LAT Favors Fluff Over Fact

Chris Erskine’s Los Angeles Times column, “Title IX has benefited anyone who loves sports,” is the latest contribution to the ever-growing nonsensical and biased coverage of Title IX’s 40th anniversary. His baseless and garbled views belittle the thousands of boys who lost athletic opportunities and ignore the large contingent of reform supporters trying to halt Title IX regulations from further devastating college (and soon high school) sports.

Consider his bizarre, illogical assertion that “You can’t love kids and not love Title IX.” Parents whose sons were deprived  of team spots and scholarships by Title IX rules like proportionality would surely disagree. As would some coaches who were forced to disband their players — Olympic athletics, All-Americans and distinguished students— only to realize that they were sacrificed to create a number of new women’s teams. Adults who perceive Title IX less favorably don’t hate kids; quite the opposite is true. They empathize with their sons, nephews, and grandsons who unduly suffer from reverse gender discrimination caused by skewed Title IX implementation — and they want to do something about it. But Erskine’s emotional appeal — and similar ones issued by other journalists — won’t improve this grave reality.

He also believes, “You can’t watch Hope Solo and not think back to a generation ago, when she might’ve had to settle for cheer captain.” He glosses over the fact that soccer, Solo’s sport, didn’t thrive in the United States until the 1960s and 1970s, when grassroots organizations like the California-based American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) galvanized both boys and girls. Moreover, he wrongly implies that women were barred from sports until Title IX’s passage. They first played tennis at Wimbledon in 1884. Senda Berenson, considered the “Mother of Women’s Basketball,” introduced the sport to Smith College in 1892, which led to the growth of tournaments around the country. The Women’s International Bowling Congress formed in 1916. Women even participated in the Olympics since 1900, medaling in tennis, golf, and croquet, and as time passed (but still before Title IX) competed in archery, gymnastics, swimming and diving, track and field, field hockey, equestrian, volleyball, rowing, speed skating, basketball — and more. Cultural shifts were taking place well before Congress implemented the law — but Erskine won’t tell you that.

He says that Title IX “has been wonderful for everyone.” But it hasn’t, and he should know better than to use fluff and rhetoric while talking about a controversial subject that is hardly entertaining.

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