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Cross Country 1999

Girls Pole Vault in Texas Fails Again 

from David Butler

The Texas State UIL meeting was on October 17th and I spoke for the second time to  try to convince them to adopt the GIRL'S POLE VAULT to Texas state high  school competition.  My 5 minute presentation included letters from Stacy Dragila and the  Rev. Bob Richards, along with a tear-filled reading of a "vault" poem by one 
of my vaulters, Ally Daum.

The efforts were quite futile and their response disappointing. The next day, the vote was 4-3 not to recommend the GPV for the year 2000. Their reasons:

1. will need to buy more poles. I told them that three of my girls are vaulting on the same pole that my boy freshman were jumping on last season.
2. The Girl's Coaches State Association took a vote and only 40% were in favor of the vault. They suggested that we gain their support.
3. To add the pole vault, we will have to "get rid of" a girl's event to keep the number of events equal with the boys. If we take away the girl's 4x200, then 4 girls cannot run varsity.
4. "There is simply not enough interest" to warrant the addition of the GPV. This is the "catch 22". If they do not adopt it , then coaches can ignore,  deny, or make excuses why their girls should not be allowed to practice or 
compete. However, they do say that girls can vault in practice or in meets up to or including the district championship. If there is no competition for girls, then they can jump against the boys. I asked if a letter could be sent  to all AD's to let the coaches know that GIRLS CAN PRACTICE AND COMPETE!!!!!!!!!!!!! They replied that "we have done all that we can do at this point".
5. One comment was made, but no one would tell me who made it......"Let's just get rid of the boys pole vault and be done with it."

It is clear to me now that the UIL will do nothing to bring this to reality. The Superintendents of the Texas school districts hold the power of voting whether to bring the GPV to high school competition or not. There are a lot of 
road blocks that will make this fight go on for years..........the ignorant coaches, the U.I.L., and the ability of these groups to quietly deny the girls the opportunity to vault.........I feel the only way is to simply force them by legal means to court.  

I plan to continue this fight and to press for my girls to compete in as many meets as possible this coming season. We have four meets right now that will have the vault. I will be in contact with the Women's Sports Foundation and the "Office For Civil Rights" to give us some recommendations to get this under way next year.  

Coaches Dorothy Doolittle of Elgin, Joe Hester of Orangefield, and Brian Elmore of Austin were present at the UIL meeting to show their support.  Much thanks goes out to everyone who wrote letters, emails, and phone calls of encouragement.............Thanks to Jan Johnson, Bob Richards, Stacy Dragila, Doug Sparks, John Dye, and many others!

Most of all, I must thank my girls...........they have the drive, the desire, the passion that makes a coach proud and motivated to continue this dream. I have seen them do things that I have only seen a few of my boys do........jump in head winds, get on big sticks with no fear, and do the "little things away from practice" that will make them champions. Their goal: the Texas state record of 10'5.5" and perhaps a college scholarship.....................Talk to you all soon....Thanks again,

David Butler
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P.S. Read Ally's "Ode To the Vault" on the bulletin board of Vaultworld.

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