May 2 2012
Title IX's Mid-Life Crisis
By Carrie Lukas
Forty years ago next month, Title IX was signed into law. The intention was to outlaw sex discrimination in academia, including in athletics, to ensure that women had equal opportunity to participate and excel.
Unfortunately, contrary to the express intention of policymakers championing the law, those charged with enforcing title IX created a de-facto quota system, which has pressured colleges and universities to fixate on achieving statistical parity in the levels of participation in programs like athletics.
As a result, while Title IX succeeded in creating opportunities for women, it has also robbed men of similar opportunities. Since women now outnumber men on college campuses, accounting for nearly six in ten undergraduate students (and Title IX’s oversight and quota regime does not apply to enrollment), colleges that wish to shield themselves from potential Title IX lawsuits must ensure that their pool of athletes mirrors the student body in terms of sex.
Title IX has contributed to the elimination of scores of men’s athletic teams (commonly baseball, wrestling, gymnastics, track and field, swimming, and crew) and the near extinction of some sports (like gymnastics) for men at the college level.
Americans want both men and women to have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Instead of just celebrating Title IX, policymakers should reform the law so that it fulfills its authors’ original intentions of ensuring that both men and women have opportunity to participate in college programs.