Title IX and Whistleblower Protection

Earlier today over at Inside Higher Education, David Moltz took a look at a law review article by Erin Buzuvis (co-editor of the Title IX Blog) on the implications of the Supreme Court decision in Jackson vs. Birmingham Board of Education. For the College Sports Council, it’s all about whistleblower protection:

Even some of those on the other side of the Title IX debate, who argue that the law has had dire consequences for male sports and who push for its reform, believe that the retaliation defenses established by the Jackson case have merit. In this case, here is a rare point of agreement among those on both sides of the issue.

Eric Pearson, chairman of the College Sports Council, a group that advocates for Title IX reform, said he believes “whistleblower protection is a good thing,” but acknowledges that it has not yet been broadly used by those who feel they have been retaliated against for making public criticism of Title IX, primarily male coaches of men’s sports.

“Coaches are very fearful of speaking out for fear of their administration,” Pearson said. “Whoever it protects, it’s a good thing. Whistleblower protection regarding Title IX complaints has no impact on men’s sports, but it could have an impact in the long run if a male coach feels that they were retaliated against based on their push for Title IX reform — for instance, for a coach who writes an op-ed or something. That’s how we feel. It’s a positive. This is not an area of conflict for us regarding Title IX. If someone feels they’ve been discriminated against, they should feel they have a right to speak out.”

I’m sure some folks on the other side of the issue of reforming Title IX enforcement might feel differently about Pearson’s contention, but given the venom we saw spewed in Wendy Parker’s direction recently, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

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