Straying from the Purpose of Title IX

Another brave voice speaks up on the various ways dubious Title IX regulations have manifested themselves in athletics.

In the Anchorage Daily News, Martin Byrne provides a sober analysis of men’s cuts, distortions to collegiate athletics and media bias.

An excerpt (read the whole commentary here):

What SI, ESPN, and ADN consistently fail to mention is that Title IX, far from “leveling the playing field,” as its proponents like to claim, has developed into a federally mandated form of reverse discrimination. While Title IX was a noble and much-needed law when it was passed, it eventually became an excuse for athletic directors to cut costs by eliminating non-revenue producing men’s sports. Non-mainstream sports like wrestling, swimming, and cross country have been decimated in the past few decades, and it has all been supported and incentivized by Title IX.

Making matters worse, Vice President Joe Biden recently announced that colleges will be required to follow stricter measures to prove that they are complying with Title IX. Biden’s announcement is an unfortunate step backward in the challenge to find legitimate equality. The new measure rolls back reforms that had allowed universities to perform the seemingly pragmatic step of surveying its student body to determine the level of interest in athletics before establishing the exact proportion of athletes that should be female. This forced rigidity rather than encouraging colleges to create more opportunities for aspiring athletes, in fact forces them to take ever- more dire actions to ensure their compliance with the Title IX quota system. And to be sure, Title IX is nothing if not a quota system: No matter the number of athletic opportunities that are eliminated, the important thing, in the black-and-white, us vs. them mentality of Title IX and its proponents, is that the ratio of female athletes to male athletes matches that of the school’s enrollment.

The sad thing about Title IX is that no one benefits from its if-we-can’t-have-it-no-one-can mentality. A 2007 study by the College Sports Council studied athletic participation at universities between 1981 and 2005. The study found that the number of male athletes per university dropped by 6 percent during that time period, and the number of male sports teams dropped 17 percent! While non-mainstream sports like wrestling, gymnastics, tennis, and swimming were hit hardest by these cuts, even perpetual cash cows like football and basketball experienced declines during this time frame.

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