E. Texas school district to correct inequalities between male an - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

E. Texas school district to correct inequalities between male and female athletes

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas school district will be making some changes after a discrimination complaint claimed male and female athletes were not treated equally.

The complaint was investigated by the United States Department of Education. However, before that investigation was complete, the school district decided they'd start addressing the concerns on their own.

In April of 2013, Chris Yoder had recently resigned as Longview High School's Lady Lobo Soccer coach. He said male and female athletes were not treated equally, but he was going to fight for their equality.

"It's much easier not being a coach and bringing this information to light," Yoder said in April of 2013.

Now, a year later, he's pleased to see that complaint is making a difference.

"I'm extremely hopeful that [Longview Independent School District] does what it's supposed to do," Yoder says,

After Yoder filed a Title IX discrimination complaint, the U.S. Department of Education and Office for Civil Rights opened their own investigation. The initial findings showed a need for improvement starting with the facilities provided for the Lobo softball team.

Unlike their male counterparts on the baseball field, Lady Lobos were not provided with:
  • a press box
  • concession stand
  • bullpens
  • covered dugouts
  • restrooms
  • regulation outfield dimensions

However, before the discrimination investigation was complete, LISD stepped up to the plate.

"I think Longview decided, 'Hey, it would be better if we go ahead and do this ourselves,'" says Yoder.

Yoder doesn't work at LISD anymore. Now he's coaching in Nacogdoches.

"Fortunately, I found an athletic director that is also a soccer coach and knows what it's like to be an underdog," he explains.

Now, from 70 miles away, Yoder is following the district's changes that could shape the future for female athletes at LISD.

"The Title IX issues that are there are not the [athletics department's] fault. They've been coming for years... decades even. But they have the chance and the opportunity to be on the forefront of an exciting change and I encourage them to do it, and I sincerely hope they do," says Yoder.

The changes to the softball field are just the beginning of what Longview ISD has agreed to do to achieve athletic equality. Starting this September, the district will begin surveying high school and eighth grade female students about which sports they'd like to see added to the district's athletic programs.

The entire resolution, signed by the superintendent is 11 pages long. If you'd like to read the entire thing, click here.

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