Intercollegiate Athletics and Title IX
Research paper by Michael Lancaster
Since Title IX’s inception in 1972 there is no question that the legislation has considerably advanced women’s intercollegiate athletics. Title IX of the education amendment of 1972 was designed and established as an anti-discrimination measure guaranteeing that no one would be excluded from federally assisted programs and activities regardless of gender.
As Title IX passes through its 33rd year of existence it is important to examine the other side of the equal opportunity argument that the legislation is supposed to promote. During this time frame in which strides have been made in women’s athletics, men’s athletic programs have generally suffered. More than 400 men’s athletic teams have been eliminated as a result of Universities needing to become NCAA compliant. The sports worst hit have been low revenue Olympic sports such as wrestling, swimming and track and field. This is a disturbing trend that was never intended when Title IX was introduced.
Clearly this is grossly unfair to males as more males are interested in competing in collegiate sports than women. The law would be much fairer if it took into account that the ratio of men and women who wish to participate in collegiate sports at the intercollegiate level, rather than the whole undergraduate student body which is now made up of 54% female students. When Title IX was first introduced women were the underrepresented sex in the classroom.
Thirty three years have passed since Title IX’s inception and society has changed drastically since then. As society changes, laws should change as well. They should evolve over the years and be most fair and relevant at all times. Title IX laws in regards to intercollegiate athletics needs to evolve. The law has achieved what it set out to do and is now only hurting the opportunities for male athletes.
It is my belief that the regulations binding NCAA athletic programs in regards to Title IX restrictions should be modified. It is very clear that any program with a football team struggles to meet Title IX compliancy. An NCAA football program must have at minimum of 65 full athletic scholarships and no women’s sport comes close to that number. Because of this, no team, men’s or women’s, should not have to suffer. The highest number of athletic scholarships that can be offered for a women’s team is 18 for women’s crew. This is not comparable to a men’s football program that has to offer more than three times the amount of athletic scholarships.
It would be more reasonable if Universities with a football program did not have to comply with Title IX laws in the same manner that Universities without a football program do. The law should be changed to limit football programs overbearing influence within Title IX restrictions. Either take football programs out of the equation, or have every third athlete count as one athlete on a football team. In this situation everyone is happy. Women’s programs will continue to grow, and the lower revenue sports such as wrestling and swimming will not have to be cut as a result of the University having a football team.
This paper is in ten parts: This is part ten: