Jul 16, 2008, 08:40AM

Title IX Continues Its Wrath

36 years after its passing, Title IX remains in controversy today. As lower revenue sports are being cut left and right to appease the gender equality quota, several athletes are rising in protest. This columnist from the University of Texas argues that the answer to the problem could lie in the biggest money-maker in the NCAA: football.

When it was first signed into law in 1972, the now infamous Title IX's expressed purpose was to ensure that "no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity." Aside from its extremely broad scope, the law appears to be justified. Few would disagree that schools and universities should treat the genders equally. But there's nothing fair about "equality" when school administrators decide to become the referee. Ask James Madison University's men's track team or the University of Oregon's wrestling squad, both of which likely competed for the last time this year.

The most damaging aspect of Title IX is the use of quotas and proportionality that handcuff athletic departments. As it has been interpreted, Title IX requires schools to allocate scholarships in equal proportion to the student body. Essentially, for every male scholarship athlete, there must be a parallel female scholarship athlete.

What supporters of these quotas fail, or choose not, to recognize is the innate social and physical differences between men and women, namely that young men are more likely to gravitate towards physical sports than young women. Fewer athletic scholarships for men means those scholarships left become much more competitive, while an increase in the number of positions for women makes obtaining a scholarship easier.

Supporters of Title IX say it is not the law's illogical quotas that are to blame. Many point to enormous men's football programs as the scapegoat. The average Division 1-A football team has 114 players, and though some of these players may be non-scholarship "walk-ons," many more are at the school on scholarship. While sports such as basketball and soccer can field men's and women's teams with equal numbers, there is not a women's equivalent for football in terms of roster size. For every D-1 football program, a university must field two to three women's teams to compensate. Given the option of adding 100+ scholarships and three or more new women's teams, or simply cutting two men's sports, a cash-strapped athletic department will usually choose the latter. However, there is a more reasonable solution to the issue: Take football out of the equation.


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