FLHS Girls’ Sports Teams Surpass Boys’ Teams

Heads were down as aspiring student athletes found out they had been cut when the Francis Lewis Boys’ JV Volleyball team roster was released. Without access to – more often than not – costly outside experience, many were not able to play as they weren’t ready to make the varsity team as a freshman or sophomore.

Compared to the total between the girls’ JV and Varsity volleyball teams, approximately 10 boys were cut from being able to play solely due to the lack of a boys’ JV team. Even more were faced with the complete lack of a boys’ team for some sports that have a girls’ team.

“One of the reasons is Title IX,” Girls’ Table Tennis team Coach Mr. Bucholtz said. “Years ago we had too many boys’ teams; not only in the school but in the city. They were willing to fund a girls’ team when we created it, but a boys’ team wouldn’t happen.”

Despite the existence of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance (like sports), there is an uneven distribution of boys’ and girls’ teams. While Title IX does go both ways, historically its purpose was to create equality for women.

“I think if anything, this school surpasses Title IX,“ AP of Guidance & Athletic Director Ms. Zacco said. “[Title IX] does go both ways, but why is Title IX there? The history of Title IX was because there was an inequality in boys’ and girls’ teams in favor of the boys.”

With Franics Lewis now having 35 teams – with 2 boys’ JV and 3 girls’ JV teams included in the total of 15 boys’ teams and 19 girls’ teams (excluding co-ed), the PSAL is trying to prioritize other schools with less teams before providing us with any more.

“Schools like Francis Lewis would not get a new team because we have about 35 teams,” Ms. Zacco said. “I believe there are schools with no teams or with less than five teams, so before there would be another Francis Lewis or Cardozo or Bayside team they would have to take care of those schools first. It’s very difficult.”

There is also demonstrated interest in participating in teams across several sports at Francis Lewis.  

“There was definitely some interest,” Mr. Bucholtz said. “I wouldn’t say [there was a] overwhelming interest but there are some students who wouldn’t mind a boys table tennis team.”

Certain boys’ teams are still unavailable today, such as JV volleyball, football, golf, and table tennis, even though efforts were made to create them.

“I tried to create the [boys’ golf] team,” Girls’ Golf Coach Mr. Figliozzi said. “We were denied a couple times by the PSAL.” 

Knowing that the teams for certain sports aren’t available in every school, PSAL has started to allow students to play for the teams of other NYC public schools. 

“Now things have changed since this year,” Ms. Zacco said. “[For] the first time, the PSAL’s allowed students to participate in a sport that the school does not have in-house.”

Even with this opportunity to join teams that they originally wouldn’t have access to, students find it is an inconvenience to them.

“It’s not fair,” junior Emily Xu said. “You’re not representing your own school, you’re representing another school.”

Due to the lack of a JV team, which is needed in order to get game time and progress as a player, and the negative perception of playing on a team at another school, many are forced to pay a large amount of money for a private team outside of NYC public schools. 

“I had to pay $3,000 to play for my team,” sophomore Jason Dheng said. “Everyone at my club is very committed to volleyball and they want to genuinely play.”

Not only is playing at another school seen as unfair and an outside club expensive, it also adds an extra burden on student athletes that they would not have if they were able to play at Francis Lewis.

“No, because that’s an [extra] distance that you have to travel everyday,” Xu said. “Some people don’t have time for homework.”

Sophomore Taewo Hahn believes that the lack of a JV team (or even a team at all) significantly impacts a player’s ability to improve.

“They should have a JV program so they would be able to actually play and develop their skills,” Hahn said. “You gotta learn the basics in JV and then you can further develop your skills and get to varsity.”