Ironically, or perhaps not, since the opposition pointed out it was going to happen, the enforcement of Title IX on college campuses has NOT increased the participation of women in collegiate sports.
Title IX requires that the following three rules be enforced in regards to college athletics:
- The percentage of female athletes at a college must be the same as the percentage of total females enrolled at the college.
- There must be a history of continuous increase of opportunity for all females to participate in sports.
- Existing female interest and abilities existing at the school must be accomodated.
Despite the fact that all three rules must be adhered to, the Department of Education
and the Office of Civil Rights
seem content with enforcing only the first rule. One might come to the conclusion that colleges would simply add female sports to even out the percentages. They would be wrong.
Men's football and basketball have proven to be the only money-generating programs at most colleges (with the occasional exception of hockey, baseball, and more recently, women's basketball). This means that all other sports, male and female, drain money from the university. Because of the way Title IX is enforced, they have one of two choices: add women's sports, or cut men's sports. The decision has overwhelmingly been for the latter.
Since the beginning of Title IX enforcement, and at the time of this writeup, 364 men's programs have been dropped in America:
So, while there has been an increase in women's sports participation (which has little to do with Title IX and more to do with youth athletic programs), total participation is sports is down.
This isn't always the case. For example, URI added women's soccer and elevated crew from a club sport to intercollegiate status. But this is a school with a total of only 22 sports programs. Other schools have toyed with the idea of combining teams for men and women. In this case, both sexes would try out for the same team, and only the best would be chosen. To date, no one has gone forward with this plan, because the general consensus is that the percentage of men chosen for teams (especially the "big four": football, baseball, basketball, and hockey) would be far greater than the percentage of total students, which still puts them in violation of rule one.
To top all of this off, 70% of scholarship money still goes to male athletes and more than 80% of America's athletic department budgets still goes to men's programs. So, while colleges have been cutting men's sports, for the most part they've continued to ignore women's sports. Title IX at its best, huh?
The solution to the problem is rather simple. Stop enforcing rule one. It's been proven to decrease male participation in sports. Continue enforcing rules two and three, which are proven to increase female participation.
Title IX is a good thing. And so is equality. It's just the enforcement of it that sucks.