West Middlesex community outraged over possibility girls’ soccer program may be eliminated

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One person reached out to the PIAA to determine if this is an issue involving Title IX

WEST MIDDLESEX, Pa. (WKBN) – The West Middlesex girls’ soccer program might end up merging with the boys’ program. The school board met with parents, players and other members to answer questions Monday night.

A full crowd was on-hand to hear what the school system’s superintendent had to say about the future of the girls’ soccer program.

“The district was obligated to continue to look at the viability of the program based on team participation numbers, skill levels and the physical levels for the team to play in the rigors of playing the competition of soccer,” said Superintendent Raymond Omer.

He said this was due to a school contract.

Omer explained that two previous dates they played were to be used to evaluate the team. All stakeholders were made aware of the dates, but the soccer program is claiming some players weren’t there on Aug. 12.

“It was noted beforehand to your athletic representative that there were people on vacation on that day, which these students have no control over,” said Holly Sauer, who spoke at the meeting as a representative of both soccer programs.

Omer stated that when they were trying to find plans to help the soccer program, one idea was to combine both the girls’ and boys’ programs.

“That was to try and combine the teams together in a co-varsity platform that will allow you to continue to have practices and engage in meaningful competition,” Omer said.

One supporter of the girls’ varsity soccer program reached out to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association to determine if this is an issue involving Title IX.

Title IX essentially makes sure that women’s and men’s teams have equal access to benefits and services and must receive an equal budget and athletic fund.

“They found that they can’t find any reason why this girls’ team is being eliminated,” Sauer said.

The superintendent did respond, asking if they found a violation, to which Sauer replied that they are investigating.

Another idea was making the girls’ team an intramural team, sighting a pervious team that did that to bring their numbers back up.

“We could set up an intramural/scrimmage type plan that we did last year with the junior high football team, who was able to bounce back with — this year — with the appropriate amount of numbers on the given days we were looking at them,” Omer said.

To which Sauer replied…

“If you have enough kids to have an intramural team, you have enough kids for a varsity team.”

One assistant coach at the meeting said it appeared the board wasn’t ready to budge on the issue.

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