2012 marks the 40 year anniversary of Title IX. Equality was what Title IX aimed to implement and this research paper will analyze the conflicts that still exist within Title IX and how much of a leap we have taken from this act especially women. Conflicts and controversy include Title IX being responsible and holding back men’s collegiate sports and causing universities to drop programs. While men seem to be losing benefits, women are also losing benefits they are not receiving the funds that Title IX states. Regardless of controversy this act has benefited society. Title IX was life changing and has shown significant improvement.
Women and Sports: The Impact of Title IX
Equality wasn’t always an option for women in sports and education. It wasn’t until June 23, 1972 when Title IX was enacted nationwide. Before Title IX was in effect, the ratio of high school girls participating in extracurricular activities were 1:27 (Garber 2002). These numbers seem unrealistic and ridiculous don’t they? Title IX is the reason that the ratio of participants in extracurricular activities for women is now 1:2 (Garber 2002). Women also weren’t even able to attend Universities or even able to be doctors! Something so significant, yet so many people are still unaware of what Title IX is. It has been 40 years since Title IX has been amended but controversy still exist with Title IX. Many people especially sports analyses have argued that women received higher benefits than women, calling it reverse discrimination. Title IX has been mainly headlined in collegiate sports having Universities comply with Title IX and forcing Universities to drop their men’s sports programs. Are they using Title IX as a scapegoat for falling men’s athletic programs? They also argue that at the time Title IX was created the act was too vague and gave women too many advantages. Regardless, this act has changed not only women’s athletics but the face of women forever and for the better. Women have come a far way that includes many benefits that no one thought was possible in 1972.
Title IX, also known as the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act named after its principal author. It is a large portion of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX 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 education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…” In other words, Title IX has allowed women to receive the same benefits as men in the academic field. Though Title IX was originally an act for equal scholarship opportunity, it has mainly been headlined in the collegiate sports department controversy. The controversy includes athletic departments struggling to comply with Title IX since it was written so vague. Numerous sports programs have been dropped to compliance with Title IX. Title IX requires participation in athletics to be equal. For example, if the university is 60% women and 40% men, then athletic participation and scholarships have to be 60% women and 40% men (Darnell 2011). The average university includes 54% female, so athletic participation and scholarship funds must be at least 54% nationwide (Owoc).
James Madison University has recently dropped 7 men’s sports programs in 2006 to comply with Title IX (Darnell 2011). Other programs include Cornell University dropping its fencing program after 98 years, UCLA swimming and diving program that produced 16 gold medalists, and Boston University dropping its football team after 91 years (Owoc). Not only do these people believe that programs been dropped because of it, but programs have yet to emerge because of it. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) defines compliance as a commitment to expanding opportunity for women, and that the school is meeting the athletic needs of its female students. There are very few alternatives to comply with Title IX. NCAA schools find it hard to continue to just add sports due to lack of funds. Many schools still lack football teams because of its larger rosters. A football team generally consist of 60-100 players and if there are 60-100 male football players, there must be at least 60-100 female athletes in an alternative sports.
It has been so difficult for athletic directors because of how Title IX is enforced that they just drop programs completely or refuse to add programs until they are able to raise funds for their athletics. Athletic Directors assign a Title IX coordinator at every school required by law and must keep files and forms available for complains of violation of Title IX that are sent to the Office of Civil Rights. Though the coordinators play a role in getting the complaints sent, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) does not enforce Title IX strongly and rarely takes action. The athletic directors at the school take the most action for Title IX at their local schools. They make decisions of budgets, field time, and most importantly cuts and adding of programs. With the level of competition and athletes rising, athletes will want more options of universities to attend. Programs should continue growing for both men and women. Women have also been affected by Title IX. There are 492 more NCAA women’s sports than men but budgeting is the main issue for Title IX where do those funds go exactly (Watson 2009)? At Duke University, $35 million dollars are spent on their male athletes while $13 million are spent on their female athletes (Beaton, 2012).
