The MIAA Swimming Committee had a meeting on Thursday morning to discuss the hot-button issue of boys competing on girls’ swim teams, and what to do about the fact that a boy set a Regional Meet record in the 50 free earlier this year in the state’s fall championship season.
The controversy swirls around the long-held interpretation in the state of Massachusetts that if a sport is only offered for one gender, then the other gender must be allowed to participate. The initial goal of this was surely to force boys’-only sports (like football and baseball) to allow girls onto the team, but as of late there’s been a sweeping movement to the opposite – boys have been joining girls’ teams.
One of the big culprits is field hockey, that is only offered for girls. It is becoming a growing problem for swimming too, though, as was evidenced by this year’s results.
The more on-point issue is what to do with the record of Norwood High School’s Will Higgins’ Girls’ South Swimming Sectional record in the 50 free, that broke a 26-year old mark held by Cynthia Kanogs. The MIAA Committee was able to side-step that issue by declaring that the MIAA does not, nor has it ever, maintained state or regional meet records. Those records are maintained by the directors of those meets.
On the broader issue of cross-gender, the committee didn’t make any firm decisions, but did produce a subcommittee to examine the issue further. This is not a new issue for the committee, but the last time it came up they pledged to monitor the situation. The occurances of this year, and specifically the media attention it has gathered, means that the monitoring has likely progressed into needing a solution.