Title IX – Sports

The interpretation of Title IX in sports and education is surrounded by controversy. Title IX was designed with the intention of ensuring equality in sports between men and women. While it seems apparent that some sort of equalizing mechanism is necessary, there has been quite a bit of controversy in education regarding the interpretation of Title IX. Sports in particular contain many examples where Title IX has led to the end of college sports teams – all in a misconstrued attempt of equalizing sports for both sexes.

Rod Paige, the Education Secretary, established the Commission on Opportunity in athletics in mid 2002. COA as the commission is abbreviated is tasked with ensuring fairness for all athletes in college by finding ways of better enforcement and increased opportunities for the beneficiaries. COA’s main purpose was to gather information, have it analyzed and get input from the public with the aim of making the application of Federal Standards used in ensuring that men and women, Boys together with girls have equal opportunity and their involvement in athletics.

In the COA’s management was Cynthia Cooper together with Ted Leland who served with Rod Paige as co-chairs. Cynthia, a former player with the Houston Comets, coached WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and was a member of the women’s basketball team in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics. Leland is Stanford University’s athletics director.

COA held 4 meeting in town halls in San Diego, Atlanta, Colorado Springs and Chicago. The aim of these meetings was to give the public a chance to put across their comments on Title IX at that time, in the past and the future. The beginning of 2003 saw the commission give its final report. In the report were 23 recommendations to the Education Secretary. Many of the recommendations were unanimous but the controversial ones saw an 8-5 vote pass them. The controversial votes were dealing with the compliance of athletes with no scholarship to 1st prong test together with the allowance of interest surveys for 3rd prong test compliance determination. Rod Paige however, declared that he would only consider the votes that were unanimously passed. These required the Education Department to:

* Show its continued and unwavering support to ensure that boys and girls, women plus men have equal opportunity.
* Ensure uniform enforcement of the statute across the US.
* Ensure that each of the 3 tests that governed compliance to the statute had equal weighting.
* Make sure that schools appreciate that the Education Department was not for the idea of cutting teams so as to adhere to the statute (Title IX, 2008).

Patsy T. Mink principally authored the education act that guarantees all people equal opportunity to education. The Act which was formulated in 1972 was formerly known as the Title IX of the Education Amendments and it generally states that nobody should be prevented from enjoying the benefits of a given education program or a given activity that has financial assistance from the Federal government based on their sex. Title IX greatest impact has been on athletics at both high school and college level although the original statute did not refer to athletics. The statute has a broad coverage from educational activities, complaints because of discrimination in math, science education, other academic life aspects for instance ability to use dormitory and other health care facilities. The same state is applicable to activities like cheer leaders, clubs and school bands, which are non-sport activities. The statute’s requirements however exempt sororities together with social fraternities like Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Boys State together with Girls State, which are specific to gender (Title IX, 2008).

The administration under Jimmy Carter came up with an interpretation of the statute when the Health, Education and Welfare Department came up with a “3 prong test” of compliance for institutions in the late 70’s. The three prongs are as shown below:

* 1st prong-that athletic opportunities provided be in proportion to the number of students enrolled or
* 2nd prong- exhibit increased athletic opportunities for the sex that is under represented or
* 3rd prong- the underrepresented sex interest together with ability should be accommodated wholly and effectively.
To demonstrate adherence to Title IX any institution that is a beneficiary of federal funds should show compliance with any of the three prongs (Title IX, 2008).

The Federal Government has issued new guidelines regarding the implementation of Title IX. Title IX has made it possible for increased women participation in sports but the new guidelines have allowed schools to reduce athletic opportunities if they find out from Internet surveys that the students are uninterested.

However, critics have been quick to point out that these new guidelines have significantly weakened the law that has been in place for the last 33 years, which had outlawed discrimination based on sex in schools that were recipients of federal funds.

