The Oakland Raiders announced Tuesday night that they had made a $250,000 donation to save Oakland youth sports that were recently eliminated due to budget constraints.
“The prospect of these kids losing their dreams was difficult to hear for everyone in the community,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said, per Raiders.com. “After school athletics are an important part of the high school experience and this donation will keep student-athletes on the playing fields in Oakland.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the district said it needed to balance its budget by trimming $500,000 from the Oakland Athletic League. It then announced the elimination of 10 programs.
Per the Chronicle, the 10 sports were heavily weighted toward the girls side, with 347 girls and only 183 boys losing their respective sports.
“If these figures are correct, (Oakland Unified School District) will be discriminating against girls and young women, in blatant violation of Title IX,” Public Justice chairman Arthur Bryant told The Chronicle last week.
The Raiders announced that they will allocate the funds through the East Bay Community Foundation. (www.ebcf.org) and that the donation will be coordinated with the Oakland Athletic League.
“For decades, the Oakland Raiders have been big brothers to our football players and models for all students to emulate,” OUSD superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said in the Raiders.com statement. “They have been there for us when we were down, and when our students needed someone to look up to. But this donation from the Raiders is like a last-second game-winning touchdown. $250,000 will go a long way to ensuring that our young people can dedicate themselves on the fields and courts, in the pools, and on the mats this year and beyond. There’s no way to properly thank anyone for such a huge donation, so let me just say from all students, staff and families, we thank the Oakland Raiders, and like us, you will always be OUSD.”
Per the Chronicle, eliminated were bowling, boys’ and girls’ golf, boys’ and girls’ tennis, wrestling, swimming, girls’ lacrosse, girls’ badminton, and boys’ volleyball.
Now, with the Raiders’ help, there is hope of a return for at least some of those eliminated sports.