Also 60.2% of athlete scholarships are allocated towards their male athletes and the remaining 39.8% are towards their female athletes (Beaton, 2012). Athletic directors are left looking out as the bad guy. “I don’t see this as merely a Title IX issue,” Father Harrington the athletic director of St. John’s University said. “Presuming that Title IX is a good law, any good law embodies justice. For me, as president, when dealing with a student body that’s 58 percent female students, I have to be able to explain to them the allocation of resources, and to allocate resources in a way that’s 65 percent male and 35 percent female, which is what we have, to me, that’s a question of justice” (Suggs 2011). Athletic directors are forced to work with these numbers. Mitch Moser, the athletic director of Duke University, states that the decision on how to spend money across programs is broadly a consideration of how to best benefit every student-athlete. “What I try to do from a financial standpoint, and what we as an institution try to do, is to allocate the resources to each and every program so they can be as absolutely successful as they can be,” he said. Schools are having difficulty keeping the balance between scholarships, number of sports, equal facilities, etc. (Watson 2009).
“That’s why several coaches of cut men’s teams or teams that have been on the chopping block claim that the use of Title IX is becoming an unfair and outdated process” (Watson 2009). There is so much passion in sports and athletics it’s unfair that both genders have to be in constant battle for a balanced budget. Even with controversy, there is no doubt women have come a long way since the early days of Title IX. Sex discrimination has undoubtedly lowered since 1972 and times have changed. As stated before Title IX the ratio for women to play sports in was 1:27; today it is 1:2 (Garber 2002). Benefits have only risen for women, the number of women collegiate teams have nearly doubled in the past 20 years (Garber 2002). Women even now have their own set of professional sports now, tennis, volleyball, and soccer. Howard University women’s lacrosse team displays the great march that women have taken since Title IX has been enacted.
“We’ve come so far, and it’s changed our country and certainly changed the opportunities for women in the country, ”says Karen Morrison, director of gender initiatives at the NCAA, echoing the sentiments of other Title IX advocates who expanded intercollegiate athletics opportunities for women with boosting their professional lives beyond college (Stuart 2011). “Thirty years ago our culture suffered from a stereotyping of women that seems almost laughable now,” Troy Dannen the athletic director said from his Iowa office. “Those stereotypes still exist in aspects of society, but they are nowhere near as prevalent” (Watson 2009).
In conclusion, it has been 40 years since Title IX has been enacted and issues still exist. Some issues include Title IX as a scapegoat for lack of funds for athletic departments and stating that men’s programs have actually been dropped, many of them being track and field, and even America’s past time baseball. Title IX was enacted in 1970’s, and times have changed since then. Discrimination is at a much lower rate than it was in the 70’s. Women’s professional sports now include tennis, volleyball and soccer, which was not even a possibility back then. I personally believe that if Title IX made minor adjustments it would be able to possess growth for both men and women. Athletics are a major part of many people’s lives and most importantly dreams. This act has changed not only women’s athletics but the face of women forever and for the better. Sports place a major impact in most of our lives, whether it is watching it or playing it, and everyone would love to see it grow.
Beaton, Andrew (2012, February 23). How Duke complies with Title IX today. Retrieved from
http://www.dukechronicle.com/article/how-duke-complies-title-ix-today Darnell, Claire & Petersen, Jeffrey. (2011 February). Eliminating sports for Title IX compliance. JOPERD – The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 82.2, 9-10. Retrieved from Academic OneFile Database Garber, Greg (2002, June 22). Landmark Law faces new challenges even now. Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/gen/womenandsports/020619title9.html Owoc, Karen (n.d.). Title IX and Its Effect on Men’s Collegiate Athletics. Retrieved from http://usa-sports.org/TitleIX.pdf Stuart, Reginald (2011, March). The March toward equity: Title IX advocates reflect on progress 40 years after landmark law is passed. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 29.2, 16. Retrieved from Academic OneFile Database Suggs, Welch (2011, April). Budget Problems and Title IX Spur Sports Cutbacks at 3 Colleges. The Chronicle of High Education, 49.18, 1. Retrieved from Academic OneFile Database Watson, Graham (2009, July 14). Title IX put schools in conundrum. Retrieved from http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=4326021