FB5945 Final Draft
18 April 2005
The Effects of Title IX
American society thrives on its athletic accomplishments, claiming to be the home of the “World Football Champions” every February and boasting about the “World Baseball Champions” every October. Athletics are undoubtedly an enormous part of American culture, but how did such a large emphasis on sports develop? Y.M.C.A. answers this question for many Americans. Every American with children knows immediately what these four letters mean. Although some may confuse the acronym with singing grown men dressed in Halloween costumes, most associate it with Saturday afternoons at the sports park. Across the nation millions of children participate in some activity offered by the Y.M.C.A. However, what would happen if suddenly the Y.M.C.A. was required by state law to cut boy’s soccer or basketball? Residents of California will soon discover the effects of this new law, which increases the requirements of Title IX, and “will require that the percentage of boys’ and girls’ programs be the same as that of boy and girl residents in the community” (Yan). Simply put, if girls out number boys in an area of California, the local Y.M.C.A. will be required to offer more female activities than male activities. The harmful effects of Title IX surface from this California Amendment and can be viewed in a larger context through its negative effects on male collegiate athletics.
Title IX was created in 1972 with the aim of prohibiting “sex discrimination in education programs that receive Federal financial assistance,” which includes all public institutions at the adolescent, high school, and collegiate levels. Title IX, which is enforced by the Office for Civil Rights Department, deals with other areas of equality besides athletics, but in focusing on the athletic aspects of the title it requires that equal opportunities are available for both men and women (Bonnette). In theory providing equal opportunities for both sexes appears to be easy. However, when examining the situations that could occur from the new California law at the recreational level, skepticism arises about the overall beneficial effects of Title IX at every level of athletic competition.
To demonstrate these possible negative outcomes, a hypothetical situation in Orange County, California can be used. In this community there are 10000 children under the age of 12. Sixty-seven percent of those children are female, while the other thirty-three percent are male (6700 females, 3300 males). Of the 6700 females, only twenty-five percent of them participate in sports, which translates to 1645 females. Of the 3300 males, seventy-five percent of them participate in sports, translating to 2475 males. However, according to the new law based on the total percentages of the children in the community, females will have twice as many opportunities to participate in sports as the males, even though there are eight hundred more males wishing to participate in some sport.
How then does Title IX promote equal opportunity? It is an inherent fact throughout American culture that more men participate in athletic events. Some may argue that this situation is because women have not been given as many opportunities to participate as men have, which is a true statement. Trends have shown that since the implementation of Title IX, the percentage of women in the student athlete population in colleges has increased from 24.2% to 41.9% since 1981 (Yan). However, this positive effect is not the argument at hand. It is illogical to say that Title IX has not aided in the advancement of women in college athletics. The pressing argument is that although Title IX does benefit women, the negative effects felt by men’s athletics far outweigh the progression of women.
The creation of Title IX had the aim of creating equal playing fields for both males and females. However, the law was implemented in large part solely to give females equal opportunities as males in the world of athletics. Almost all of the news coverage associated with Title IX points out the advancements women have made in athletics, but what is not covered are the negative effects felt by men’s athletics. In the last five years over 435 men’s sports teams have been removed from colleges. This number includes 130 track and cross-country teams, 21 wrestling and 23 swimming teams. In accordance to Title IX, this translates that 3.6 men are cut for the addition of every woman in college athletics (Yan).
It is imperative to note that Title IX does not require colleges to eliminate male sports from their athletic programs. On the other hand, Title IX does require colleges to adhere to three specific requirements. The first of these three areas includes “sports offerings,” which requires institutions to offer equal opportunities for both sexes. Title IX also requires that both male and female sports receive equal opportunities in terms of available scholarships. Lastly, both sexes must receive equal benefits ranging from housing to medical care (Bonnette). Obviously, those requirements do not explicitly state that men’s sports teams must be cut to comply with Title IX. It does, however, imply that this action must occur in order for institutions to fulfill the requirements of Title IX.
When examining the athletic side of Title IX, the main concern sums up to both men and women receiving equal funds. Money is the cause and solution to the equality problem. The average number of male participates per institution in all Division I (A,AA,AAA) sports is 266, while the average number of women is only 210 (Athletics). Men’s sports spend on average 6.6 million dollars per year, but bring in 8.5 million dollars. Women’s athletics spend 3.5 million dollars per year and bring in only 1.5 million dollars (Overall). Obviously, these numbers reflect merely averages. Large Division I-A “football schools” such as Oklahoma bring in a significant amount more money than a Division I-AA school such as Wofford. A solution to the Title IX problem could arise from these figures.
As opposed to cutting men’s sports to adhere to the requirements of Title IX, universities should be able to house as many athletic programs as they can support in relation to the revenue of each sex’s sports. For example, if Georgia Tech’s men’s programs bring in 20 million dollars during an athletic season, they should have the option to support as many men’s programs as they are able to with that amount of revenue. In the same situation, if Georgia Tech’s women’s programs bring in 12 million dollars during an athletic season they should also have the same option. Since men’s sports bring in almost seven times as much money as do women’s, Title IX not only hurts male athletes, but the institutions as well by reducing the amount of money male athletics bring to the university.
Any solution to the Title IX problem will have both negative and positive side effects, but the system in place has instigated more harmful effects than beneficial ones. As amendments to the title continue to surface, such as the one in California, more problems will result. These problems will be beneficial in the fact that women will gain more opportunities in athletics, but will have devastating effects on male athletics. As long as Title IX results in the elimination of men’s sports teams, it will continue to fail at its aim of “prohibiting sex discrimination.”
"Athletics Participation." Chart. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Sept. 2004. NCAA Gender Equity Report. By Corey Bray. Indianapolis, 2004. 14. www.NCAA.org. 6 Mar. 2005 .
Bonnette, Valeria M. Title IX Basics. 1996. www.NCAA.org. 3 Mar. 2005 .
"Overall Revenues and Expenses." Chart. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Sept. 2004.
NCAA Gender Equity Report. By Corey Bray. Indianapolis, 2004. 22. www.NCAA.org. 4 Mar. 2005 .
Yan, Xiaochin Claire. "The Whole Title IX Yards." The Contrarian 9 Dec. 2004. 5 Mar. 2005
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