The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Chapter 11 before Title IX

Interpretation of gender equity law outdated, inhibits equality in sports

Many people were shocked at SMU’s announcement that it waseliminating its highly reputable track and field team. Apparentlythe program’s value was based upon expected revenue, ratherthan the impressive year-by-year success that it has had. Althoughfinancial reasons were cited as the main motive, we can’thide from the reality that Title IX was a key factor in thecut.

Title IX is the most outdated law on the books in collegeathletics.

When it was implemented in 1972, Title IX legislation was animportant phase in the gender equity struggle. As a direct result,many women’s sports programs emerged on college campusesnationwide. In fact, women’s participation in sports hasimproved by leaps and bounds. In 1982, 10 years after Title IX waspassed, 80,040 women played collegiate sports. In 1999 that numberwas 148,803. Without the triumphs of Title IX, these amazingnumbers would never be possible. Unfortunately, the success numbersare overshadowed by the increasing problem associated with thelaw.

The biggest problem regards how most schools interpret the law.It has become a convoluted game of numbers, and all other issuesare pushed aside. Title IX mandates that there be a preciseproportionality between men and women’s enrollment and theirrates of participation in athletics. Essentially, participation insports has to be reflective of the composition of the student body.At SMU, the ration of women to men is 55 percent to 45 percent andmust be reflected in athletics.

By simply doing head counts, the SMU administration decided itneeded to meet a certain quota.

The quota system should be blamed for most of the problemsassociated with Title IX. Numerous programs nationwide, like SMU,have succumbed to issues with Title IX compliance.

But the law does not promote equality.

The best solution is to eliminate the gender quota from theTitle IX interpretation and replace it with a more reasonableapproach that provides opportunities based on interest. This way,if there are 20 male scholarships for track, then a school wouldalso have to offer 20 female scholarships for track.

In recent years, SMU added women’s volleyball (1996),indoor track (1998), rowing (1999) and equestrian (2003). Thesesports don’t draw that much interest from women, but onlycomply with Title IX. It is dangerous when women’sopportunities in college athletics are increased simply byrestricting the opportunities for men.

The law needs to be revised. Title IX legislation is no longerneeded and is undermining the importance of all sports.

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