Saturday June 30, 2012

The laudable effort in the state and nation to make sure that girls have the same opportunity as boys to participate in school sports has in this bid for fairness created some awkward situations, one of which Berkshire County is confronting. Just as, according to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association handbook, girls may play on a boys' team if that sport is not offered in the school for girls, boys may play on a girls' team if that sport is not offered for boys, and the rule is shaking up the girls' volleyball league.

Karen West has resigned as Wahconah volleyball coach (Eagle, June 29) because boys have expressed interest in coming out for the all-girl squad and it is her desire to coach only girls. The boys would be following the lead of Mount Greylock's Chad Bolotin, who although confined to playing the back line by MIAA rules, gave his team an undeniable advantage.

We respect Ms. West's decision, although it deprives the Warriors of a capable and experienced coach. However, if the MIAA didn't apply its rules equally to boys and girls it would open itself up to legal action. Ideally, enough boys will become interested in playing volleyball that a boys league can be formed. Until that day comes, however, boys must be allowed to play volleyball on the girls teams with the restrictions the MIAA has applied to attempt to level the playing field.