What’s Wrong About the Business Insider Question About Title IX and the NCAA Basketball Tournament

Want to know how screwed up mainstream media thinking over Title IX is these days? Just take a look at a post over at Business Insider by Cork Gaines, who wasted a few pixels on this question:

This year, the NCAA expanded the men’s basketball tournament to 68 teams, from 65. Meanwhile, the women’s tournament still includes a field of 64 teams. With so much riding on NCAA tournament berths, one has to wonder if the inequity violates Title IX.

Rather than answer that silly question directly, I’ll simply ask another: does Mr. Gaines know that there are more women’s basketball teams in the NCAA than there are men’s teams? If you take a look at the latest available data from the 2008-09 season, you’ll find that there were 1,054 women’s teams in the NCAA, but just 1,030 men’s teams.

But the advantage in favor of women doesn’t stop there. There are all sorts of sports, most prominently soccer, where women have far more teams, and the disparity persists when looking at all of the sports in which the NCAA sponsors championships. Again, for the 2008-09 season, there were 3,383 women’s teams in Division I competing in championship sports, while there were only 2,879 men’s teams.

Overall, there were 9,470 women’s teams competing for NCAA championships during the 2008-09 academic year, yet there were only 8,344 men’s teams. A 2009 study that we conducted found that in sports where men and women both compete in Division I, women get the lion’s share of the scholarships and the opportunities to participate.

Don’t believe me? Well, you can check the figures for yourself on pages 65-66 of the latest NCAA participation report.

With all of that data in hand, I have a question for Mr. Gaines: if you think that a mere difference of four teams participating in the NCAA basketball tournament merits investigation for a Title IX complaint, then what do you think about those yawning disparities that I just outlined? If you think about it, you might even come to the conclusion that almost 40 years after the passage of Title IX, that it might be time to reform the law’s enforcement mechanism.

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