From WOMEN'S SPORTS FOUNDATION
POSITIONS ON CURRENT TITLE IX ISSUES
ISSUE: The current misinformation campaign against Title
IX and efforts to alter the language of Title IX.
Groups who feel that they have suffered from
improper enforcement of the law (like Simply Common Sense,
the National Coalition for Athletics Equity and the Independent
Women's Forum) are spearheading this campaign in order to
weaken Title IX and change the language of the law. Title
IX is a 27-year-old federal law that bans sex discrimination
in federally-funded school programs. Opponents of the law,
however, feel that it has eliminated men's non-revenue sports
programs in favor of creating more women's sports programs.
The Women's Sports Foundation maintains that any effort to
weaken the language of Title IX will have an enormous negative
impact on the progress that has been made on expanding opportunities
for women in sports. Fully 80% of our high schools and colleges
are currently still out of compliance with the law and weakening
its intent would send the wrong message.
Anti-Title IX groups are dismayed over what
they see to be an expansion of opportunities for women and
girls in sport at the expense of male opportunities. The groups
focus specifically on the "proportionality" component of the
law, in which a school compares the ratio of male to female
participants in the athletic program with the ratio of full-time
male to female students. The proportionality test is only
one of three ways in which a school can demonstrate that it
is in compliance with Title IX, but has been and is still
unfairly targeted as a "quota that eliminates athletic opportunities
for men," particularly in non-revenue-producing sports like
wrestling and swimming.
Schools are not being forced to eliminate
men's non-revenue sports. They are choosing to make these
cuts instead of asking all teams to operate on smaller pieces
of the financial pie. In fact, schools are spending more money
on men's sports than ever. The 1997-1998 NCAA Gender Equity
Study revealed that while budgets for women's sports increased
an average of $708,000 over the last five years, men's sports'
increases were double that figure. In short, schools are choosing
to maintain excessively high budgets for one or two men's
sports at the expense of minor men's sports.
It is impossible to deny the positive effect
of Title IX on women's sports. In 1971, prior to the passage
of the law, less than 300,000 girls participated in high school
sports nationwide, compared to over 3.6 million male participants
in the same year. By 1998, over 2.5 million girls and 3.7
million boys played high school sports. Collegiate sports
indicate a similar growth rate, although female student-athletes
still comprise only 38 percent of collegiate student-athletes
and 40 percent of high school student athletes, even though
females represent 52 percent of the general student body.
ISSUE: Failure of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in
the Department of Education to fully enforce Title IX of the
1972 Education Amendments Act in all physical education and
Access to educational sports programs is an important women's
· 80% of all people with osteoporosis (brittle
bones) are female and one of every two women over the age
of 60 has osteoporosis. These are women who never had the
chance to play sports and were never encouraged to play or
be physically fit. The combination of adequate calcium intake
and weight-bearing exercise is crucial in the prevention of
osteoporosis, a $15 billion/year health problem.
· Girls who participate in as little as four hours of exercise
per week may reduce their lifelong risk of breast cancer (a
disease that will affect one out of every eight women) by
up to 60%.
· Girls and women who participate in sports have higher levels
of confidence, stronger self-images and lower levels of depression.
Sports is an investment in the psychological health of women.
· High school girls who participate in sport are less likely
to experience an unwanted pregnancy and more likely to graduate
from high school and get better grades.
Legislators and the general public must press
the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education
to fully enforce Title IX. There are simply too many schools
and colleges that are simply ignoring the law.
-- Women's Sports Foundation Gender Equity Report Card, NCAA
Gender Equity Study, National Federation of State High School
Athletic Associations, 1997
- Male college athletes are still receiving $143 million
dollars per year more than female athletes in athletic scholarships.
- 25 years after the adoption of Title IX, the majority of
high schools and colleges are NOT offering equal opportunity
athletics programs. Yet, the OCR has never asked the Justice
Department to assist in gaining Title IX compliance at the
high school or college level or initiated action to withdraw
federal funds from institutions not complying.
- Because the Office of Civil Rights is not enforcing the
law, parents must go to court to have their daughters treated
fairly. Over 50 Title IX cases have been brought to court
in the past 8 years, with the plantiffs prevailing in every
case. But only well-to-do parents can afford this remedy.
ISSUE: Why it is important to oppose current efforts to
provide unnecessary protection for football or men's non-revenue
Sport participation provides significant
benefits. We should not treat our daughters differently than
our sons or maintain that the well-being of our daughters
or sons who play in minor sports is not as important as that
of our sons who play football.
· Football doesn't need any protection. It's a myth that
football makes all the money to fund other sports. Football
brings in more money than other sports but spends more than
- No one is advocating that football be eliminated.
The number of players on a football team can be maintained
and football expenses reduced as long as all schools follow
the same rules and expenditure limits. For example, even if
football scholarships were reduced from the current maximum
of 85 to 50, 50 full scholarships could be spread among 85
players and moneys saved would permit institutions to add
two or three women's teams.
