The female in today’s society has come a long way from the average housewife. Women are now able to run companies and hold political offices that were once reserved only for males. Women have even come so far as to make their mark on professional sports, such as the Women’s National Basketball League and National Pro Fastpitch- professional women’s softball. These programs may have never existed if it were not for the enaction of Title IX. It states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” (NCWGE). This law calls for federally financed schools to give females an equal chance to play sports, and requires equal treatment for men and women in regards to athletic scholarships, equipment, coaches, and facilities (NCWGE). Title IX has made many athletic opportunities available for females and should be continued because it has had a beneficial effect on high school and college athletics. Title IX called for equal funding for male and female athletic programs in institutions that receive federal funding, streamlined female intercollegiate athletics, and increased the number of female athletes. Without this legislation many female athletes would not have been able to experience the same mental and physical benefits from physical activity that are received (NCWGE).
For women to seize the growing opportunities to compete in athletics at t he collegiate level, they need to be able to develop the essential skills at younger ages, such as high school (Schiller). Tile IX specifies that female athletic programs must receive funding that is equal to their male athletic programs. This results in many female high school athletic programs receiving equipment and uniforms comparable to that of the male sports. Such funding enhances the athletic experience for young women and allows more opportunities for them to excel. This is why it is pertinent that Title IX be followed at the high school level. Young female athletes are then given the chance to develop their athletic skills and progress into fine athletes. But without adequate funding, these young women are unable to improve athletically. Title IX is working to ensure that girls receive opportunities equal to boys, but it is not flawed. “Girls get 1.1 million fewer high school participation opportunities than boys” (NCWGE). On the college level, “female athletes in Division I schools receive 36% of the athletic operating budgets, and 32% of the dollars spent to recruit new athletes” (NCWGE).
Title IX’s streamlining of collegiate athletics has had a large impact on female athletics. Before the legislation was passed, male and female athletics were run separately, the rules for male athletic programs did not apply to the female programs. But with Title IX, both male and female intercollegiate athletic programs are governed by the same set of rules. This makes it clear how much of the budget is used for men’s athletics versus women’s athletics. The NCAA now sets guideline and regulations that all sports must abide by; gender has nothing to do with it. This allowed for female athletics on the college level to be better represented, as well as receive more funding.
With female intercollegiate athletics streamlined, the number of female athletes increased dramatically. “Before Title IX, fewer than 32,000 woman participated in college sports; today that number exceeds 150,000- nearly 5 times the pre-Tile IX rate” (NCWGE). Tile IX allows for these female programs to receive more funding which results in more scholarship monies for female athletes. More females are playing sports in college because the opportunity is now open to them, whereas it was not in the past. The increase of female student-athletes has led to a more competitive athletic atmosphere. Every team has the chance now to recruit and build their roster so that they can field a team that is able to compete at the national level. Women’s teams now have the opportunity to contend for national championships and titles, something that may have never happened if it were not for Title IX.
Naturally, as with any government program aimed towards creating equality, some groups experience negative effects. This is true with Title IX; as some men’s sports have to cut back in order to finance their women’s sports. This is unfortunate for the young men who participate in those programs, but many times it is the school’s unwillingness to scale back their bigger male athletic programs which leads to the elimination of the smaller programs. Football and men’s basketball “consumes 72% of the average Division I-A school’s total men’s athletic opportunity budget” (NCWGE). Instead of cutting back on these programs, schools opt to eliminate entire programs such as gymnastics and wrestling. San Diego State University, for example, dealt with their $2 million budget deficit by cutting its men’s volleyball team, when they could have instead slightly scaled back their $5 million football budget (NCWGE). When mens’ programs are cut, people are quick to blame Title IX, but in reality it has more to do with the athletic directors’ inability to decrease their football or basketball budgets.
Title IX has been extremely beneficial in creating athletic opportunities for females at the high school and collegiate levels. Its enaction has led to more young girls competing in high school athletics. This results in better competition, which in turn improves the skills of the female athlete. This athlete can then take her cultivated skills and earn an athletic scholarship to play on the collegiate level. By participating in intercollegiate athletics, female athletes are also able to get an education. With their education, these women can go out into the workforce and become productive citizens in their communities. Many talented female athletes may not have had the opportunity to get good educations if it were not for Title IX. Women from low income families who would not be able to fully finance a college education now have the chance to go to college by means of obtaining and athletic scholarship. The benefits of Title IX certainly outweigh the costs, therefore it should be continued.
NCWGE, 2003. “Save Title IX> Title IX Facts and Myths.” [web page];
http://www.savetitleix.com/overview.html [Accessed 18 Apr 2005].
Schiller, Samuel J. “Title IX Enforcement.” [web page];
http://www.schillerlawfirm.com/index.htm [Accessed 10 Apr 2005].
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