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Politics 1101
Professor Richard Barke
April 19, 2005

Title IX: Fair?

In 1972, when President Nixon signed into law Title IX of the Education Amendment, the thoughts and ambitions were good. Unfortunately, the results have not exactly been for the best. When Title IX was drawn up, it was supposed to help equal out opportunities for females when it came to education and athletics in the k-12 and collegiate systems. It was thought that the laws would provide more opportunities for females to participate in classes and sports usually limited to males as it reads, "No person in the U.S. 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 aid." Previous to these laws females suffered due to the commonness of sexist discrimination (Curtis and Grant).

In some respects the laws have done what they were put in place to do. Females in fact do have more opportunities than ever to participate in the same programs males do. Programs have been added across the nation to abide by the laws and provide more equal opportunities. The only thing wrong with the current situation is that, by abiding by these laws, schools across the nation have had to cut back on the funding of male sports leading to terminations of complete programs. It may sound at first like this would be fair because if the programs can’t be equal when it comes to the roles of males and females then maybe it should be cut. Tell that to the guys who have lost scholarships and teams because there simply isn’t the same interest in their sport on the female side.

Previously there have been three key tests that schools must pass to be in compliance with the laws. The first was a test to look at the “proportionality” of the sexes in athletics. The ratio of male and female participants must be proportional to the number of students enrolled. This rule has only recently been abandoned because of the unfairness of it. The other two test look at the schools history of “expanding sports programs so men and women have equal opportunity to participate”, and whether or not the programs have "fully and effectively accommodated" the interests and abilities of all students (Curtis and Grant). It simply seems unfair for some schools to have to uphold these high standards of “fairness” and “equality.”

Upon first glance Title IX might seem fair to some. It takes a closer look and more thought to realize that the laws are completely unfair and unjust in the way they look at equality. When it comes to sports, one first is going to think of pro baseball, or pro football, or pro basketball and when they think of these sports they are going to think of the male versions. It isn’t because the systems are unfair; it is simply because that is what people tend to watch. Of course there are the occasional runs at providing coverage of female professional sports, but the fact is that nowhere near as many people are going to watch. That is just the way it is. Male professional sports are where the money is at when it comes to both professional and collegiate sports. In college most of the funds used to pay for athletics come from the people who pay to watch the male sports. This is not unjust or unfair, it is just the way or the world and because of this doesn’t it seem fair to provide more for these athletes?

Another aspect that should be looked at is the percentage of males that take up sports versus the percentage of females that do. It is obviously fair to say the percentages are not even. They probably aren’t even close. Why then should schools have to provide the same for both, when the interest simply isn’t equal? By doing this schools are required to cut back programs that have the interest of only males unless they can match it with one that gains only the interest of females. This means that since there is less interest in women’s sports then there have to be cut backs in men’s sports. Then there is even more problems created when the two intertwine and females try to participate in male sports. This is unfair to both sexes as the males are only going to feel uncomfortable and the females have a large chance of getting hurt. This isn’t being sexist; it is just looking at the way the two bodies are built. Only in extreme cases are female athletes going to be able to actually compete at a level equal to the males.

Perhaps the sport most affected by the Title IX is wrestling. Wrestling programs across the nation have been terminated because they could not comply with Title IX laws. The fact is that it is a male dominated sport. There is no female equal. There aren’t enough females interested or that could compete with the males to make it a sport for both sexes. This has led to the near extinction of the sport at colleges in certain regions or that are male dominated in the first place. This is simply not fair to the athletes who train all their lives to wrestle then are denied the chance at a scholarship because the college that they want to go to doesn’t have a wrestling team due to having to comply with Title IX. And wrestling is only the beginning. In fact, there are seven other sports that have been dropped even more than wrestling. Sports like cross-country, track, golf, rowing, and swimming have been cut back tremendously (Anonymous, Wrestling with Title IX).

In conclusion, the goals of Title IX were to provide equal opportunities, not to cut back male dominated sports. The original goal has led to many more opportunities for female athletes, but as a result many less opportunities for male athletes. Is this equal? Hardly. Equality is definitely a good thing, but it only when put in perspective. Proportions must be looked at in a new way in order to make Title IX a more just and fair law. Until then it simply isn’t and needs to be looked at and scaled back until it is. When that happens is the only time true equality and fairness will be met.

Works Cited
Anonymous, “Wrestling with Title IX.” [web page] March 2005; [Accessed March 27, 2005].
Dr. Mary Curtis and Dr. Christine H.B. Grant, “About Title IX.” [web page] [Accessed March 27, 2005].

Cites visited for background information but not directly used in paper:

Anonymous, “Don’t Drop the Ball: Save Title IX.” [web page] 2003; [Accessed March 27, 2005].
Welch Suggs, “Gender Equity in College Sports.” [web page] 2004; [Accessed March 27, 2005]
Women’s Sports Foundation, “Wrestling and Title IX.” [web page] 2003;
[Accessed March 27, 2005]

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