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Longview ISD athletic director defends equity among sports

By Christina Lane
Oct. 9, 2012 at 10 p.m.

Responding to allegations of inequities among Longview High School sports programs by a former soccer coach, LISD Athletic Director John King on Tuesday said the district has measures to ensure there is equity among all sports.

"I think you need to bloom where you're planted. I think you need to think about your kids," King said. "We're in a coaching position - not a get-rich profession. I think some people lose sight of that."

Former Lady Lobos soccer coach Chris Yoder resigned his coaching position in August while retaining his position teaching career and technical education classes at Longview High School.

Yoder said Monday that he resigned because the district did not compensate his "coaching position on a level equal to other coaches on staff." Yoder, who addressed the school board Monday night, alleged there are disparities within the Longview ISD sports program that he believes are not in "complete compliance" with Title IX.

Title IX was established in 1972 to prevent gender discrimination in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.

King said Yoder was paid more than the head boys soccer coach - "the sport that was equivalent to his." Yoder received a $5,000 stipend as the girls soccer coach and he was paid for 15 additional days - as are all coaches - so he received a total coaching stipend of $7,650 in addition to his teaching salary of $45,180.

Yoder was also paid more than the boys and girls golf coaches, the cross country/track coach, and the swimming coach, according to information King provided. He was paid the same as the baseball, softball and tennis coaches.

King said salaries are based on years of experience combined with number of days in a coaching contract. For example, King said, a coach with less than 10 years experience is paid $150 per day. A coach with 10-15 years of experience receives $175 per day, and a coach with more than 15 years experience gets $200 per day. The cap is set at $200 per day, King said. The system "makes everything equitable," he said.

Some coaches receive 12-month contracts, while others get 10-month contracts with fewer days. For example, volleyball and football, which start practices in the summer, would have a 12-month contract, whereas coaches whose sport occurs in the middle of the year, such as soccer, would get a 10-month contract.

King said Yoder asked for a raise based on his team's performance. When things were more financially sound, the district had previously been able to give Yoder a raise, King said. However, Longview ISD implemented a district-wide pay freeze two years ago, and King said he could not give Yoder a raise this year. Additionally, University Interscholastic League rules prohibit making it a "financial interest of a coach to win a game," according to the UIL.

Additionally, Yoder said he, the baseball coach, the boys soccer coach and the tennis coach each received one conference period while all other head coaches and some assistant coaches received at least two conference periods. Within two days of Yoder's coaching resignation, the baseball coach, the boys soccer coach and the tennis coach received an additional conference period, Yoder said.

"I told every one of them I was going to try to help the situation, but I was not going to help one of them and not all of them," King said. "What's good for one is good for all."

The district was in the process of reviewing conference periods before Yoder's resignation, King said. He explained the number of conference periods a teacher receives is based upon whether he or she teaches a core or elective class. Core subject teachers got two conference periods, while elective teachers - such as Yoder - got one conference period, King said.

When Yoder approached King on Aug. 22 with his resignation, King said he told Yoder he was trying to fix the situation regarding conference periods.

"I didn't want him to do something foolish," King said.

However, Yoder resigned.

"The LHS administration was waiting to find out how many sections of each subject needed to be taught," King said. "Mr. (James) Brewer had told all the coaches mentioned that he would look into it before the start of school. He would give them another conference if he could because he understood the burden they had. They all received an additional conference period - and not because of Yoder's resignation."

Yoder noted that NFL player Trent Williams, a former Lobo, had donated at least $100,000 to the football program for lockers and said Title IX calls for an equitable amount of money to be dispersed among other sports, specifically female sports.

King and Longview ISD spokesman Adam Holland said Yoder misinterpreted Title IX policy. Holland said anyone can donate and earmark money for what they want. The district does not have to provide a matching amount.

When Longview ISD was renovating its athletic facilities, each coach was allowed to give input on how their area would look. King said the district did not have the money to afford some of the renovations he wanted for the football program, so he sought outside donations and shifted his money from the district to renovating the turf room, which is used by every sport as well as ROTC, band, Viewettes and other groups. Williams provided the donation to the booster club for the lockers, he said.

"We're fair and square across the board - athletics and everything else," Holland said.



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