Opportunities to play sports, which provide valuable benefits, are diminished for all students at these schools, but are particularly limited for girls. In fact, when it comes to girls of color and chances to play school sports,2 the reality is bleak: they receive far fewer opportunities—defined as spots on teams— than white girls, white boys, and boys of color.3 It is an inequality that has gone largely undocumented due to limited research. This report uses an innovative research strategy—identifying high schools where the student body is either 90 percent or more white or 10 percent or less white—to show the lack of sports opportunities on the basis of race and gender.
While heavily minority schools4 typically have fewer resources5 and provide fewer spots on teams compared to heavily white schools, they also allocate those fewer spots unequally such that girls of color get less than their fair share. So even though girls overall still receive fewer opportunities to play sports than boys, girls in heavily minority schools are especially shortchanged. In fact, nationwide, 40 percent of heavily minority schools have large “female opportunity gaps,” compared to only 16 percent of heavily white schools (see box on page 2 for explanation of Title IX requirements and what constitutes a large female opportunity gap).
These national inequities persist at the state level. Thirteen states have a substantial number (20 or more) of both heavily minority and heavily white high schools, which allows for a comparison of the relative opportunities