Title IX Sports is a powerful force in today’ssociety. People of all ages, both maleand female watch and participate in various different sports, with participationnumbers increasing.
It would seem typical and fair that participation in any sportone would choose, without the fear of being discriminated based on gender,would be acceptable and encouraged. However, it took until 1972 for Congress topass the Education Amendments of 1972, which included Title IX. Title IX wascreated in an attempt to eliminate discrimination against women at anyinstitution or organization that receives funds from the Federal government. Sinceits introduction in 1972, Title IX has increased the opportunities for women tohave the ability to partake in college sports programs while having a minimalimpact on men’s sports programs.
Title IX states that “Noperson in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded fromparticipation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discriminationunder any educational program or activity receiving Federal financialassistance.” (Title 20 U.S.C.). This law requires that allactivities colleges and universities offer, must be offered without regard tothe gender of the potential participant. It is fair to suggest that sport havelong been dominated by men. Historically men have had a higher interest insports compared to females and there is plenty of data of to support this.
According to the International Olympic Committee, during the 2014 WinterOlympic Games, 59.7% of the participants were male compared to the 40.3% offemales. The International Olympic Committee Executive Board is made up of73.
3% of males and 26.7% of females. The International Federation ExecutiveBoard is made up of staggering 86% of males members and only 14% women. TheCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics,National Health Interview Study reports that 48.4% of 18-24 year old malesengage in the recommended amounts of physical activity compared to 36.8% of females.The overall data, for all ages combined states that 35.
7% of males and 30.4% ofengage in the recommended amounts. Since 1972 the number of female athletes at NCAAschools has increased from less than 30,000 to over 193,000, however women still have over 60,000 fewerparticipation opportunities than their male counterparts.
Despite the meteoricraise in participation and opportunities for females, there is still some wayto go before there is true equality. In order to test for equality andbe able to enforce Title IX, there was three tests created in a bid to measure compliance.The three tests are: 1. Ensuring that opportunities for men and women are substantiallyproportionate to enrollment by gender. 2. Offering sports that fully and effectively satisfies the interests andabilities of female students. 3. Showing a history and continuing practice of expanding the sportsprograms for women.
It is not mandated that schoolshave to meet all three tests, however according to the Education Department,they must meet at least one of the three. These three tests are absolute key tothe success of Title IX and are what complaints and lawsuits are judged on. The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta,Georgia, give an insight to the influence Title IX has had on women’ssports. The United States won a total offorty-four gold medals, nineteen of which were won by female athletes. Female OlympicAthletes such as Amy Van Dyken (Born 1972, swimmer, total of 20 Olympic medals),Lisa Leslie (Born 1972, Basketball, total of 8 Olympic medals), and legendaryUS Women’s soccer National Team player Mia Hamm (Born 1972, soccer, total of 7Olympic medals, two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion) have all directly benefitedfrom Title IX. The opportunities that would have been available for them to getinvolved in their chosen sport was much greater than if they were born a generationearlier. This suggests that thanks to Title IX, they were given the chance tocontinue to develop their talents which helped mold them into incredible athletes.
The success of Title IX can also bemeasured by the increased number of sports programs available for femaleathletes across the country. According to data from the National Federation ofState High School Associations, between 1972 and 2011, the number of girlscompeting in high school sports increased from under 295,000 to nearly 3.2million. And it is not only at the high school level more females are participatingin sports. According to NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report,Student-Athlete Participation – 1981-82 — 2010-11, the number of femaleathletes at NCAA schools has increased from less than 30,000 to over 193,000since 1972.
Despite the increase in female participation,there is still plenty of critics of Title IX. Their argument is that the law isfundamentally unfair and is detrimental to men’s sports. The basis of this complaint is connected tothe first test of compliance with Title IX – “ensuring that opportunitiesfor men and women are substantially proportionate to enrollment by gender.” However,the critics ask the question if it is fair to determine the number of athleticopportunities by enrollment of each gender.
Does this mean that men and womenhave the same interest and desire to participate in sports at the Collegiate level? Many critics say no and according to currentstatistics they are right. Currentstatistics show that 1 in 2 males in high school participate in organized athleticscompared to 1 in 3 females. These statistics suggest that ahigher percentage of males have a desire to play sports compared to females.
