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My school is a private school that does not receive any type of federal funding. Does this mean I have no recourse under Title IX?

If it is true that your school receives no federal funding, Title IX does not apply to your school. Be aware that almost all private colleges receive federal funding through financial aid programs. Private high schools or junior high schools may receive some benefit from federal tax dollars (e.g., federal lunch programs), which could subject them to Title IX.

Even if your school truly receives no federal funding, there are separate California laws which mirror Title IX but apply to schools that receive state funding. California Education Code § 221.5 and California Education Code § 66271.7 prohibit gender discrimination in schools. The requirements are almost identical to Title IX’s requirements, so this manual will still be useful in helping you determine whether your school is in compliance with California law.

There is a female club field hockey team at our school with enough female players to field a varsity team. The club has asked to be given varsity status, but the school claims there is not enough funding. Is this legal under Title IX?

If your school provides boys with a greater number of slots on athletic teams than their proportion of the school population, then refusing to add another girls’ team is most likely a violation of Title IX. Lack of funding is never a valid justification for discrimination under Title IX. If there is a club team that has enough members to field a varsity team, has teams at other schools in the region to play, and has asked to be awarded varsity status, then the school is not currently meeting female athletic interest and ability and is probably violating Title IX.

I am a coach of a girls’ high school basketball team that is being discriminated against by the high school in violation of Title IX. Is it legal for the school district to fire me for filing a Title IX complaint?

No. The Supreme Court has ruled that it is illegal for a school district to retaliate against any person for complaining about sex discrimination in violation of Title IX.

Coaches and teachers are often the best advocates for the rights of their students because they frequently are in the best position to identify discrimination and bring it to the attention of administrators.


Ask a Lawyer is designed to help students, coaches, parents and educators understand girls’ rights under Title IX to equal athletic opportunities and benefits in high school athletic programs. Ask a Lawyer is intended to provide general information and is not intended, nor should it be relied upon, as legal advice. If you are interested in getting help with a particular legal problem involving Title IX and girls’ athletics, contact the California Women’s Law Center at (323) 951-1041 or justplaynow@cwlc.org

No attention…

At my school, there are announcements every day about the football games and the boys’ basketball games.  I’m on the girls’ varsity basketball team and we rock! We’ve won almost all of our games last season.  It feels terrible that they don’t announce my games in the morning.  I want to do something about that.  I want everyone at school to know how great our team is and I want them to come to our games!

New coaches every year?

I’m a senior and I’ve played softball for all of high school.  We’ve had a new coach every year.  The coach this past year is really young and never played softball before.   My brother plays baseball and has had the same coach all four years.  Actually, the baseball coach is also a teacher at school.   That seems really unfair.

What’s Your Sports Story?

My Field Sucks is a place where you can share stories, pictures, and videos about your own experience as a female athlete.

  • Have you had experiences where you were not given a fair chance to play sports?
  • Are your locker rooms in poor condition?
  • Is the boys’ field nicer than yours?
  • Do girls get the same chances to play chances?
  • Are the girls’ games at a good time?

Use the form below to submit your stories.  And, please comment on other people’s stories.

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