Correcting Common Title IX Fallacies
Yesterday we tuned into the National Women’s Law Center’s (NWLC) webinar, “Rally for Girls’ Sports: A Guide To Title IX for Parents, Coaches, and School Officials.” Unfortunately for those of us tuning in, we heard the same incorrect statements on how Title IX is currently applied to high school and college sports.
Two of the major themes that were discussed included:
*There is nothing in Title IX that requires or encourages cutting opportunities.
*Booster clubs, despite the fact that outside, private and volunteer funds provide amenities for the teams they support, must provide equal benefits and services across the board — no exception.
Here’s our response:
*Many nations across the country have had to cut popular, successful men’s teams in order to comply with Title IX:
We could spend several pages pointing to examples of this. But for the sake of brevity here are just a few of the numerous examples.
- In 2007, James Madison University famously cut seven men’s teams and three women’s teams. At the time, David Bourne, JMU’s athletics director, bluntly attributed cuts to Title IX, and not to attempt to save money. He said, “If this was solely for financial purposes, we would not have done it.”
- Rutgers University is another classic example. In 2006, it cut five men’s teams and one women’s team to properly adhere to Title IX. These programs, as it so happens, had historically proven to be a fertile producer of Olympic athletes and Academic All-Americas. Again, at the time, Rutgers athletic director Robert E. Mulcahy said the painful cuts were made to bring athletic participation numbers along gender lines closer to the proportionality of males and females in the student population. The hard truth, he said, was abiding by Title IX’s strict gender quotas “means almost all the cuts have to be in men’s programs.”
- And, at the University of Delware, the athletics department changed men’s cross country and outdoor track from varsity to club status. Why? According to the University website, “no realistic alternative was identified. With a roster of 38 male student athletes, these two men’s sports programs must be considered when evaluating the University’s capacity for continued Title IX compliance.”
*Gender quota champions like the NWLC fail to recognize that forced pooling of funds from booster clubs and mandating the school “figure out” how to match booster club funds to ensure equality simply doesn’t work with economic reality. What it really means is parents are now expected to pay not just for their own kids after-school activities, but the extracurricular activities of all students. Many parents might not be willing or able to meet that mandate, and as a result private donations across the board go down harming children of both genders.
Title IX was originally intended to prevent gender based discrimination, not to create an unfair playing field for one side or the other. It’s time to return to the original spirit of the law.