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A Virginia state commission has issued a call for overhauling interscholastic athletics in the state, including changes at the middle and secondary school levels.

In its report, the Governor's Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics calls for equitable pay and support for women coaches and athletic programs for women and girls at all levels. It declares that "the secondary schools, colleges, and universities of Virginia have an obligation to provide equal access to athletic opportunities for women and men.''

The panel also recommends that the state board of education establish minimum academic standards for participation in extracurricular activities, that local school boards, superintendents, and principals take firmer control over school athletic programs, and that the state education department mandate annual in-service training for school coaches.

In addition, the commission recommended that each school conduct a thorough audit of its athletic-booster organizations each year.

The commission was formed last June in response to a report by the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics calling for major reform of student athletics nationwide.

The Virginia panel endorsed many of the Knight report's recommendations for collegiate athletics, particularly one calling for control of programs by college and university presidents rather than boards of trustees.

The panel also was charged with making recommendations to bring the state into full compliance with Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

Gov. L. Douglas Wilder endorsed the panel's findings this month, and said its recommendations, particularly those addressing issues at the precollege level, make Virginia a pioneer in the realm of athletics reform.

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