What’s True and False About Title IX
FALSE: Opponents of the quota system (proportionality) are men trying to erase Title IX gains, arguing that resources should go to more deserving male athletes rather than to women.
TRUE: Opponents of Prong 1 of the Title IX Three-Prong Test are equally women and men. The women are mothers, competitive athletes, former athletes, attorneys, college administrators, coaches, judges, referees, sports fans, friends and families. They are not vying for favoritism, but for fairness.
As stated clearly in the law, no one should be required to grant preferences to women or discriminate against men in order to correct a gender “imbalance” in their programs. A Title IX gap, Congress said in 1972, is acceptable as long as it is not a product of sex discrimination. Which sex is not specified; the law applies equally to men and women. However, due to judicial misinterpretations of the 1979 Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Interpretation, the original intent of the law has been distorted.
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FALSE: Title IX only applies to females.
TRUE: Under Title IX, males and females are expected to receive fair and equal treatment in all arenas of public schooling (such as health services, counseling, employment, etc).
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FALSE: Title IX only applies to athletics.
TRUE: The law prevails upon all curricular and extracurricular offerings from medicine, math and science to music, dance and athletics. In 1975 the final regulation of Title IX was signed into law by President Ford and included provisions prohibiting sex discrimination specifically in athletics. The regulations pertaining to athletics require that a recipient which sponsors interscholastic, intercollegiate, club or intramural athletics shall provide “equal athletic opportunity” for members of both sexes.
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FALSE: Title IX was not intended to accommodate the athletic interests and abilities of students, but to provide athletic opportunities proportionate to the makeup of the student body.
TRUE: Title IX requires:
“institutions to accommodate effectively the interests and abilities of students to the extent necessary to provide equal opportunity in the selection of sports offered and levels of competition available to members of both sexes”
To use a base measurement to determine “effective accommodation of student interests and abilities” with no regard to the students’ actual interest and abilities, and thereby mandate, an unsupported and static determination of interest and ability through a quota system is contrary to the intent of Title IX.
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FALSE: Title IX does not pressure schools to drop men’s sports programs.
TRUE: The OCR enforcement policy does not require or encourage schools to cut men’s teams to establish compliance with Title IX, BUT the federal courts have set this precedent by their judicial interpretations and decisions.
In the pivotal, precedent-setting gender-based discrimination lawsuit, Cohen v. Brown University, the federal courts’ interpretations of Title IX validated the Three-Prong Effective Accommodation Test promoting a quota system which has changed how Title IX dictates the way college athletics should be run.
The federal courts’ interpretations of Title IX require women’s interests and abilities to be met at a higher degree than those of men and as a result, an unconstitutional quota system was created out of Prong 1 that nullifies men’s equal protection rights. Universities have attempted to comply with Title IX legislation by creating, upgrading or reinstating women’s teams; however, they have done so by eliminating men’s teams.
Many of the courts have held that Prong 1 (quota system) of the Three-Prong Effective Accommodation Test carries the most weight in the analysis of compliance:
- Cohen v. Brown University Plaintiffs: Members of Brown’s women’s varsity gymnastics and volleyball teams (1992)
- Roberts v. Colorado State University Plaintiffs: Members of CSU’s women’s varsity fast pitch softball team (1992)
- Favia v. Indiana University of Pennsylvania Plaintiffs: 3 members of IUP’s women’s gymnastics team and 1 member of field hockey team (1992)
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FALSE: The caliber of all U.S. women’s programs has been elevated as a result of Title IX.
TRUE: Title IX has ironically harmed some women’s programs. According to UCLA Head Swim Coach Cyndi Gallagher, “When we had a men’s team, we were always in the top 10.” It wasn’t until five years after the elimination of the men’s program that the women finally finished higher than tenth.
Athletes train with both sexes at the club level and recruits want to train in that same setting. “A lot of competition goes on in between the lanes when you have men and women,” added Kurt Krumpholz, who swam and played water polo at UCLA in the early 1970s.
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FALSE: Prong 1 of the Title IX Three-Prong Test is not a quota system.
TRUE: Prong 1 (proportionality) is unequivocally a quota system. Per Merriam-Webster, a “quota” is an official limit on the number of amount of people or things that are allowed. The Cohen court’s precedent-setting interpretation of Prong 1 mandates that the gender breakdown of a school’s athletic program must exactly match the gender split of the student body.
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FALSE: Women are still discriminated against and are far from receiving equal athletic opportunities in college.
TRUE: When the Women’s Sports Foundation makes accusations of gender inequity, they are made based on data that only looks at raw numbers and proportionality. They only look to see if the number of athletic opportunities for its female athletes are proportionate to their enrollment in schools. No regard is given to accommodating student athletic interests and abilities which was the intent of Title IX.
To accept the argument, one must assume that interests and abilities to participate in athletics are exactly equal between men and women everywhere – younger and older, on all campuses, and even between different enrollment years within a university. Not all women want to participate in athletics, just as all men do not want to participate in athletics.
Without proper measure of each person within each sex (such as through interest surveys), the entire proportionality concept is illogical and based on an incorrect assumption.
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FALSE: Women are equally interested in participating in collegiate sports as men.
TRUE: According to the National Center for Education Statistics:
- Between 1980 and 1994, males (high school seniors) showed 20% more interest in participating in sports than females.
- Where numbers are largely determined on the basis of interest (intramural sports), 78% of the participants were male and 22% were female.
When Brown University was sued for discrimination:
- 85 slots were left unfilled on women’s teams.
- Eight times as many male students participated in Brown’s intramural program.
- Four times as many male students took part in intramural sports nationally.
Requiring universities to grant opportunities based solely on gender, without consideration of other factors, has turned Prong 1 into an unlawful quota. Title IX’s purpose was to promote current interests which could properly be measured. Cohen v. Brown University misused Title IX to “promote the development of new interests” to correct for past discrimination (e.g. “If you build it, they will come”).
“Disproportionate beneficial treatment toward the historically discriminated against is allowed” where they serve important governmental objectives.
There is NO “important governmental objective” to create interests in intercollegiate athletics. If these objectives existed, the government would create these interests for everyone, not just for women. The ‘Field of Dreams’ concept was never the intent of Title IX.
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FALSE: Football is to blame for the loss of men’s collegiate athletic programs.
TRUE: Proportionality is to blame for the loss of men’s collegiate athletic programs. 40% of the universities do not have football programs and yet, men’s programs are being eliminated at these schools. Schools are forced to create athletic opportunities for women (significantly increasing their athletic budgets) even when their actual interests and abilities may not mirror the number of female enrolled students.
It is unfair to force universities to cultivate the interest and athleticism in women who didn’t yet know they were interested in sports. Title IX was intended to protect against discrimination – NOT promote athletics on college campuses.
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IMPORTANT! Read on…
Pro-quota v. No-quota Positions specific to the “2005 Clarification of Prong 3“