Do you think that Catholic Youth Organization league football for 11-year-olds or elementary/middle school age children should be for boys only or co-ed? Or do you think it depends on the sport?
Caroline Pla of Philadelphia has been playing football since she was in kindergarten and has played on the Catholic Youth Organization league for the past two seasons. Last year she even made the all-star team.
Apparently up until now – last season and part of this season – they overlooked the boys-only rule but now the archdiocese is going to be enforcing the boys only rule. The archdiocese has agreed to let her finish the season.
“First they said it was a boys sport. Then they said it was a safety issue. Then they said it was inappropriate touching. I think they are just constantly looking for excuses to not change it,” Caroline said Thursday at her home in Buckingham Township, Bucks County.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is now reviewing the ban, with a decision expected next month after a panel of coaches, parents and doctors weigh in.
The Women’s Sports Foundation believes there are instead good reasons to reverse the rule — and not just for the sake of girls.
“What the diocese is missing is all the wonderful things that come out of co-ed sports. The mutual respect that lasts a lifetime between girls and boys,” said lawyer Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a 1984 Olympic gold medalist in swimming who now is senior director of advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation.
From a safety perspective, pre-pubescent girls and boys are often the same size. And legally, private or religious groups that receive any type of federal funding — through low-income lunch programs or other aid — must abide by Title IX, the 1972 law that guarantees girls equal access to sports, she said. There are exceptions for contact sports, but they cannot be invoked once girls have been allowed to play in a program, she said.
Hogshead-Makar advises colleges to make sports activities co-ed whenever possible — in the weight room, on the team bus, on the court. She believes the mutual contact fosters respect and reduces rates of violence against women.
No matter how Chaput rules, Caroline could still play football next season for Pop Warner or her school team. And she has no plans to play in high school, because she doesn’t think she’ll be big enough to play her position at that level.
Her brother plays on the high school freshman team, while her twin sister and an older sister have been cheerleaders.
“Right now, I’m one of the biggest, because I’ve hit my growth spurt and a lot of them haven’t,” said Caroline, who scored her first touchdown this past season on a 15-yard run. “It’s just really fun.”
When I was in middle school I used to play all sorts of sports with the boys in my neighborhood including tackle football. I really don’t see a problem with CYO league sports in middle school being co-ed. If we were talking about co-ed league sports for high school age youth I would say the sports should be all boys or all girls because of the way boys and girls have different strengths and are built differently and concerns for girls getting injured but I don’t see that problem with elementary school or junior high age kids. Since the Philadelphia Archdiocese has already bent the rule, overlooked the boys only policy for over a year, I think that the archdiocese should change that rule. What do you think?
Here is the full story: Pa girl fights to keep playing catholic league football