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Title Ix

In: Social Issues

Submitted By katiehiggs9
Words 2712
Pages 11
Katie Higgins
Mr. Mishou
English IV
12 April 2013
Title IX “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” (Primer). These thirty-seven words make up the civil rights law Title IX, which is widely known for reforming athletics, although it is never directly mentioned. First, the detailed history shows how many people worked rigorously to get the law passed. Furthermore, Title IX’s numerous tests show how verify schools complying with the law. Lastly, Title IX has increased the participation of women in athletics significantly over the past forty years. Title IX, the controversial federal civil rights act, has shaped athletics to how they are today by creating equal opportunities for female athletes.
Flashback forty-one years to before Title IX changed the lives girls and women forever. Girls were not encouraged to play sports at a young and scholarships were not available for women to play athletics in college. People like Pat Summitt, arguably one of the best women’s basketball coaches ever, was not receiving fair treatment while playing collegiate basketball. In 1972, before Title IX was signed, Summitt played basketball for the University of Tennessee-Martin. The team was given uniforms that were used in the Physical Education classes and placed numbers on the back with tape. Also, when the team traveled to away games, they stayed the night in their opponent’s gym and slept on sleeping bags (Soup). Little did the athletes know, their lives would drastically change for the better the following year. Assuredly, Title IX was not drafted in one night. It took many people numerous hours and a lot of passion to bring this law to life. Bernice “Bunny” Sandler first thought of the idea for law after she was denied tenure for being “too strong for a woman” (Wulf). She then reached out to members of Congress and drew the attention Edith Green, who happened to be the committee chair of Education in the House of Representatives. With the help of Green, other key supporters were brought into play such as Congresswoman Patsy T. Mink and Senator Birch Bayh. Green was very strategic when writing the bill to make sure nothing was too controversial to draw too much unwanted attention. This scheme was successful and the bill passed in the House of Representatives, 218-180 (Wulf). Bayh, who is most commonly known as the “grandfather of Title IX” said, “I may have put my words on the piece of paper, but those who made Title IX come alive are the coaches and the players and the parents. All of them participate in giving their daughters the same opportunities as their sons” (What It Means). President Richard Nixon signed the law on June 23rd, 1972. When most think of Title IX today, they only think of athletics. The strange this is, the actual Title IX law that was signed by President Nixon never once mentioned athletics (Goldman). The law does state that there must be equality in all educational activities, which is where athletics fall. They writers of Title IX originally set out to create equality in schools and in the workplace. In fact, the writers claimed that athletics was actually an afterthought for them (Wulf). CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus is a strong advocate of Title IX and recently said:
Though the original statute had no explicit mention of sports, since its passing into law in 1972, Title IX has become best known for its impact on leveling the playing field for young women in high school and collegiate athletics. The opportunities that it created, the doors it helped open and the positive effects it has had on generations of girls is its lasting legacy. Throughout the past 40 years, leagues were formed, tournaments created and champions were born. (40th Anniversary)
Title IX may not have been drafted with athletics in mind, but forty-one years later, it is undoubtedly most popular because of athletics.