In 1995 a landmark case involvingTitle IX at Brown University in Rhode Island, found that the schools was not incompliance with the proportionality test (Cohen v. Brown University, 879 F.Supp. 185 (D.R.I. 1995).) BrownUniversity had an equal number of athletic programs for women as they had men,but there were more male athletes.
Judge Raymond S. Pettine of UnitedStates District Court in Providence, R.I.,ruled in favor of women athletes dueto the fact there were more male athletes than female athletes. Brown University argued that “men andwomen have different levels of athletic interest, so schools cannot hope tohave as many female athletes as males.” They were joined by severalnational educational groups in filing briefs against the ruling.
“‘Judge Pettine’s ruling, if it stands,would force Brown to limit the number of opportunities for male athletes tocompete because existing opportunities for women are going unfilled,’ Brownexecutive vice president Robert Reichley said. ‘That’s a quota system; we don’t believe that’s what Congressintended.'” (The Associated Press). Judge Pettine gave Brown University three different options to correctthis proportionally problem.
He stated, “It may eliminate the athleticprogram altogether, it may elevate or create the requisite number of women’spositions, it may demote or eliminate the requisite number of men’s positionsor it may implement a combination of these remedies.” This ruling has had the impact of requiringcolleges to limit or reduce the number of athletic opportunities for men, andthis is a contributing factor to why Title IX is under fire by critics. This wasn’tthe first time that Brown University has been at the center of a Title IX scandal.In May 2014, Brown University student Lena Sclove, who in August 2013 was rapedand choked by a male friend, said she filed complaints accusing Brown Universityof violating the Title IX gender equity law. And as recent as October 2017, theTitle IX lawyer for a college student who was raped by an American footballplayer from Brown said ‘Your civil rightsdon’t matter at Brown,’ His statement came after a federal court threw out hercase as the victim was not enrolled at Brown but Providence College, thereforeshe cannot bring a Title IX case against the Ivy League school.
Proportionality has also led todiscussions of quotas. The EducationDepartment stated that to be in compliance with Title IX, you only need to meetone of the three tests. In the BrownUniversity case, the court looked at proportionality as the deciding factor inthe ruling, even though Brown had one of the most equal sports programs in the entirecountry. This support on proportionalitysets a quota for the number of women athletes required, or for the maximumnumber of male athletes permitted for the school in order to be in compliancewith the law.
T Another issue that the critics of TitleIX raise is the differential in the size of the various athletic programs,specifically American football. Americanfootball is the largest and the most profitable athletic program in the entirecountry, and it happens to be male only sport. Critics have stated that If football were to be eliminated, every schoolwould be in compliance with Title IX. Americanfootball programs often have up to 125 active players on the sidelinesgames. Compare that with one of the largest women’sathletic programs, lacrosse, which consists of about 50 athletes. This gulf in program size has led to theelimination of some men’s programs by colleges seeking to meet proportionalityrequirements. The New York Timesreported in 2011 that the University of Delaware changed the stats of its men’strack and cross country teams to club status in order to satiety Title IX requirements.Many other institutions across the country have cut male programs and some ofthe other sports to suffer the same fate are men’s wrestling, swimming and gymnastics Criticshave asked for American football to be excluded from Title IX, but proponentsof the law claim that if football programs weren’t wasteful, schools would nothave to eliminate men’s programs.
In reply,critics of the Title XI highlight that that the average profit of a division Ifootball program is over $30 million, and helps fund many of the other athleticprograms that allow women to participate in athletics. This dispute is on going and will likelycontinue the future. In the forty-five years since TitleIX was ratified, it has helped countless women to participate in sports. The number of college women’s sports programshas increased dramatically, as has the percentage of women who participate insports while in high school. Women insports are getting more recognition than ever before.
With that said, themajority of colleges are still in total compliance with the Title IX. This may be because of money or it may bebecause many people believe the method of determining compliance is wrong, butthe fact that women have benefited from Title IX remains undisputed. American footballand basketball will always be staples of college athletic programs because ofthe money they generate for the institution. However, It is the less desirable and profitable men’s sports likewrestling, golf, and swimming that have suffered.
But this suffering is small compared to theoverall state of men’s sports and the dramatic increase in women’s sports. Over the past forty – five years Title IX hasbeen a massive success by increasing opportunities for female athletes tocompete in college, high school and club athletics.