- There are those who maintain that "football
makes money and should get more support." There cannot be
an economic justification for gender discrimination. We can't
accept, "We can't afford to treat our daughters as fairly
as we treat our sons because we want to spend more on our
sons who play football."
- College football doesn't make money. It's
a myth! There are approximately 65 universities out of 1,200
in the country that have football teams that pay for themselves.
Even in Division IA, the big-time NCAA college football schools,
35% of those schools are running average annual deficits in
football alone of $1.1 million a year.
- Everyone's tax dollars support athletics.
All those people contributing to booster clubs for football
are getting a tax break - a tax deductible contribution. We
have to pay more taxes because of those deductions.
- At most schools, football is spending 40-50%
of all operating dollars. It can afford to share. If football
is excluded from Title IX coverage or given special treatment,
it will receive license to continue to spend more than it
brings in, further exacerbating inequities in women's sports
and resulting in more men's teams being dropped.
· There is no validity to the contention
that because women don't play football, football should be
excluded from Title IX coverage. Title IX doesn't require
that men and women have the same sports. Title IX recognizes
that men and women have different sports interests. That's
why Title IX requires "equal participation opportunities"
and not the same sports. If 100 men want to play football,
that's fine. If 100 women want to play field hockey, volleyball
and sychronized swimming instead, that should be fine too.
- Few men play field hockey in this country, participate
in synchronized swimming or play as much volleyball as women.
Should we eliminate those sports from Title IX too?
- Approximately 500 high school girls are playing on boys
varsity high school football teams this year. Women have never
been given the opportunity until recently to play football.
Maybe there will be women's football one day!
· The purpose of laws prohibiting discrimination
is to bring the disadvantaged population up to the level of
the advantaged population, not to treat male athletes in minor
sports like female athletes who weren't given a chance to
play. Boys' and men's sports should not be cut in response
to Title IX.
- Title IX requires non-gender discriminatory
sharing of limited financial resources and there is great
flexibility in what an institution can do to comply with the
law. The problem is not enough money, it's how we are choosing
to spend our money. Schools should not be cutting men's non-revenue
producing teams like swimming, wrestling and gymnastics when
they are spending money on putting football teams in hotels
the night before home football games. College presidents are
afraid to tell football coaches to reduce spending, so they
are cutting men's teams and blaming gender equity. This is
--- While operating expenses for NCAA women's programs from
1992 to 1996 grew by 89% for women's programs, men's operating
expenses grew by 139% over the same period (NCAA Gender Equity
Study, April 1997).
· Title IX's requirement that an institution
should accommodate female students as well as it accommodates
male students does not require "quotas." The so-called "proportionality
standard" is only one of three independent tests of compliance
in the area of participation and the other two are not numerical.
Girls deserve the same opportunity to play sports as boys.
Requiring girls to prove that they are interested in sports
in order to receive the opportunity to play is a double standard.
No one asks boys whether they are interested in playing.
>- Research clearly indicates that boys and
girls and their parents believe that sports are equally important
for boys and girls. Girls simply aren't being given the same
encouragement or opportunities to play. High school participation
numbers reflect the same discrimination as college programs.
Boys receive twice the opportunities to play as girls.
- There will never be enough participation
opportunities at the high school or college level to meet
the interests of boys or girls. These opportunities are limited
by what schools can afford. For example, there are approximately
200,000 men and 128,000 women participating on college varsity
teams in the NCAA. These opportunities will never fully accommodate
the needs of over 5 million boys and girls participating in
high school athletics. The fairest way to parcel out limited
resources and participation opportunities is to have athletic
opportunities match up to general student enrollment.
· Institutions can comply with Title IX without
cutting men's sports or damaging football.
- The facts do not support the claim that
increasing opportunities for women's sports in the last two
decades have lowered the number of men's sports programs.
During the period between 1978 and 1996, women gained a net
increase of 1,658 sports programs, while men's sports programs
netted an increase of 74. Numbers of men's sports teams have
remained steady, while women's sports programs have grown.
Only NCAA Divisions I-A and I-AA showed a net decrease in
the number of men's sports programs during the 18-year period
. Divisions I-A and I-AA, the richest athletic programs, netted
a total loss of 152 men's sports program, or averaging over
18 years, 8.4 programs lost per year.
-- Women's Sports Foundation Gender Equity Report Card, 1997
- Conferences, leagues and the NCAA have
not been willing to legislate expenditure limitations, lower
scholarship limits, even require fewer games if that's what
it takes to make sure that male non-revenue producing sport
participants as well as females get the chance to play.
- This is educational sport, not professional
sports. If football or any other sport wants to act as if
it is a pro sport, then such sports must go into business
outside of our educational system and should not receive the
benefits of non-profit status such as tax deductions for boosters.
All taxpayers support high school and college sports. Taxpayers
have daughters and sons who deserve to be treated equally.