May 3, 2011
-- The New York Times article today, Colleges Cut Men’s Programs to Satisfy Title IX did not mention that both the National Federation of State High School Associations and the NCAA report all-time highs in sports participation. Schools continuously drop and add male and female sports, but the overall trend is upwards, not downwards. It also failed to make clear that the law never requires schools to cut a sports team. The law is merely about providing equitable educational opportunities for our sons and daughters, both of whom are clamoring for more sports. Universities frankly cannot satisfy students' appetite for varsity sports – for both genders. As schools allocate those educational opportunities, they act like every American family on a budget. University leaders that blame girls for the school’s necessary rationing is inexcusable. They are like foolish parents who would blame their son’s sister for his lack of a second sports opportunity. “Gosh, Billy, we’d love for you to play soccer and baseball, but it’s your sister’s fault for wanting to play a sport too – she’s taking what should be yours.” Blaming her sports enthusiasm for the family’s limited financial resources is unfair, breeds resentment, and suppresses her interest in athletics.
Men’s sports teams have lost virtually all cases alleging “quota” and “reverse discrimination.”
Why? Because males are provided far far more sports opportunities within the challenged athletic departments than are their sisters. In a case decided in March of this year, EIA v. James Madison University, the court repeatedly held that EIA provided no support for its legal assertions that were repeated in the New York Times article, that their arguments had “no merit”. The court chided the plaintiffs, noting that the issues it raised had already been “widely rejected” by earlier case law. With such unanimity of legal opinion, going to court blaming girls and Title IX for cuts to boys’ teams is getting close to legal malpractice.
Additionally, the Women’s Sports Foundation is aware of instances when girls appealed to their school for a new sport but were told, “if you continue to petition, we’ll just cut the boys’ team.” And sadly, despite our efforts, the strategy was successful, because the girls’ brothers and friends were playing on the threatened team. These girls learned that their school leaders expected them to be quiet and continue to receive second-class treatment.
Rather than blaming Title IX, female athletes, or Washington bureaucrats, the Women’s Sports Foundation calls upon schools to embrace the principle of gender equity and equal treatment as the norm. School sports are a wise expenditure of our tax resources with outstanding benefits to society, such as higher educational attainment, more full-time employment, and innumerable life-long health benefits. A healthy, educated, industrious workforce benefits all of us with a more productive economy, and should be available in equal measure to both male and female students.