IX AT 50: Doramus-Kinley leveling the playing field in HS football officiating

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 10:53 PM CDT
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June 23, 1972, President Nixon signed Title IX into law, prohibiting sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. Title IX has largely been considered the springboard for collegiate women’s sports to get where they are today — but the fight for equality is far from over. Every Thursday night at 10:00 p.m. leading up to the 50th anniversary of the law’s passing, 13 Sports will honor the women who changed the game for girls’ and women’s sports in Kansas.

“IX at 50: The Trailblazers of Women’s Sports in Kansas”

WICHITA, Kan. (WIBW) - Carmen Doramus-Kinley is at home under the Friday night lights.

“It’s so exhilarating to be out there,” Doramus-Kinley, vice president of the Greater Wichita Officials Association, said.

While she watches action on the field, little eyes in the stands have their sights set on her.

“Just this past weekend, there was a little girl and we were in our stripes and she did a double-take like, ‘Oh my gosh, like that’s a girl,’” she said. “Just knowing that once they see me, or see another female on the field, that there’s something that they can do. I want to do a good job to say you know what, they don’t have to have any of the challenges that we may have had getting to this point.”

Of the 1,148 registered high school football officials in Kansas, just four identify as women — or 0.3%.

“I don’t want to be seen as a female. I just want to be seen as an official,” Doramus-Kinley said. “The officiating community has been really supportive of me. That’s my family. There’s coaches support it, you know, then there’s the other side of it. There may be some folks that they’re just not ready to see a female there on the field. They just don’t understand it.”

Doramus-Kinley puts in the work: watching film, studying the game, attending camps — not just to fit in, but to be the best.

“There’s nothing better than going for your dreams and knowing that we’re paving the way in our fields,” she said. “That there’s nothing that being a female that they can’t do, and that shouldn’t hold them back. Maybe there’ll be a day when there’s no more firsts for females.”

Doramus-Kinley also officiates high school volleyball and basketball. This year, she was hired to officiate football in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.

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