, the federal law passed in the early 1970s with the noble and righteous aim of giving more opportunities to female athletes.

It was a stroke of genius 40-plus years ago. It provided opportunities for female athletes of that generation and the generations to come.

That's great, and it now may be time to rework the entire thing.

Follow along.

Title IX was born from the need for opportunity, but in today's application, Title IX is more about limiting men's sports than adding women's sports.

Ask the UTC's men's track team. Or a multitude of wrestling programs across the South over the last four decades. Or any men's soccer program in the SEC. (Yes, the SEC officially has no men's soccer standings because the two league schools that have programs — South Carolina and Kentucky — compete in Conference USA.)

The answer there, of course, is silence because all of those examples were casualties of Title IX through the years.

This is not to say we want fewer opportunities for women, mind you. No, this is simply a suggestion about looking at the law that accomplished its original mission — by all measures there are exponentially more athletic avenues for females today than when Title IX was passed — and how it can be better.

And more inclusive, if that sounds crazy.

Yes, a lot of today's Title IX angst comes from the stones thrown at football programs, and while some of those stones are certainly deserved, it's important to remember that football pays the freight. For athletic departments that make money on the college level, it's almost entirely because of football.

And for schools like Ooltewah, that need and dependence on football is even greater, and not just for athletics.

Go to a game some Friday night, and watch as the ROTC gets a cut of concessions and the band gets a take of the parking and the cheerleaders get program proceeds, and on and on.

Yes, the Ooltewah girl's soccer team should demand access to the school's facilities, but here's believing that this entire issue is just the latest mismanaged decision from the previous regime rather than the latest Title IX violation.

It's time to welcome a new view on Title IX; not unlike we all welcome the new view from the Ooltewah administration.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6343.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT