Deciphering the Title IX Double-Talk

The recent double-talk from Myles Brand and the NCAA is so zany and contradictory we thought it might be a good time to have a quick reality check.

First, to recap, Brand recently told USA Today: “My expectation is that over the next year or two we are going to see more cuts of men’s teams and so I am trying, frankly, to pre-empt the argument against Title IX, an unfair argument, I believe, and dissuade universities from going public with this approach.”

Okay, so Brand is instructing his member schools not to cite Title IX as a reason when they have to cut men’s teams. That’s patently clear.

Many of the proportionality advocates think Brand’s approach is terrific.Ann Bartow at the Feminist Law Professors Blog wrote: “The NCAA tries to prevent men from blaming Title IX for cuts to sports that are actually recession related. And I’d bet most readers join me in hoping this works!” [Exclamation hers.]

Erin Buzuvis at the Title IX Blog and Megan Hueter at Because I Played Sports both weighed in with similar applause.

So, an obvious question arises: Is or is not Title IX a factor when shrinking budgets force schools to cut teams?

Well, at College Sports Council, we’d say of course it is. The teams getting cut are men’s teams, the administrators making the cuts are acknowledging that — because the three-part test makes it impossible for them to cut women’s teams.

But get this — Myles Brand apparently agrees! Here’s what he said when USA TODAY confronted him with the three-part compliance requirements. “Title IX is a factor because fairness is a factor.”

And look — Erin Buzuvis agrees too! She wrote, “no one is denying that Title IX operates once the decision to make cuts has been made. The regulations appropriately and fairly operate to protect whichever sex has proportionately fewer opportunities to begin with (usually women) from taking the hit.”

So, that’s settled too — Title IX IS indeed a factor in those circumstances.

Look, Brand may think the Title IX pressure is delightful. Erin Buzuvis may think it’s the epitome of justice. At CSC we think it’s appalling. But these are semantic differences — we are characterizing the same situation with either praise or pejoratives.

The facts that remain are 1) Title IX is a factor in cuts that are happening to men’s teams; 2) Brand wants to muzzle his own members and prevent them from speaking that plain truth, and; 3) Some notable Title IX bloggers think what Brand is doing is not just okay but a positive thing.

What Brand and his supporters are doing is intellectual dishonesty of the most galling sort. Not only is their position manifestly self-contradictory but they want to silence anyone who points that out or disagrees with them.

Here’s the motto across the masthead at Feminist Law Professors: “When we speak we are afraid our word will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”

The motto at Indiana University, where Brand was formerly the president, is: “Lux et Veritas” — Light and Truth.

What do you know — we agree on that too! I guess we just take those sentiments a little more seriously than others do.

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