Title IX Reform

TITLE IX HAS EVOLVED INTO AN INSTRUMENT OF INEQUITY

A federal law originally written to prohibit sex discrimination in our nation’s schools, Title IX has been twisted by special interests into a law that guarantees the opposite in our athletic programs.

According to  Jessica Gavora, author of Tilting the Playing Field, Schools, Sports, Sex, and Title IX., “Title IX has been morphed into a strict body count quota.”  The truth and the ramifications of this statement create an irrefutable case for reforming Title IX.

The Title IX regulations implemented in the US Department of Education have codified the idea that any differences between males and females in athletics can only be due to sex discrimination.

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When originally passed by the US Congress Title IX simply stated:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…”

The ASC fully supports the language of the law and believes that no one should be discriminated on the basis of their gender.

Unfortunately the regulations and enforcement of this law has been delegated to the federal bureaucrats of the Department of Education, whose most damaging contribution to the interpretation of Title IX is the “Proportionality” standard.  A school is in compliance with the proportionality standard when the percentage of males and females in an athletic program match the percentage of males and females is the general student body.  Most high schools are close to 50% males and females in the general student body therefore for the high school to be in compliance with Title IX through proportionality the varsity athletes at the school must be 50% male and female as well.

A HYPOTHETICAL ON PROPORTIONALITY

Here is a simple example of how proportionality decimates simple fairness and common sense.

Suppose a college with an overall student body that is 50% women and 50 % men had only two varsity athletic teams – one track and field team for women and one for men. Each team has the same support and resources, even (as is often the case in collegiate track programs) the same coaching staff.  After working hard to attract athletes to both teams the school ends up with 45 males and 35 females in the schools track and field varsity program.   Both teams have room for even more athletes on their track and field rosters but these were all the coaches could find that wanted to compete at the college.

The college is then approached by a group ten women students who want to start a volleyball team.   This group tells the college that the application of the proportionality standard establishes them as an the “under-represented sex”.   As the under-represented sex with an unmet athletic interest they, according to current Title IX interpretation,  are entitled to a varsity volleyball program.  These potential student athletes are correct.  The college basically has two choices:

1). Take on the cost of starting a volleyball (or some other women’s team) – coaches, travel, recruiting, facilities, etc.

2). Take away the “under-represented” status of the group by eliminating  10 males from the track team.

Faced with this dilemma any school that has to make hard budget and resource choices – which is virtually all of them – will mandate proportionality and choose option 2.

It matters not that the school had provided exactly equal athletic opportunities to its males and females

It matters not that the school is offering unfilled athletic spots for women.

It matters not that cutting ten deserving males from the track team saves very little money and does women athletes no good.

And it would matter not if there were many, many, more males than females interested in playing volleyball, golf, tennis or any sport.

All that matters is that proportionality bestows the status of  “under-represented sex”  that demands not equal opportunity – but equal outcomes.

HARD NUMBERS

Consider the following national statistics:

NCAA

57% female/43% male – average student body in US four-year colleges

181,000 –  number of female NCAA athletes in 2010

240,000 – number of male NCAA athletes in 2010

9,400 – number of NCAA women’s teams in 2010

8,400-number of NCAA men’s  teams I  2010

The stage is set for the continued, inexorable, and massive elimination of men’s teams and the pointless reduction of men’s team roster sizes.  With there already being 1,000 more women’s then men’s NCAA teams and with  a Title IX compliance regime dominated by the proportionality standard –  it is difficult to envision a scenario where 20-30% of today’s male athletic opportunities will not be lost.

High Schools

3.2 million – number of girl varsity athletes in US 2010

4.5 million – number of boy varsity athletes in US 2010

The ramifications of these numbers and current Title IX interpretation should concern all parents and educators.  Last fall, the National Women’s Law Center filed complaints with the US Department of Education.   These complaints were against 12 public high school systems across the US and were based on proportionality.   Several of the targets were cash-strapped urban school systems in Chicago, New York, and Houston.

The idea is to put our nation’s communities on notice that the judgment and concerns of the school board it elects, and  the administrators  it  hires,  does  not matter.   What will matter are the desires of the unelected and unaccountable federal bureaucrats, and the special interests from whom they take their cue.

One Million Boys are facing being told they cannot participate in interscholastic athletics  in our  nation’s  high schools because of quotas and bureaucrats.   Unless their communities make it clear to their elected federal officials  that they care more about and better understand the needs of their children then do the agenda-driven outsiders from Washington DC .

Want to read more?  See what one of the most syndicated and respected columnists in the nation, George Will, says in his Newsweek Column  “A Train Wreck called Title IX” at:

http://www.newsweek.com/2002/05/26/a-train-wreck-called-title-ix.html