Title IX and Football Scholarships

This chart represents the total number of men and women participating in athletic programs in universities from 1988–2004. As women’s percentile rose, men’s programs decreased (NCAA.org 2005).

There is nothing in Title IX or its policies that requires schools to cut or reduce men’s opportunities in order to be Title IX compliant. On a positive note for Title IX, GAO data confirm that 72 percent of colleges and universities that have added women’s teams have done so without cutting any teams for men (United States General Accounting Office, GAO 2001).

As Marcia Greenberger from the National Women’s Law Center notes, “400 men’s teams have been eliminated; it is worth noting that even more men’s teams have been added in the same span. Soccer has gained well more than 100 programs, and the big-budget sport of football has seen 39 teams born in the last decade alone. Since 1980, there have been 1½ men’s programs added for every two women’s programs added” (Greenberger 2002).

One group called Save Title IX has addressed on their website www.savetitleix.com many myths pertaining to Title IX laws. One myth that has been strongly argued by experts is that Title IX laws force schools to cut men’s sports. Title IX in no way requires schools to cut men’s sports. Some schools have decided, with no outside persuasion, to eliminate certain men’s sports, like gymnastics and wrestling, rather than controlling bloated football and basketball budgets, which consume 72 percent of the average Division I-A school’s total men’s athletic operating budget. For example, San Diego State University decided to address its $2 million budget deficit by cutting the men’s volleyball team instead of cutting slightly into the $5 million football budget (savetitleix.com 2005).

“Title IX doesn’t say anything about schools having to cut back,” quotes Greenberger. “The lessons of history are clear: colleges and universities are cutting wrestling teams not because of Title IX, but because they prefer to pour money into football and basketball” (Greenberger 2002).

Along with Greenberger, there are many people who agree that Title IX is not to blame. However, it is the universities who are to blame for cutting men’s program. A few examples are members of the National Organization for Women commenting on issues of Title IX:

“When they do cut a men’s team, I want them to be honest and straight with why they are cutting that team,” said Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a former swimming star and an assistant professor of law. “It is not because of Title IX; it is because of a budget decision that they made. To say that you can’t afford men’s minor sports is ridiculous.”

“Title IX is not the problem,” says Donna Lopiano, executive director of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “If it disappeared tomorrow, the practical effect would be that men’s and women’s sports would be cut to fuel the appetites of football and basketball.”

Men’s teams are not the only ones that are being cut. Women’s teams have also suffered cuts over the last 20 years. For example, the number of schools sponsoring women’s gymnastics dropped from 190 in 1981–82 to 90 in 1998–99—a decline of more than 50 percent (National Organization for Women 2005).

As women’s teams are becoming a bigger asset to universities’ sports programs, the playing field is far from level for female athletes, despite Title IX’s considerable successes. Women’s athletics programs still lag behind men’s programs. While 53 percent of the students at Division I schools are women, female athletes in Division I receive only:

41% of the opportunities to play intercollegiate sports
42% of the total athletic scholarship dollars
36% of the athletic operating budgets
32% of the dollars spent to recruit new athletes (Gardner 2001)

This paper is in 10 parts. This is part 5.

Part 1: Unfortunately, I had my scholarship as well as my fellow male teammates’ scholarships cut at Nicholls State University so that the athletic program would be NCAA Title IX compliant.

Part 2: Nearly every educational institution is a recipient of federal funds and thus is required to comply with Title IX (NCAA 2005).

Part 3: According to NCAA.org, athletics programs are considered educational programs and activities.

Part 4: Since Title IX’s inception in 1972, women and girls have made great strides in obtaining gender equity not only in the classroom but also on the playing field.

Part 6: The results clearly show that women are still not receiving an equal opportunity as their male counterparts.

Part 7: Women’s rowing provided athletic directors an opportunity to help in trying to save male programs.

Part 8: Many other universities face a dilemma when economic reality and Title IX collide head-on.

Part 9: There has been much protest over the elimination of men’s teams over the years that has seen many cases in the courts.

Part 10: The law should be changed to limit football programs’ overbearing influence within Title IX restrictions.

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