TITLE IX HISTORY. WHERE TO FROM HERE.
Let’s level the playing field without penalizing boys – Hollywood heroes can’t cut it here.
Title IX, prohibits discrimination based on gender in schools that receive federal money, has done a ton of enhancing: The percentage of girls playing high school sports has increased dramatically since Congress approved the law, rising from the neighborhood of 3 percent to more than 33 percent. And in colleges, there are five times more women playing sports now Title IX is not just about athletics and college sport, it’s about sexual discrimination in all aspects of federally funded educational programs. This article will concentrate on the impact it has on college sports programs.
But anyone who has watched schools shuffle to meet federal funding requirements by creating girls teams for which there is no great demand (such as bowling and equestrian) while eliminating boys teams that are strongly supported (such as wrestling and gymnastics) knows that something is out of whack. After the executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association challenged Title IX by filing a suit against the Department of Education, a presidential commission was created to look into the issue.
In its chaotic and contentious final meeting Thursday, it properly recommended relaxing some standards for meeting Title IX–recommendations to be considered by Secretary of Education Rod Paige, who has voiced his opposition to the penalizing of boys’ and men’s teams. Rigid positions have been taken on both sides of the debate. Fearful of any dilution of its impact, some people have advocated keeping Title IX as is. Others, including people who don’t recognize the importance of female athletics, have called for its cancellation. What is called for is a sense of balance–not only in weighing the arguments, but also in deciding how to apply the law to individual programs.
Title IX’s requirement that the percentage of women in college athletics corresponds to the percentage of women enrolled–currently 56 percent nationally–is impractical and unrealistic. Calling for a 50-50 split of male and female athletes, as the commission would have done if one member hadn’t missed the vote to attend another meeting, ignores the varying conditions that exist from school to school.
The name of this game, admittedly a difficult one to play, is flexibility. Only by administering it will officials assure that everyone comes up a winner.