Title IX has recently come back into the conversation of college athletics with campaigns such as the “Nine for IX” documentaries and “The Power of IX” features on ESPN noting the 40th anniversary of the landmark law.
As a female student athlete, I owe my ability to play collegiate athletics to the law, but Title IX is inherently flawed.
While the law demands equality, it unwittingly creates inequality.
Under Title IX, colleges and universities are required to provide the same amount of athletic opportunities or roster positions to both genders. This is only fair, right? Not quite.
And ironically, men’s athletics are on the receiving end of the unjustness.
Most schools have more women’s sports than men’s sports because they need to create more roster spots to keep up with the upwards of one hundred football roster spots that men fill. There is no women’s sport equivalent to football in terms of sheer number of players on a team.
Because of this, there are three significant consequences at most colleges: 1. women’s rosters on similar team sports tend to be larger than men’s; 2. there are fewer men’s sports programs; and 3. men’s sports programs are the first to be cut in order to keep the number of athletes “equal” between men and women.
Last year the University of Richmond men’s track and field and men’s soccer programs were both cut in favor of making men’s lacrosse a varsity sport. Rather than creating a fair amount of opportunities, the athletes on both the track and field and soccer teams were stripped of their athletic opportunities.
The solution? Schools shouldn’t have to count football toward the Title IX regulations. They should match the other men’s and women’s roster spots based on the rest of a school’s sports.
At Virginia Tech this could allow sports such as men’s lacrosse to become a varsity level sport, which it duly deserves. Our men’s club lacrosse team has finished in the top 25 of club lacrosse teams for at least the last seven years with three top 15 finishes.
As an ACC school, creating a men’s lacrosse team should be a priority for Tech, seeing as the ACC is the best lacrosse conference in the country.
Title IX has paved the way for women’s equality in athletics, yet it is still important to look at how the law is affecting the whole population of student athletes.
Men’s athletics shouldn’t suffer for the sole benefit of women’s athletics.