The NCAA has developed an amazing tradition of excellence in women’s sports and has a reputation for producing world class athletes comparable to no other collegiate athletic association across the world. The success of female athletes academically, athletically and in their lives comes from their college experience — made possible in most cases by financial aid and a certain law called Title IX.
It is beyond my understanding how people can have any criticism toward the law that has created gender equality in college sports.
The highly disputed Title IX law requires colleges to prove they are providing female and male athletes with equal opportunities to participate in varsity NCAA sports. Without this law in place, women would clearly have fewer opportunities to compete and therefore succeed in what they love to do.
Athletic administrations can hardly argue they would fund non-profitable female sports — or male sports, for that matter — without this regulation. They would focus on more stadium-filling and money-making sports, neglecting everything that having athletic diversity on a campus has to offer.
Schools can prove compliance with this law in one of three ways. The first is by providing athletic opportunities proportionate to ratios of gender enrollment at the institution. The second and third simply involve showing a history of expanding programs for the underrepresented sex and accommodating the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex.
Based on these guidelines, there is no reason schools cannot fairly create equal opportunity for females without removing male opportunity. Some institutions, however, find themselves cutting male sports teams to properly comply with guideline No. 1. I agree this isn’t the right solution.
However, the basis of the problem is not in Title IX itself.
These simple regulations that make female and male opportunity equal in college sports are argued against by many male advocacy groups claiming the laws are actually limiting male opportunity. These groups shouldn’t be challenging Title IX itself, but instead how universities choose to handle these regulations.
Yes, some schools cut male sports teams in order to reach compliant participation ratios. This action, however, is not mandated anywhere in Title IX. Simply adding female opportunity would solve the problem, creating equal opportunity for all without denying anyone opportunity.
The problem is not with the law but how schools are choosing to comply with it.
Letter to the Editor