By Kristen Munson – Staff Writer
– Female athletes at Gavilan College will have more reason to
cheer starting this fall. Women’s volleyball will be the newest
sport added to the school’s athletic department following unanimous
approval by Gavilan trustees at last week’s board meeting.
By Kristen Munson – Staff Writer
Gilroy – Female athletes at Gavilan College will have more reason to cheer starting this fall. Women’s volleyball will be the newest sport added to the school’s athletic department following unanimous approval by Gavilan trustees at last week’s board meeting.
The school is attempting to comply with Title IX, a congressional law adopted in 1972, to prevent gender discrimination in federally funded schools. Though sports is traditionally where Title IX has made headlines, any student activity receiving federal assistance requires equal funding for both its men’s and women’s groups.
“Athletics has come to be a board priority the past two and half years,” said trustee and board clerk, Mark Dover. “Five years ago there were zero active women’s sports teams. That is unacceptable.” There are two now. Currently there are four active men’s teams.
However, despite the added funding for a fourth women’s sports team, only soccer and softball remain active. The Lady Rams’ basketball season was canceled due to low student participation and is expected to resume playing in the fall.
Dover is a 1986 graduate of Gavilan College and a former member of the men’s baseball team. He believes that without a solid athletic program in college, students are denied an essential part of the educational experience.
“Sports is what drives students to a school. It is the college experience,” he said. “Without playing sports, I would not have a college education. I know I wouldn’t. Student athletes have goals. (Playing) sports keeps them in school.”
While pleased at the creation of a new sports team, he is disappointed that the new volleyball coaching position is only part-time. “You would not have a part-time head of the anthropology department,” Dover argued. “The faculty (at Gavilan) have a lot of power in appointing a position. And unfortunately the faculty doesn’t see a need in creating full-time athletic positions.”
Gilroy students might disagree. A student interest survey conducted this spring at various high schools in the region indicated that volleyball, followed by swimming, was the sport most female athletes wanted to continue playing in college.
“I understand that part of the reason the board approved the volleyball program is because it would increase the number of applicants applying to Gavilan,” said Joy Parker, the college’s director of admissions and records.
Dover believes that part of the problem retaining student interest is because many of the coaches are doing a full-time job in a part-time position.
“It burns you out,” said Dover, who would know. He was head coach of the men’s baseball team from 1992 to 2000. Many part-time coaches need second jobs to make ends meet, resulting in a high turnover rate of coaches, he said.
“It (then) takes three months to find a replacement coach, more time to recruit, and by then the athletes don’t know who the coach is,” Dover said. “(Athletes) feel like they’re being thrown into the uncertainty.”
Dover recommends that students concerned about the future of athletics at Gavilan College establish a dialogue with faculty members. “The faculty are out of touch with (the fact that) it’s a student need – a student interest,” he said.
But student interest isn’t enough. The new team still needs to hire a coach. Applications are now being accepted for the part-time position and anyone interested in participating in the program is invited to contact the athletic department. However, simply finding a coach will not complete the team. Athletes have to join and compete.
Kristen Munson covers education for the Dispatch. Reach her at 847-7097 or at [email protected]