Imagine yourself on an all girls team, battling for the girls’ volleyball state championship title when the opposing team steps on the court. Everything seems to be orthodox until three boys approach their way to the other side as they prepare to kick off the game. In 1976, this situation occurred, and a ruling set by the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) followed after the South Bend Adams High School girls’ volleyball team earned the state championship with three boys legally on their roster. Since then, there has been controversy over co-ed sports being allowed in high school athletics and how the sports could be affected.
According to Indianapolis News, the IHSAA ruling states that co-ed sports create unfair competition through an overbalance of strength and ability of male contestants on teams designed for girls.
However, since boys would provide a negative addition to girl dominated sports by generating unfair advantages over other girls trying out for the team, the ruling was tweaked so that girls could have an equal opportunity to join specific sports generally created for males such as wrestling, soccer and football. With this rule adjustment, it follows Title IX guidelines regarding equality amongst boys and girls athletics.
“According to Title IX, [men are] allowed on a female team to balance gender diversity. I think it is fine as long as every other team is able to participate in this co-ed transition. The future of this as an organization may be a good idea possibly, raising the competitiveness of the sport as a whole,” junior basketball player Justin Imaa said.
Despite some people having an affirmative side to this controversy, there are those who believe that having males on an all female team is ethically incorrect because of the physiological advantages males have over females.
“[Girls being on boys sports teams] challenges the girls to help build on their athletic abilities, but [boys being on girls sports teams] does not benefit the boy being that they naturally have physical advantages. However, co-ed sports do provide a friendlier and competitive [atmosphere] for both genders,” sophomore volleyball player Sharon Lam said.
Although there are mixed views on this topic, the official rule is that any girl may join a specific sport if not offered for girls because sports, such as football and wrestling are generally not offered as a team directly for girls. For example, several girls have been on Alhambra High School’s wrestling and football teams in previous years. Therefore, to this extent, co-ed sports are allowed in high school athletics.