Equal rights for women in sports may soon be an idea of the past if recommended changes to Title IX are accepted.
Passed in 1972, Title IX prohibits gender discrimination in programs that receive federal funds by requiring that there be equal participation by both men and women in sports. Only those programs with an equal ratio of male and female athletes are eligible to receive scholarship funds.
Last month a Title IX panel composed of coaches, athletic directors, and leaders re-examined Title IX and presented a report to Rod Paige, US education secretary. The report resulted from complaints that men’s programs such as wrestling, water polo, and gymnastics are being phased out for women’s sports.
The main issue concerning critics, which was also raised in the report is the unfairness to male athletes in sports with small female attendance. These sports aren’t given scholarship money because of the gap in the male to female ratio.
Mike Moyers, a member of the panel and the executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, said in a USA Today article, that he believes the inability of some colleges to meet mandatory equal ratio of female to male participation in sports is a major reason why colleges are forced to cut men’s minor sports. “We had hoped to see proportionality abolished altogether,” he said.
The reports suggest that the mandatory 50:50 ratio of male to female athletes should be changed in order for colleges to receive their fair share of scholarship money.
However, the Women’s Sports Foundation said that Title IX does not ask for men’s sports to be cut in order to have women’s teams. They said many men’s sports had been cut because of low revenue.
There is a fear that changes will weaken Title IX entirely. Themy-Jo Adachi, Director of Athletics at Mills, brought up the concern that even changes which seem minor will cause huge impacts.
Liz Terry, sports information director, said she did not have any female athlete role models as a child. Tittle IX has had a huge effect on women in sports. “Today kids have professional women athletes to look up to, and in some cases, such as tennis, women athletes are more popular than men,” she said.
Sophomore Leah Yanoff, soccer player, disagrees with the idea that Title IX is taking away from men’s sports. “There are people who complain that Title IX has meant the cutting of men’s programs such as lacrosse or rugby, but the reality is, no program is going to be 100% effective. With the good comes the bad. And boys’ football teams still get preferential treatment over girls’ teams, so Title IX has been more good than bad,” she said.