Women have been underrepresented in sports for ages. In the early days of the Olympics,
women were not allowed to participate, but the attitude of society has changed drastically since
that time. Now, people see it as highly unfair to deny someone equivalency not only in athletics
but in anything. Title IX was created to uphold the modern values of fairness in our society. The
net effect of Title IX has been positive in doing its duty, benefiting many women in athletics;
however, some schools have dealt with Title IX by cutting men's programs.
In 1971, "295,000 high school girls play[ed] sports, compared with 3,600,000 high school
boys" (Donnelly et al). This is a ratio of about one to twelve and highly unfair by today's
standards. Anyone can expect that more than 295,000 high school girls wanted to play some sort of
sport in 1971. The next year Title IX came into being and stated the following: "No person in
the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, or denied the
benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving
federal assistance" (Sadker). Obviously, the amazingly low numbers of females playing sports
compared to men meant some sort of discrimination was happening on the basis of sex. Something had
to be done or else women's sports in general would remain pitiful compared to men's sports.
Since 1971, Title IX has helped women in sports in many ways. Under Title IX women and
men have to be equal or comparatively equivalent. Equivalency is measured one way by comparing
men's facilities with women's. Shortly after Title IX became law, Yale learned it had a problem
with this equivalence measure. The men's and women's row teams were not being treated equally.
Cold weather froze the wet athletes all during practice. Anyone who has had an encounter with cold
weather probably knows that being wet does not help. The men had warm facilities in which to
shower and dry themselves; the women did not. The women waited on the cold merciless bus while a
blanket of warmth wrapped the men in the facility. This would only last for so long. The women
decided that this could not persist. They new about Title IX and that their situation fell within
its umbrella. They organized a protest on Yale's campus dressed in shirts that had "Title IX"
written on them. They also had a news reporter present at the protest. Soon news and media from
all over were showing the protest. Yale recognized that the situation was serious. This protest
brought about the improvement of the women's crew facility as well as improvement of all other
women athletic programs at the school (Donnelly et al). Title IX gave these young women a chance
at equality. If Title IX did not exist, maybe Yale's current women's row team would be freezing
every practice while the guys washed in warmth. Along with addressing facility and treatment
issues, Title IX has increased the number of women involved in sports.
From 1971 to 1999, the number of high school girls increased from 295,000 to 3,400,000.
Title IX definitely has definitely persuaded schools to offer more female sports programs and bring
in more females to athletics. Without Title IX women would have a very hard time trying to play
sports for their school and not enjoy it as much from a lack of competition. Title IX has made
women's basketball profitable and competitive. Many people watch, attend, and generally support
women's basketball enthusiastically. Dreams have become reality because of Title IX. Title IX
also has other indirect effects.
Sedentary women (and men also) are not as healthy as their athletic counterparts. Now that
more women are involved in sports, more women are less prone to health issues. Breast cancer is a
serious issue with women. Women that exercise are half as likely to develop breast cancer
(Donnelly et al). Since more women play sports, more women will probably be free of breast cancer.
Drugs are even worse than just not being healthy. They are illegal and dangerous. However
statistics show that women athletes are fifty percent less likely to do drugs (Donnelly et al).
These are positive statistics and shows that Title IX has helped improved the quality of many young
Title IX has definitely benefited women in sports, but Title IX was not created only for
girls. It was made to benefit men and women. Unfortunately history has shown that Title IX has
hurt some men's programs. Some male athletic programs have been sacrificed to meet Title IX
There is more than one way to deal with a problem. Here, Title IX is a problem faced by
some schools because it means a new way of doing things. One way to deal with Title IX is to
increase opportunities for women. Another, less beneficial way is to decrease men's athletic
programs in order to be in compliance with the proportion measure. "Title IX legislation requires
that the number of men's and women's sports offerings be related to the proportion of men and women
in the student body" (Carrolland). This general statement allows for schools to drop men's
programs without penalty. Title IX's purpose is to increase programs and not to reapportion sports
by decreasing one side or the other. Why exactly are men's programs being cut? The reason is
economic efficiency. It costs money to increase women's sports. For every woman sport added to a
school, something, some money or an entire program, must be sacrificed (Dudely). Not every school
can readily afford to meet Title IX requirements. They have no choice but to sacrifice programs
and football makes it worse.
Football is a male sport that does not have a female equivalent sport. Football is a high
revenue sport for schools with winning teams. Basketball is the high revenue sport of women
athletic programs. Because of football, men and women sports will be uneven. To support more
women sports programs, other men sports must be cut to maintain a balance (Dudely). This is the
downside of Title IX. The purpose is to benefit all programs. However, when compared to the pros
and overall effects of Title IX, this con is not enough to conclude that Title IX is a negative and
worthless piece of legislation that should be done away with.
Nothing in the world has proven to be perfect. Chances are nothing ever will be proven to
be perfect in this world. However, our government does what it can to balance order, freedom, and
equality. Title IX deals with the issue of equality between the sexes in education and athletics.
Title IX does its job fairly well. Based on the number of women in athletics now compared to the
number before Title IX became law, one can confidently say that Title IX is a success. But like
many things, it has its imperfections. Theory behind Title IX is that schools will increase
programs. In contrast, the reality of Title IX is that some men's programs have been cut to fit
the proportionality measure of Title IX. Besides this small, but significant flaw, Title IX is a
positive piece of legislation that has definitely helped the equality of athletics.