By Jan Harlan
Linda Williams, an 18-year-old Wheatley
High School senior, filed suit against the
Universal Intrascholastic League (UTL)
and the Houstor Independent School
District (HISD) because she was not allowed to play on the boy's varsity baseball team.
But she hopes to be back in the ball-
"Toward the end of February our baseball coach, Eugene Jones, told me I
couldn't play ball or even practice with
the boys after March 1," Linda said.
She had previously been told she would
be allowed to work out and practice with
the varsity team until March 23 in accordance with an agreement with the UIL director. That agreement was made in early
February, Linda said.
"1 suppose they cut my time short because March 1 marks the official beginning
of our season and I'm not allowed to participate in any competition," Linda said.
Quinton Smith, one of Linda's attorneys, said Linda is an outstanding athlete.
"Linda has the capacity to make the guys
play their best," he said. "She has a natural grace and strength for all kinds of
sports. She's on the girls' basketball varsity team and has lettered in three sports,"
What is in question is compliance with
Title IX of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act passed in 1972. Title IX
bans all sex discrimination by educational
institutions receiving federal money. That
includes virtually every facility from kindergartens to colleges.
UIL and HISD are in violation of Title
IX regulations requiring equal sports opportunities for boys and girls, Smith said.
'The conflict is not only applicable to
The conflict is not only applicable to
The conflict is not only applicable to
Title IX. It applies to violations of the
13th, 14th and 15th amendments of the
United States Constitution, Smith said.
Linda said she had always played baseball with the boys as a child and now at
Wheatley the boys ask when she can play
"I just tell them I don't know. I'm never told much of anything." Linda feels her
only recourse is to sit back and wait. She
is aware this controversy could eventually
change the entire athletic program in high
schools throughout Texas.
"I really want to see a change. At first
I didn't feel discriminated against but now
I see it really is an unfair situation," Linda
said. "If the provisions of Title IX have
been made they should be enforced,"
"It seems the number one concern for
women in sports is that such rough activity
will somehow damage their reproductive
organs," according to the president of the
Coach's league in Chicago, Bonnie Beach.
"Women, however, are built better for
this kind of activity than men because of
their pelvic structure," Beach said. "The
pelvic structure provides sturdy protection. Males, however, are much more vulnerable in this area," Beach said.
The coaching executive said the only
difference between males and females in
sports is that males dissipate heat more
quickly. Otherwise, Beach claims, they
are equally competent.
"I'm optimistic though," Smith said.
"At this point it is imperative we meet
with the district executive committee
which is composed of principals from
HISD 4-A schools. The principal of
Wheatley, A. C. Herald, will have to initiate this action," Smith said. "If the
majority votes for her to play, then we'll
see Linda play varsity ball this Spring. If
there is a disagreement, we'll write the
state district committee," Smith said.
"Sports is a form of self-expression for
Linda and I feel if she is shut off in this
area she will suffer irreparable damage,"
Linda is planning to attend Sam Houston State University as a physical education major. :
But what about professional athletics?
"I don't know of any opportunities
for women in the field of baseball in the
United States," Linda said. 'They have a
few teams in Europe, though. I guess I'd
like to have the opportunity to make that
kind of living in sports. But first I have to
tackle high school baseball-it's important
Texas says aye to the ERA
6th ANNIVERSARY ERA PARTY
Sponsored by Women Across Texas
, in support of
PRICE DANIEL, JR.
candidate for attorney general
Price Daniel, Jr.'s record of public service as state representative,
Speaker of the House and President of the Constitutional Convention
reflects a commitment to equal rights. He voted for passage of the state
and federal equal rights amendment and opposed subsequent efforts to
rescind. He supports a state civil rights act and has proposed setting up
a special task force within the Attorney General's office to insure that
state laws are in compliance with the equal rights amendment to the
Women across Texas will demonstrate their unified support for Price
Daniel, Jr. in Houston on March 31. You can be an important part of
this effort by sending a sponsor check for $15 to Price Daniel, Jr.
Campaign, attention, Brenda Loudermilk, 4600 Main, Second Floor,
Houston 77002. Or you may contact a member of the planning committee in your city.
March 31, 1978
Location to be announced
7 p.m. - 11 p.m.