Title IX Legislation Marked 40th Anniversary on June 23rd

Has the law adversely affected the situation for men and boys? That depends very much on who is assessing the evidence and what is being assessed. However, it is clear at the college level that some non-revenue sports have been hurt, as program numbers have declined. However, some consider those wounds to be self-inflicted. Why? There is no mandate under Title IX for an institution to eliminate men's programs in order to achieve compliance.

One cannot, of course, reduce the controversy surrounding Title IX to any single issue. Where problems and solutions are concerned, however, over the years many have pointed the finger at college football. With its large squad sizes, high number of scholarships, and expenses for travel, equipment, facilities, and coaches, football gobbles resources and makes it difficult for schools sponsoring the sport to meet Title IX requirements. The Chronicle of Higher Education noted a decade ago that "football teams are allowed 85 scholarships apiece and often have as many as 150 players ... Of the colleges with Division I-A football teams, 91 spend a larger percentage of their budget on football than they do on all of women's sports put together."

Some have argued that football, being the only men's sport without a direct women's equivalent, should be dropped from the mix when determining Title IX compliance. Others contend that, whether football is exempted or not, men are much more likely to be walk-ons. Men's interest in athletics participation is proportionately greater, and therefore the Title IX proportionality requirement is not justifiable. Their critics observe that men have a much longer history of support in athletics from an early age and that similar interest patterns will develop in women when they are afforded equal opportunities over a longer period of time.

The debate will continue, lawsuits will be contested, and schools and organizations will struggle to balance resources and meet the needs of groups with different interests. But regardless of whether one is a harsh critic or staunch advocate of Title IX, it is very clear that it has profoundly altered the athletic landscape in this country.

[Much of what appears above is an edited version of the article that appeared 10 years ago in our old newsletter.]

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