Title IX Laws and Intercollegiate Athletics

Research Paper by Michael Lancaster

The topic of Title IX laws and how it affects intercollegiate athletics really interests me as I have a strong background in sports as an athlete and an administrator. I have had the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Division I level at Nicholls State University and Highpoint University for track and cross-country.

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. There is no longer a men’s track and cross-country program at Nicholls State University due to Title IX laws. As a result, I transferred to California State University, Monterey Bay, where I was offered an athletic scholarship. Without the athletic scholarship offered by California State University, Monterey Bay, I would not be able to afford to attend university. Many of my teammates from Nicholls State did not find new schools to attend, and many had to drop out of university altogether because they could not pay the required fees to attend university.

With this experience, I have had a strong interest to find the reasoning as to why men’s athletic programs at university were cut when this amendment was made to provide equal opportunity. Many experts argue that although the law has bridged the gender gap, there is still much work to be done and that women are still not given an equal opportunity. Others believe that Title IX has certainly done its intended job so well that it has now caused reverse sexism. This research paper will thoroughly examine both sides and find if Title IX is truly providing equal opportunity or if Title IX is outdated and forcing many male collegiate athletes to suffer their chances to compete and attend university.

History of Title IX

Before Title IX had evolved, “[. . . ] fewer than 300,000 girls participated in high school sports, about one in 27” (Garber 2005). Women in academics were strongly discriminated against. For example, the wife of former U.S senator Birch Bayh, a sponsor of Title IX in 1972, was denied admission to the University of Virginia before 1970 due to the Virginia State Law that prohibited women from entering the university. Along with women being denied entrance into university, women were also unable to have access to financial aid and graduate programs such as computer engineering, medicine, and law. Women were forced to have higher test scores than their male classmates in order to make it into universities, and women received half the amount of scholarships than men did, which were valued less than 50 percent than the scholarships that were offered to males (Johnson 2002).

Since 1972, the year Title IX  was signed into law, United States had experienced a major transformation when the law had become a part of the education amendment: Title 20 USC, sections 1681–1688. As Title IX ensures legal protection against sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace and school grounds, this law also played a major role in high school and intercollegiate sports (Valentin 1997).

This paper is in 10 parts. This is part 1.

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 5: There is nothing in Title IX or its policies that require schools to cut or reduce men’s opportunities in order to be Title IX compliant.

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.

Title IX: Teaching girls is more than just a game.

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