New Sports Banners Spark Twitter Controversy
Over the summer, the Green Hope Athletic Director previewed some new decorative banners on his twitter account, and the responses ranged from delight to anger as students shared their opinions about our school’s new decor. The banners showcased four male athletes for the fall season (two football players and two soccer players) in the stadium. Some students replied to the tweet with words of awe and excitement about the new banners, but others replied back with comments expressing surprise that Green Hope is now an all male school or that the Fine Arts Department never gets recognition.
While as Athletic Director, Coach Fegeley is in no way responsible for representing people in Fine Arts, it makes me wonder: how equally represented are the students at Green Hope? The walls of the main halls at the school are adorned with shining trophies in large trophy cases, and team pictures dating back to the first Cross Country team at Green Hope, but where is the recognition of student artists, actors, singers, and dancers? Sure, we have paintings on the walls done by students, but there are no names or clues as to who they were painted by. Green Hope really needs to step up their game and include equal representation for students in all departments.
The response from Green Hope Athletics for not showcasing the likes of Volleyball and Cross Country on the new sixteen foot photo banners in the stadium was simply that those sports don’t compete in the stadium, but Volleyball and Cross Country would be feature in other ways. This makes sense to put the players who play in the stadium on display, but cheerleaders, dancers, and the marching band, cheer and play for Green Hope’s sports teams in the stadium. It does not make sense that they are not also showcased in the stadium? I interviewed Athletic Director Coach Fegeley for some clarity on the matter.
How did you choose who would be featured on the banners?
“The soccer boys are team captains, so choosing them was easy. However, there are 4 captains for football and only two spots so that was more difficult. Both of the football boys who were chosen play the same position, are highly recruited seniors, and great leaders on the team. It was kind of impossible to pick one without the other, so the decision was made to recognize the two wide receivers. Senior Night gives the opportunity to recognize everyone, so no one goes without their contribution to the team being showcased”
There was some uproar about just four guys’ pictures being up while some teams were not recognized at all. How did that come about?
“We decided to feature teams that play in the stadium. In the gym we created two 3×5 banners representing volleyball. In the fall it is all boys, but in the spring there will be three girls and one boy. A girl from Lacrosse, a girl from Soccer, a girl from Track and a boy from Lacrosse..”
Some twitter users mentioned Title IX, what exactly is that and what does that have to do with this all?
“Title IX was a federal law from the 70’s about equal opportunities for men and women in high school and college athletics. This basically means that there can’t be any baseball without softball, or the men’s basketball team can’t play with new equipment while the women’s team is forced to play outside on old equipment. Green Hope actually does have more women’s sports than men’s. There are thirteen ladies teams, and men’s team. Title IX has nothing to do with banners. We have hundreds of student athletes to recognize. If we could recognize them all we would. These banners give us the opportunity to showcase a handful of great people.”
I also asked a varsity cheerleader, Anya Long how she feels about not being represented in the stadium, here was her response:
What are your overall thoughts on the banners in the stadium? And do you have a problem about the cheerleaders not being represented on them?
“I think the banners are extra and yeah it would be nice if the cheerleaders got at least a little banner hung up in the gym,” she responded.
After hearing Coach Fegeley’s answers and explanations, it helps clarify some of the reservations I had, and I know a lot of others had about the banners. I definitely feel for the cheerleaders who rarely get credit for all of the support they give our teams. Sometimes I definitely think that Green Hope, and a lot of other High Schools care way too much about sports. Hopefully the school can come up with other ways to showcase the many talents of Green Hope’s fine arts department.
Below is the Federal Title IX Law in North Carolina.
Athletics programs are considered educational programs and activities. There are three basic parts of Title IX as it applies to athletics:
- Participation: Title IX requires that women and men be provided equitable opportunities to participate in sports. Title IX does not require institutions to offer identical sports but an equal opportunity to play;
- Scholarships: Title IX requires that female and male student-athletes receive athletics scholarship dollars proportional to their participation; and
- Other benefits: Title IX requires the equal treatment of female and male student-athletes in the provisions of: (a) equipment and supplies; (b) scheduling of games and practice times; (c) travel and daily allowance/per diem; (d) access to tutoring; (e) coaching, (f) locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities; (g) medical and training facilities and services; (h) housing and dining facilities and services; (i) publicity and promotions; (j) support services and (k) recruitment of student-athletes.