Misunderstanding surrounds females not being allowed to play tackle football

It isn’t uncommon for someone to misunderstand something simply because they don’t know enough on the subject. Girls playing football at West Linn High School is a perfect example of this gap. Many people believe that girls aren’t allowed to play tackle football and that gender discrimination is occurring—which is not the case.

Title IX from the 1973 education amendments states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in… any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance…” This means that West Linn High School is required to have an athletic program in which any student can try out, including females, but just like any other individual, they can also be cut.

“Since I have been here at West Linn High School, we have not had any females try out for [the football or wrestling team],” Rob Holstrom, athletic director, said. “There was talk of one wanting to try out for wrestling about three to four years ago, but she changed her mind.”

Why is it that females have not tried out for either of these male dominated sports? It may be because they do not know they are protected by Title IX, or that they have no interest in joining all male teams. If this is the case, the next step should be to make it known that girls can join any sports team they so choose if no equivalent team already exists.

It isn’t only in the government funded programs that such equality exists. There are many large groups for womens football and other male-dominated sports. One of the better known leagues is the International Women’s Flag Football Association and one of the leading organizers is the Women’s American Football Club. This club works with three leagues to organize and hold women’s tournaments for tackle football. This is different from the International Women’s Flag Football Association which is an independent league. The IWFFA was, “created by women, for women.” The creator of the league, Diane Beruldsen, chose flag football over tackle when she started this league. It is the largest flag football league in the world. The WAFC works with three leagues to organize and hold women’s tournaments for tackle football.

Women are given the choice between flag or tackle football. There is no gender discrimination going on. It may be important to get the word out at WLHS that if a female would like to, she can try out for any “male” sport.