Writers Argue That It's Time for Changes to Title IX

Institutions often have added women's sports to meet the proportionality goal, not actual demand. To balance the large numbers of men in football programs, many NCAA Division I schools have added women's rowing, with its sizable rosters, for example. Yet there has been little increase in participation in rowing by girls in high schools or clubs to justify that increase.

The bigger problem is that collegiate sports should respond to the interests of current students, not fund-raising drives from alumni and attempts to comply with the proportionality rule. The monetary demands of big-time football and basketball too often drive campus athletic offerings and drain funds for men's sports. Why do all 14 colleges of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) have women's soccer, but only two have men's soccer? Why do all but one of the SEC and Big 10 schools offer women's volleyball, while only two have men's volleyball? It's the big-time budgets that are driving those decisions.

Colleges should stop using the proportionate rule. Get rid of it and the unnatural team patterns will end. Base campus sports programs for both sexes on real supply and demand for each sport. Rein in excessive spending on football and basketball. Treat sports in which both men and women participate on an equivalent basis. Finally, let single-sex sports, such as football or field hockey, stand on their own merits with regard to both popularity and budget realities. Do not cut them merely to reach proportionality.

Title IX has changed amateur sports in America. But now it's time to fine-tune it.

Reprinted with permission. The article appears at the web site, where you can read or make comments about it.

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