Assuredly, a law with this much importance has numerous rules and regulations that must be followed at all times. Title IX was created to prohibit discrimination in all education programs and activities that receive Federal funding. As it was stated before, Title IX is applied to athletics because it is considered an educational activity. This affects all public and private high schools as well as public and private universities (Primer). Although these institutions define themselves as private, they still receive some sort of Federal funding, which makes them required to abide by Title IX. One of the requirements of Title IX is to have a certified Title IX compliance coordinator. Contrary to popular belief, Title IX does not apply to fraternities or sororities as well as volunteer organizations such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts (Goldman). Organizations like these receive no Federal funding, thus excluding them from Title IX. At large institutions it is normal to have person in solely in charge of handling Title IX, whereas in smaller institutions, it is popular to have an activities director become certified in Title IX. Because it is one of the most important civil rights laws and applies to millions of Americans, Title IX has numerous tests to prove absolute compliance. A three-prong test was created assure that no school could avert Title IX. The three areas include participation, athletic financial assistance, and treatment. Each school must achieve the specific standards set within these three categories. First, opportunities for participation must be available for all students. Within this test, it must prove proportionality of athletes, the ratio of male to female participants. Also, it must demonstrate the history and continuing practice of program expansion for the underrepresented sex (Standard Language). This test is the reason why most schools add different sports. They must prove they are actively trying to get more participation from the sex with a lower participation rate, which are typically females. Lastly, schools must prove they are effectively accommodating interests and abilities of their students. In other words, they must prove they are “providing opportunities for individuals of each sex to participate in sports as well as provide those individuals with competitive team schedules” (Standard Language). Schools must be compliant to each of these to prove they are providing equal participation. Secondly, schools must provide athletes with equal financial assistance, meaning scholarships. Athletic financial assistance is the only dollar for dollar expenditure requirement (Primer). The total amount of scholarships for both men and women must be exactly proportionate. This means if there is $500,000 in the athletic budget for scholarships, $250,000 must be given to men and women. From there, it is the universities decision for how many scholarships are given to each sport, following the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) standards. Since this rule is designated for athletics financial assistance only, funding for programs do not have to be equal, but a significant gap can lead to non-compliance in other areas (Standard Language). However, in the year 2012, female athletes received $183 million less in scholarships that male athletes did (Myths). This shows there are institutions that still do not follow all of the rules Title IX requires. The third, and final, categorical test for Title IX is treatment of athletes. This test is most commonly known as the “laundry list” because of all of the areas it covers. Although spending must not be equal, it must be proportionate for the number of athletes who are men and women. This most commonly looks at the spending on practice and competition facilities, equipment, coaching, schedule of games and practices, recruiting allowances, and travel allowances (Standard Language). It is often thought that the sport that creates the most revenue should receive the most money, but only a surprising 12% of college athletic programs actually make a profit (Myths). It is because of this test that athletic budgets can be broken down to distribute the money more evenly. Though these three tests are very detailed, the punishment for failing any one of these tests is quite simply the removal of federal funds. If the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) finds a penalty for non-compliance, the punishment is the withdrawal of all federal funds that institution is receiving (Primer). The OCR does routinely checks with the institution but anyone is allowed to file a complaint against the university. If a complaint is filed, the OCR is required to investigate it. The punishment may seem very extreme, but it assuredly gets that point across that Title IX is incredibly important to follow. Nobody denies sports have been forever changed by Title IX, just look at the 2012 London Olympics. For the first time, more women than men participated, even though there were thirty fewer events for women (Winchester). Also, women made up more than half of the medal count for the United States of America, not to mention the numerous gold medals they added. If Title IX had never been passed back in 1972, American women would have never had the chance to get involved in sports and compete in the Olympic games. Not only do athletics promote a healthy lifestyle, but they also lower risks for women and increase their productivity in school. Donna Lopiano, President of Sports Management Resources stated:
The Title IX legacy to date is impressive: 3.1 million girls participating in high school sports, 300,000 girls playing varsity sports in junior and senior colleges and universities, and over 15 million girls participating in youth sports, representing 35 percent to 43 percent of all participants in these categories, up from 5 percent to 8 percent of all participants 40 years ago. These gains among girls and young adults have resulted in increased physical activity in adult women and benefits to females that include lower risks for breast cancer, heart disease, teen pregnancy, smoking, drug use, obesity and other health conditions, and greater gains in high school grades, high school graduation, college matriculation, employment and career success compared to nonparticipants. (40th Anniversary)
The gap between the number of girls and boys participating for sports will forever be hard to close due to the popularity of football and girls having no sport that is equally popular (Toporek). John Johnson, communication director for Michigan High School Athletic Association, said, “It’s not necessarily a number, although if everything was fifty-fifty, that would be the proverbial perfect world” (Toporek). Johnson also believes that many schools are maximizing the opportunities for both genders. Just like Johnson said, it isn’t necessarily the number, it is the increasing interest and participation that shows Title IX is achieving what it was meant to.
