MIAA Asking Student-Athletes, Coaches To Sign Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Pledge

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/12/20/miaa-forcing-student-athletes-coaches-to-sign-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-pledge/

Are you committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion?

How about when that inclusion includes biologically male transgender athletes playing girls’ sports?

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association asked student-athletes and coaches this winter to sign a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Pledge and take an implicit bias training course from the National Federation of State High School Associations.

The MIAA, as the organization is commonly known, governs interscholastic sports for the vast majority of public and private schools in Massachusetts.

The pledge includes a promise to support “the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Sportsmanship and Game Officials Committees’ policy/programs within the MIAA” — which include programs promoting what the organization calls “Gender equity” and “Inclusion of LGBTQ students, coaches and administrators.”

Students in the pledge promise to do the following:


1. Help create and foster a safe environment within the school community, which includes the responsible use of social media.

2. Consistently model respect and tolerance by setting an example of good sportsmanship and positive behavior, including language (body and spoken), gestures, signs, and overtures.

3. Not enable my fellow student-athletes who use abusive language, signs, gestures, or overtures. I will not cover up for them or lie for them if any rules are broken.

4. Hold myself, my fellow student-athletes, and our community responsible and accountable for their actions.

5. Seek information and assistance in dealing with my own or my fellow student athlete’s negative behaviors, problems, or concerns.

6. Be open and honest with my coach and other school personnel when the best interest of myself, my fellow student-athletes, and my school are being jeopardized.

7. Thrive to create a school without hate.

8. Support the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Sportsmanship and Game Officials Committees’ policy/programs within the MIAA, _____________________________ (Insert High School), and all school functions.


“Inclusion” as defined by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association includes letting students who identify as transgender compete on teams meant for the opposite sex.

Here is what the MIAA’s web site lists as its “Major DEI Programs”:


Racial and ethnic diversity;

Gender equity

Inclusion of LGBTQ students, coaches and administrators;

and Inclusion of students, coaches and administrators who have disabilities


Additionally, the association’s gender identity policy states that student-athletes must have “equal opportunities to participate in MIAA athletic programs consistent with their gender identity.” It notes that this gender identity may differ from the one listed on the student-athlete’s birth certificate.

Massachusetts Family Institute president Andrew Beckwith told NewBostonPost that he thinks the pledge is unconstitutional He said his organization plans to sue if an institution tries to block access to school sports programs for not signing the pledge.

“The pledge is basically writing a blank check for whatever is in the training and whatever else the diversity czars want to force on people,” Beckwith told NewBostonPost in a telephone interview last week. “It’s compelled speech. It’s a violation of student rights. You can’t be compelled to sign it, just like you can’t be forced to stand up and put your hand over your heart for the Pledge of Allegiance every day at school. It’s the same thing. No student in Massachusetts should have to sign it, and we’ll take the MIAA to court if they try to enforce it.”

A NewBostonPost reporter last week took implicit bias training offered online by the National Federation of State High Associations.

The training tells students that “Overt sexism and racism do still exist and explicit biases are important.” It also tells them that more than 90 percent of African-Americans feel that they face discrimination and half of them say it’s due to “prejudice of individual people.”

It also tells students that “people have biases towards group such as:  race/ethnicity, gender, disability, sexuality” — and that most white people are racist. It cites something called Project Implicit that says that 70 percent of white participants have a preference for white people; it doesn’t say what the preference rate for other races is for their own race.

The pledge does not state what the consequences are for not signing the pledge.

Introducing the new pledge comes after a few high school sports-related scandals in the state.

It was revealed last month that members of the 2019-2020 Danvers High School boys’ hockey team engaged in hazing incidents involving racial abuse, anti-homosexual language, and violent conduct. A month prior, members of the Cathedral High School football team (of Boston) alleged that members of the St. John Paul II School football team (of Hyannis) used racial slurs against them during a game. This past spring, the Duxbury High School football team was caught using anti-Semitic  language in its play calls; head coach Dave Maimaron was fired as a result.

Following the news about the Danvers incident, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s new executive director, Bob Baldwin, said it was time for the MIAA to take further action to prevent these types of incidents from happening in the future.

“I know this is a real bold statement, but we need to intervene immediately,” Baldwin said, according to The Boston Globe. “I’ve lived by a quote someone taught me:  ‘You can’t wait another day in the life of a child.’ ”

The MIAA sent NewBostonPost a statement on the pledge and implicit bias training on Monday, December 20:


The MIAA Board of Directors unanimously approved the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Discriminatory Incident Report Policies and Procedures on October 27, 2021. This pilot program, which was implemented for the 2021-22 winter season includes student-athletes, coaches and administrators viewing the free NFHS Implicit Bias on-line course and signing a MIAA DEI pledge which has student-athletes abide by all guidelines regarding the use or exhibition of discriminatory practices.  The intent of this program is for student-athletes, coaches and administrators to gain a better understanding of actions, language and behavior which can be interpreted as discriminatory in nature and to confirm their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.  The Board’s approval of this pilot program demonstrates a request for MIAA member schools to support the work of the joint MIAA and MSAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and an expectation to follow through and oversee the approved guidelines. 


MIAA communications director Tara Bennett said there are no consequences from the organization (which is headquartered in Franklin, Massachusetts) for student-athletes who don’t sign the pledge, answering a question from NewBostonPost.

“Are there consequences?” Bennett wrote in an email message. “As a pilot program the expectation is to have member schools work with their student-athletes, teams and administrators to complete the course and pledge. There is no ‘consequence’ from the Franklin office if a student-athlete refuses to sign during the pilot program. However, schools may have their own, more stringent standards. Again, the Board unanimously approved implementation of this program.”

A spokesman for the National Federation of State High School Associations could not be reached for comment over the weekend or on Monday this week.

The pledge the MIAA requires student-athletes to sign is available below:

MIAA Pledge


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