According to the new guidelines, the Education Department has allowed schools to show that they are offering opportunities by asking the students to fill a form over the Internet to show their interest in sports. The schools are free to notify the students of a survey through e-mail. In the event that the surveys get few responses, the schools can still go a head and use the limited responses to argue against the formation of new teams in a given sport of the gender that is not properly represented. On its part the Department of Education agreed to the fact that response level may be low but continued to state that that will be interpreted as disinterest by the gender in question.

Chaundry voiced concern saying students may actually fail to open such an e-mail. However, not everybody was against the new guidelines as the director of the College Sports Council, Eric Pearson stated that the new guidelines were a good alternative to the gender quota. He continued to add that it would be easier for colleges together with schools to argue their case in court if they have fewer women in a given athletic program compared to the total number of students in the school or college. The rule has had controversies especially in some schools where less practiced men’s sports say, wrestling, had to be scrapped off to balance out the number of women and men participating in athletics considering the total number of students in the school or college.

Well, many people will argue that Title IX has been good for women’s sports. Largely that is true but what has been the price for that? The law was based on the premise that universities that received federal funding could not use sex as means of discrimination. However, by trying to solve the problem of fewer women involvement in sports, Title IX has actually discriminated against men! This topic has been discussed a number of times before: The Health, Education and Welfare Department made it a requirement for schools to ensure that sports selection together with the level of competition accommodated the abilities and interests of both sexes.

This most probably is not a surprise; men show greater interest in sports than women similar to the way boys show less interest in the drill team than girls do. Some colleges have had a hard time trying to find enough women to be involved in sports. To show this more clearly, a wrestling coach explained it this way, with 1000 boys interested in a given sport and 100 girls interested in the same sport, you will end up with 100 boys together with 100 girls getting the opportunity. This raises many questions. This issue of proportionality is so strict that even without a scholarship playing for a given team is impossible because the numbers will not even out.

The Civil Rights Office put this strictness in proportionality in place in 1979. The original law however, clearly states that Title IX should not be taken to mean that one gender should be discriminated against in the event that there is an imbalance in the number of people from the two sexes participating in a given sport. Therefore, even with the benefits that the law has brought to the sporting arena it has led to discrimination against men especially in commonly known (erroneously) as minor sports.

The past couple of years have seen significant advances in gender and racial equality. Pay differentials between members of various races has been under study for many years. Gender discrimination and low minority representation in head coaching positions under the auspices of Title IX has been a matter of great discussion. This website would like to provide you with summaries of abstracts, examinations of academic literature and top media articles, etc showing the disintegration of coaches together with players in top professional sports leagues due to racism.

Many people continue to wonder whether the football in this country is institutionally racist, as the generations of the past had to contend with racism in the NFL. Out of the two hundred and seventy six coaching and management positions in professional football only a paltry six people are black. About twenty-two percent players are African American, but only two percent are in management. The good part however is that the management has recognized that there is actually a problem that needs their attention. The premier league, Football Association, League Manager’s Association together with the Football League have come together with PFA. They agree that there is an urgent need to find any aspects of the selection criteria that may be discriminating against blacks so that in future positions are filled on merit only.

It is well known that Title IX is aimed at ensuring equality of women athletes with their male counterparts in the various sports. However, there is more than just the sports; there is drama, other extra curricular activities, band etc.

Thus for the athletic programs, these are the requirements of Title IX:

* Women and men should have similar opportunities in sports
* Women should receive funding/scholarship that is equivalent or in line with their participation- this can be found in the W omen’s Sports Foundation.
* Women should get similar benefits to men. These include coaching, practice facilities, travel and allowance, etc.

Title IX is was designed to promote equality in sports between men and women. It is helpful to have some sort of equalizing force in place; however, there are many problems with how courts interpret Title IX. Title IX has created quite a bit of controversy in education, and particularly in sports. There are many instances where Title IX has led to the end of certain college sports teams. It is time to correct the loopholes and illogical fractions of Title IX.