Parents of Ooltewah soccer players want sports treated equally

Parents of the Lady Owls say sports teams should be treated equally.

A decade-old complaint to the Hamilton County School Board is renewed, but their grievances remain the same.

Without a specific field of their own to practice or play soccer on, frustration is rising among parents of the Ooltewah High School Lady Owls.

A group of them addressed the Hamilton County School Board Thursday evening.

"We are truly saddened by the state of affairs that has left our reputation tarnished, when the blame should be laid at the feet of this and the previous administrations," says Brian Volpe.

Volpe says in 2006, a lawsuit was threatened under Title IX., but no action was taken.

Instead, the team was presented with a temporary solution: practicing on a nearby church field.

That was their home field, until the church could no longer accommodate them.

In 2016, under the leadership of a new principal and athletic director, a new plan was presented to the team.

Now, the Lady Owls are practicing on the baseball field and playing their games on the football field.

The problem: their scheduled matches coincide with the painting of the field for the next day's home football game.

The soccer team says they were asked to move their game start time up, so lines could be painted on the field for the next days' game.

But Lady Owls supporters say they're tired of being moved around and want a field of their own.

They say this is the last time they'll approach the board about it.

"We feel it's clear where the burden lies, and we feel no need to address the administration again," says Volpe.

Parents of players say administrators need to create equal opportunities for all of their teams.

"If anything, the girls on this team should be praised for their accomplishments and perseverance through this entire ordeal," he adds.

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