Final paper by sobek18
Title IX has had beneficial effects on women’s athletics, but it is sometimes at the expense of male athletics and should be scaled back. Title IX is the federal law, which was enacted in 1972, that prohibits discrimination of sex in education, and addresses a wide variety of educational issues. However, Title IX gets the most publicity from issues relating to athletics in high school and college level schools. Through Title IX, the federal government requires schools that receive federal funds to give students an equal opportunity to play sports, male or female. This is an apparent attempt to right the wrongs of discrimination on women playing sports in the past. Schools must abide by one of the three methods provided by the law to meet this requirement: “proportionality, an ongoing practice of expanding athletic opportunities for the under-represented sex, or an athletic program that accommodates the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex.” While many supporters of Title IX feel that women greatly benefit from the law, many critics state that Title IX forces high schools and colleges to cut men's sports programs in order to meet the requirements of the law. I feel this does not make the situation any better. Giving women opportunities to play sports is a wonderful concept, except when it means taking away opportunities from others to play the games they love.
An example of Title IX in action begins in 1970, during the creation process of Title IX, and deals with the California State University Fullerton football program, the Titans. 1970 was the beginning of their football program, which turned out to be fairly successful. Several outstanding football players came out of the program, a few even went on to play in the Super Bowl. The Titans became a powerhouse in its conference, winning two championships and finishing runner-up four times between 1983 and 1989. However, for reasons unknown and debated about, the team was dropped from the athletic roster and the program was terminated. Many felt that the program was dropped in an attempt to meet the upcoming Title IX requirements. Being that the team was very successful, and a great deal of money had been spent on renovating the Titan Stadium, this was the only reasonable explanation.
In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that “victims of gender discrimination can sue for monetary damages.” Since then, because of the difficulty in starting female athletic programs, or because of the difficulty in getting females to participate in them, high school and colleges across the country have been dropping men’s athletic programs. Even though Title IX has its beneficial effects on athletic women, its solution in turn creates the exact same problem because it takes away the opportunity of some men to participate in athletics. According to a General Accounting Office report, over 3,000 men’s teams were discontinued between 1998 and 1999. At the same time, 452 women’s teams were added to athletic programs across the nation. How is this solving any problems? Giving 452 female athletic teams the chance to play sports is overwhelmingly overtaken by the lost opportunity of over 3,000 men’s teams. The problem has gotten worse, only now its effect is on males.
The purpose of Title IX is to insure equality in all areas of education, not only in the athletics department. This also includes access to vocational training in areas typically male dominated such as auto mechanics and welding. Since 1972, women have made significant advances in areas of education. Title IX is credited for the decreased rate of female high school drop-outs. Female drop-outs in high schools have decreased by thirty percent since the enactment of Title IX. High school girls are now taking upper level math and science classes in the same proportions as high school boys. However, the athletic departments have seen the most dramatic changes in high schools. The number of high school female athletes has risen from a mere 300,000 in 1972 to over 2.8 million across the country today. At the same time, the male participation has remained relatively steady over the last thirty years.
Since the population has risen noticeably since 1972, this means that there are more and more males that no longer participate in athletics, because they do not get the chance.
The federal government measures a school’s athletic compliance with Title IX with three basic tests. Schools are only required to “pass” one of the three. The first is the Proportionality test. It asks, “Does the ratio of female athletes to male athletes equal the ratio of female students to male students?” If not, the school must either create more athletics for women, or cut athletics for men. Since the creation of an athletic program involves costs that are not regulated in the school budget, the common solution is to cut male athletic programs, which will save some money. The second is the Expanding Opportunities test, which asks if the school can show a continued history of expanding athletic opportunities for female students. This question is discriminating against males, and should not be limited to females. The third test, the Accommodation Test, asks if the school cat show that the interests and abilities of female students have been accommodated. If the school can answer yes to one of these questions, it is in compliance with the athletic portion of Title IX. However, if they cannot, the male athletics suffer due to cut in funds or complete termination. Schools should not have to deny male students the opportunity to compete in exchange for creating opportunities for females.
Among the athletics affected by title IX, wrestling has been hit the hardest. About fifty-five percent of all men’s athletic programs cut between 1998 and 1999 have been wrestling programs. A recent case involved the National Wrestling Coaches Association in June of 2003. In a US district court they claimed that schools are forced to drop men’s programs because women’s interests are not sufficient to support an equal number of women’s teams. They also claimed it would be impossible to reach correct proportionality because women get involved in extra curricular activities other than sports, where men participate almost exclusively in sports. The case was dismissed, and the NWCA lost. This is an extreme disadvantage of Title IX. Schools can create sports for women, but they cannot make women participate. Although there are some females that do participate, the number of males who desire to participate will always tremendously outnumber the number of females willing to do so, causing the proportionality ratio impossible to meet. By law, however, it does not matter, so male athletic programs will continue to be cut, because schools have no other choice.
Title IX has definitely had a good impact on the women of today’s society, but it should be scaled back so it does not continue to damage or terminate male athletics. With no respect to gender, cases dealing with Title IX generally result in a reduced amount of students involved in school athletics. The resulting solution seems to make the situation worse than it was.
Bondurant, Bill and Brian Kleiner. 2003. “New Developments concerning Title IX,” Equal Opportunities International. Patrington: 2003.Vol.22, Iss. 6/7; pg. 24
Carlson, Carole. “Controversy over Title IX still around?” [web page]; http://www.post-trib.com/title9/030302c.html [accessed 16 Mar 2005].
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