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Home » Policy & Funding » Equity and Civil Rights » Equity in School Athletic Programs

Equity in School Athletic Programs

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Equity & Civil Rights


Under state and federal law, the overall benefits and treatment of athletic programs for girls and boys must be equitable. All interscholastic, club, or intramural athletics operated, sponsored, or provided by the school district must provide similar benefits, opportunities, and treatment to female and male students.

Title IX Regulations | Chapter 28A.640 RCW | Chapter 392-190 WAC

Families — School Athletic Programs

Equal Treatment for Female and Male Students

Discrimination is prohibited in all athletic programs — interscholastic, club and intramural sports — provided by public schools. The benefits, opportunities, and the treatment of each sex must be equal or equal in effect — though not necessarily the same.

Some differences could be nondiscriminatory. For example, the need for unique equipment for students who play football or lacrosse may explain some differences between programs.

Annual Evaluation

Districts use an annual evaluation to identify differences between male and female athletic programs that may be discriminatory. Schools should correct any differences that have a negative impact on students of one sex when compared with the benefits or services available to the other sex.

Questions, Concerns, Complaints

A discussion with your school principal, or Title IX coordinator at the school district, is often the best step to address your concerns or disagreements about equity in athletic programs. Share what happened and let the principal or coordinator know what they can do to help resolve the problem.

If you cannot resolve the concern or disagreement this way, you can file a complaint.

Districts — School Athletic Programs

Annual Evaluation

School districts must evaluate their athletic programs at least once every year to make sure equal opportunities are available to male and female students in each school’s interscholastic, club, and intramural athletic program. When evaluating athletic programs, districts compare these components in the athletic programs for girls and boys at each school:

  1. Student athletic interests and abilities
  2. Scheduling of games and practices
  3. Equipment, uniforms, and supplies
  4. Facilities
  5. Coaching
  6. Publicity and Awards
  7. Medical services and training
  8. Travel and per diem
  9. Housing, laundry, and dining facilities and services

Worksheets for the Team, Building, and District

These team, building, and district worksheets cover all the elements — in three steps — required by the annual evaluation. If your district develops its own evaluation forms, make sure you collect all the evaluation data documented in these OSPI worksheets.

Step 1  Coaches evaluate their team’s opportunities in all categories.
Team Worksheet

Step 2  Staff person at each building compiles the self-evaluation data reported by each team.
Building Worksheet

Step 3  Staff person at the district compiles the self-evaluation data reported by each building.
District Worksheet

Student Interests and Abilities | Three-Part Test

Schools must make sure their athletic programs accommodate the interests and abilities of both sexes, considering the results of the athletic interest survey. The Three-Part Test determines if a school is equally meeting the interests and abilities of male and female students.

Student Survey: Athletic Interests and Abilities

School districts must administer a student survey at least once every three years. This survey helps schools determine student interest in specific sports so they can plan which sports to offer to equally meet the interests of male and female students.
Athletic Survey and Instructions

The Athletic Opportunities Worksheet can help you evaluate your school’s compliance with the Three-Part Test.
Athletic Opportunities Worksheet

Booster Clubs and Donations

Outside sources of funding and donations are acceptable, so long as they do not result in disparities between the male and female athletic programs. If a donation results in an inequity along gender lines, the school must correct the inequity, using its own funds if needed. Budgets for boys’ and girls’ teams do not have to be equal, but the benefits provided must be equal in effect.

State Policy

  • Athletics (Guidelines: Prohibiting Discrimination, pages 40–54)
  • WAC 392-190-025 Recreational and Athletic Activities
  • WAC 392-190-030 Recreational and Athletic Activities—Annual Athletic Evaluation
  • WAC 392-190-040 Recreational and Athletic Activities—Student Athletic Interest Survey
  • WAC 392-190-045 Recreational and Athletic Activities—Facilities

Federal Policy and Guidance

Three Part Test

Students with Disabilities