Before Title IX, it is doubtful that people dreamt of playing in the Final Four, winning gold at the Summer or Winter Olympics, or even playing basketball professionally. Today, children grow up dreaming of competing in all of these things because they know one day it could be reality. Collegiate women’s sports have gone from receiving 2% of the athletic budget in 1971 to now receiving upwards of 40% (Vitez). Girls playing high school sports have jumped a whopping 1079% from 1971, while boys have only increased 22% (Wulf). At some schools, women’s sports teams are more successful than the men’s and take up more of the spotlight, which is becoming more and more usual. Recently, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team set the world record for most Division I games won in a row at 90 games. Although the men’s basketball team is popular, the women’s team is better known. Papillion La-Vista South, a large sized school in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska, has won girl’s state volleyball three years in a row and has also been crowned national champions by several websites two years in a row. The school is now most recognized for their girl’s volleyball program. The generation of female athletes today has never known anything different than being able to play sports. Head Women’s Basketball Coach at the University of Notre Dame, Muffet McGraw, said, “Players today expect that it’s going to be equal. And I think that’s a really good thing, that they expect they’re going to be treated the same as the guy” (What It Means). Equality for women in sports has become a way of life.
When Title IX was first signed, the American public was not very supportive of the law. Society was not used to women competing in athletics, advancing in careers, or being treated equally. Fortunately, American’s have learned to adapt and treat women equally. In a 2003 survey, 83% of the American population said they support Title IX (Myths). Women competing in sports have become a way of life for Americans and Title IX is often forgotten. Herb Dempsey, a seventy-five year old retired teacher, has dedicated his life to supporting Title IX. He uses Google Earth to spot run down facilities to file complaints to the OCR about women’s sports teams being neglected for the past twenty years (Goldman). Dempsey said, “When you use my tax money to enforce your bias, and when your bias is a sexist pig’s bias, then you and I are going to a barbecue pit!” (Goldman). An exact number of programs Dempsey has been able to assist is unknown, but his continuing support of Title IX is definitely making a difference for women athletes.
Title IX may seem like it has been working smoothly for the past forty-one years, but unfortunately there are major threats to Title IX’s existence. Threats have even come from the highest power in the United States, the commander-in-chief and their administration. In 2005, the Bush Administration said it was acceptable to survey girls’ interest in athletics via email (Toporek). The schools could then determine the interest by the responses, or lack of responses, they received. This practice is unjust because schools are able to use the lack of responses to their advantage to say the girls are not interested in sports. Fortunately, the Obama Administration repealed this survey tactic in 2010 and now requires school to thoroughly assess the students’ interest (Toporek). Under the Obama Administration, Title IX will continue to be protected.
The past forty-one years have been major women athletes, but unfortunately men’s sports have taken numerous hits. More than three hundred Division I men’s programs have been cut in the last decade (Vitez). In the eyes of most, Title IX is to blame, but it is unethical to blame Title IX for institution’s decisions, such as cutting sports (Toporek). Nowhere in Title IX does not state that men’s sports must be cut to meet the requirements. Sports such as wrestling, men’s gymnastics men’s rowing are the most common sports to be cut first. The final decision of eliminating sports is decided by the institution. Lisa Maatz, a policy adviser for the American Association of University Women said:
If the universities are having an arms race to have the nicest stadium or biggest loge boxes for basketball and football, and they decide to put their money there instead of into these smaller sports, that’s not a Title IX issue. Administrations don’t want to take the heat from their student body, so they say it’s just Title IX. (Vitez)
Many teams or associations have filed court cases claiming their sports have been cut due to Title IX. Most of the cases have proved that it is not Title IX’s fault, rather the actual institutions fault. Title IX, the controversial federal civil rights act, has shaped athletics to how they are today by creating equal opportunities for female athletes. First, Title IX unintentional effect on athletics has affected the lives of millions throughout the years. Additionally, the three-prong test assures all schools are fully compliant with Title IX. Finally, Title IX influences many today by creating the opportunity for all to be involved in athletics. Olympic softball player Jennie Finch, whose life was greatly affected by Title IX, stated, “It’s so important to educate and share that these opportunities are being taken away if we don’t keep pushing and breaking down barriers and fighting” (What It Means).

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