Sex Equity in Athletics
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.
Training on Sex Equity in Athletics
Title IX and Washington state law require public schools to provide male and female students with equal athletic participation opportunities, benefits, and treatment. This two-part webinar series, recorded in October 2022, explains how Washington schools can ensure that their athletics programs are doing this, and how—and how often—schools should be documenting their work.
- Part 1 focuses on Title IX’s “Three-Part Test,” which is the primary way schools assess whether their athletic programs are accommodating the interests and abilities of male and female student-athletes and providing them with equal participation opportunities.
- Part 2 focuses on the annual athletic evaluation, which is how schools assess whether they are providing equal benefits and treatment to male and female student-athletes, and specifically how Title IX applies to outside sources of funding, such as donations, fundraisers, and booster clubs.
Each webinar reviews applicable definitions and requirements; identifies the expected analytical approach; discusses scenarios; and shares tools OSPI has developed to help schools document their work, including the athletics interest survey, the survey results worksheet, the athletics opportunities worksheet, and the annual athletic evaluation worksheets.
- Part 1 Title IX’s Three-Part Test Webinar
- Part 2 Title IX Annual Athletic Evaluation Webinar
- Sex Equity in Athletics Training Handout
Annual Athletic Evaluations
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:
- Student athletic interests and abilities
- Scheduling of games and practices
- Equipment, uniforms, and supplies
- Publicity and Awards
- Medical services and training
- Travel and per diem
- Housing, laundry, and dining facilities and services
Team, Building, & District Worksheet Samples
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—Team-level evaluation. Coaches for each team evaluate their team's opportunities in all categories.
Step 2—Building-level analysis. At each building, compile the self-evaluation data reported by each team to analyze equity in opportunities and treatment in girls' and boys' athletic programs at the building level.
Step 3—District-level analysis. Compile the self-evaluation data reported by each building to analyze equity in opportunities and treatment in girls' and boys' athletic programs districtwide.
Ensuring Equitable Athletic Opportunities
The 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.
- Part Three of the Three-Part Test | FAQ
- Three-Part Test Guidance
- Athletic Activities Counted for Title IX Compliance
Student Athletic Interest Survey
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.
Note: OSPI revised the Student Athletic Interest Survey in August 2018. Please use the new and revised resources below.
Survey Instructions (Includes instructions for administering the survey and analyzing the results, information about the Three-Part Test, and frequently asked questions)
- Step 1—Survey all students using the OSPI survey questions (revised in August 2018)
School districts must use the survey questions developed by OSPI. With OSPI approval, however, schools may modify the contents of the survey if necessary to clarify and assist in evaluating student interest.
Schools do not need OSPI approval to make formatting changes, add questions, or adapt the survey for Scantron or online application. For example, if regional competition exists for sports not listed on the OSPI survey, a school may add those sports to the survey without OSPI approval to help determine student interest. Some schools also find it helpful to add additional demographic questions—such as race and ethnicity—to better understand students’ athletic interests and any perceived barriers to participation.
- Step 2—Disaggregate the survey results
Disaggregate the survey results by sex and by building to determine the top sports requested and the top reasons for non-participation
Student Athletic Survey: Results Summary Worksheet (Revised in August 2018)
- Step 3—Plan next steps
If the top sports requested by the underrepresented sex are not currently offered, plan next steps - such as following up with students about their interest, researching the feasibility of the sport and available competition, and assessing if there are enough interested students in a new sport or squad to sustain a team.
Outside Funding Sources
Booster Clubs, Fundraising, & 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 opportunities, benefits, and treatment provided must be equal in effect.
A donor or booster club may be adamant that donations go to a particular team. However, a school must understand that by accepting a particular donation, schools are obligated to ensure that it does not result in a disparity. Making sure that donors and booster clubs are aware of this obligation is key, and might involve taking proactive steps such as:
- Developing and distributing policies and procedures for athletic fundraising and fundraisers.
- Developing and distributing procedures and forms to request and report donations. This allows for better school and district oversight and avoids donations going directly to individual coaches or teams.
- Establishing an inclusive, school-wide sports booster club policy and procedure, e.g., all donations go into one fund, with the athletic director in control of any distributions from there.
- Establishing a booster club advisory committee comprised of booster club members, parents, coaches, and athletic director(s) to encourage communication and collaboration.
- Developing a consistent system for tracking booster club donations.
- Providing ongoing training for all coaching staff in the areas of equal opportunity in fundraising and donations, as well as in federal and state nondiscrimination laws.
- OCR letter regarding outside sources of funding (1995)
- Paying for the Playing Field: Booster Clubs, Funding, School Sports, and Title IX (National Women's Law Center)
Federal Policy & Guidance
- Title IX Coordinator Resource Guide
- Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Guidance: The Three-Part Test (1996)
- Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Clarification: The Three-Part Test - Part Three (2010) | Q's & A's
- Additional guidance regarding application of three-part test to interscholastic athletic programs (2008)
- Athletic Activities Counted for Title IX Compliance (2008)
- Students with Disabilities in Extracurricular Athletics