Friday, December 2, 2011

Diversity Policy Failure: Title IX (Part I)

Title IX was a federal statute that passed in 1973 and it states the following:

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...

—United States Code Section 20

Title IX, like most laws, makes sense on the surface. In fact, in this day and age, it is sad that a law like Title IX is still being enforced. And like most laws the implementation and enforcement of Title IX has been a major issue. Although there is no mention of sports in the law, Title IX has been most influential in defining both high school and college athletics. Federal judges and school administrators have interpreted Title IX to mean that the number of male and female athletes competing in high school and college sports must be equal. Otherwise, they concluded, the school is discriminating against female athletes. This is not only absurd, but it is ridiculous.

Today, many male athletic teams are becoming obsolete at both the high school and college level. For instance, rugby, gymnastics, wrestling, water polo, and volleyball have seen their Division I representation dwindle each year. There are merely 15 Division I rugby teams in college and 16 men’s gymnastics squads (there are nearly 350 Division I basketball teams). In the past several decades the number of Division I men’s volleyball and wrestling teams have decreased substantially. The end result is there is less opportunity for high school boys in athletics and therefore, fewer opportunities for them to attend college. Title IX means fewer scholarships and therefore; fewer academic opportunities for males. And the end result is that United States Olympic performance in these events has also seen a dramatic decline. The U.S. was once a powerhouse in volleyball and wrestling, but this is no longer true. Is this fair? Is this law really making males and females equal in terms of athletic participation? No, it is another bad attempt by bureaucrats to level the playing field between men and women.

What’s worse is that the Title IX law has nothing to do with money. Even if male athletic teams raised the money to compete, Title IX will not let them. And if that is not bad enough, judges have ruled that women cheerleaders do not count as female athletes under Title IX. What judges and administrators claim is that all men and women’s sporting events are equally challenging. This is not true; men’s gymnastics are much different than women’s gymnastics. Women compete in four events, meanwhile men compete in 6 events and only two events overlap. Men’s wrestling matches are longer than women’s matches. Men’s baseball games are 2 innings longer than women’s softball games. This is not equality under Title IX; in fact, most men’s athletic games are much more demanding.

Because of Title IX, many Division I college participants in particular sporting events are vastly different. For instance, Division I wrestling schools include many universities that are Division II in other sports (Lock Haven, Clarion, Bloomsburg, Edinboro, North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Campbell, Gardner Webb, Liberty, Lehigh, Bucknell, Binghamton, Hofstra, Sacred Heart, and Utah Valley to name a few). Not one Southeastern Conference school has a wrestling team. This is true in most men sports that are in jeopardy of becoming absolute due to Title IX. For instance, Rutgers-Newark is one of the few Division I men’s volleyball teams. A major university, such as Tennessee, cannot support Division I wrestling and volleyball teams and still comply with Title IX interpretations even though Tennessee has the resources to support these teams.

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1 comment:

  1. Good post, Patrick!

    Liberal policies always have unintended consequences because they ignore facts and human nature.