Title IX Laws and Intercollegiate Athletics
Research paper by Michael Lancaster
In 2002, the Independent Women’s Forum conducted a study based on equity not only in sports but also throughout the college campuses. After the study was done, they came to discover that if the courts required gender parity across the board, 96.4 percent of all female cheerleaders would have to be dropped from the cheerleading programs, 35.8 percent of female choir members, and 25.4 percent of female orchestra members would be cut. Also, 33 percent of female debaters would also be denied the chance to compete (Independent Women’s Forum 2003).
In June of 2002, the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) filed a lawsuit against Title IX. Later, members of the College Gymnastics Coaches Association, the U.S. Track Coaches Association, and United States Diving Association joined in the fight against Title IX. The groups sued in federal court by charging the Board of Education with reverse discrimination. The NWCA made claims that college sports such as track and field, wrestling, and swimming programs for men were being jeopardized due to false interpretations of Title IX. The NWCA failed in its attempt to have Title IX laws changed in regard to intercollegiate athletics (Cook 2004).
In 1972 there was a mere 30,000 women participating in intercollegiate athletics. At present there are more than 160,000 competing female athletes. In the last 20 years female intercollegiate athletic participation has increased by more than 80 percent, with a 66 percent increase in female athletic teams (Lapchick 2003).
There has been much protest over the elimination of men’s teams over the years that has seen many cases in the courts. The courts have adopted substantial proportionality—which says that the ratio of female-to-male varsity athletes must closely mirror the ratio of female-to-male undergraduate students—as the only Title IX enforcement mechanism. Some affected athletes have challenged such results with litigation of their own; to date, every case has lost in the courtroom (Oraker 2002).
The U.S. Department of Education announced July 11, 2003 that it is committed to a policy of “continuing the progress that Title IX has brought toward true equality of opportunity for male and female student-athletes in America.” The statement also said that the Department of Education will view the elimination of men’s teams as a “disfavored practice” for achieving Title IX compliance. No changes will be made to the current three-pronged test for Title IX compliance (Reynolds 2003).
This paper is in 10 parts. This is part 9.