TITLE IX: GENDER EQUALITY IN SPORTS

Kara Donnelly, Sheila Kilkelly, Nicky Berman

" No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

 

" Gender equity is an atmosphere and a reality where fair distribution of overall athletic opportunity and resources are proportionate to enrollment, are available to women and men and where no student athlete, coach or athletic administrator is discriminated against in any way in the athletic program on the basis of gender."

 

" That is to say an athletic program is gender equitable when the men's sports program would be pleased to accept for its own overall participation, opportunities and resources currently allocated to the women's program and vice versa."

- NCAA Gender Equity Task Force, 1972

 

Introduction

Title IX revolutionized athletic opportunities for women. Part of the Education Amendment of 1972, Title IX forced all federally funded institutions, namely high schools, universities and colleges, to have equal funding spent on males and females both in the classroom and on the playing field. Title IX was passed in hopes that it would dispose of sex discrimination, especially in athletic programs, and also increase the amount of opportunities and participation for females in athletics. In the years before Title IX was passed, females were drastically underrepresented in athletics, and funding for females in sports was inadequate compared to that of males. Even today, not all federally funded institutions comply with Title IX; however, the increase of opportunities and participation for females in athletics is astounding.

History/Timeline of Events

1971:

295,000 high school girls play sports, compared with 3,600,000 high school boys.

1972:

Congress enacts Title IX, part of The Educational Amendments of 1972. These amendments were signed into law on June 23, 1972 by President Nixon. However, at this point, the statute makes no reference to gender equity in athletics programs. Effective date: July 21, 1972.

1974:

The "Tower Amendment" is proposed and rejected. On May 20, 1974, Senator Tower proposed an amendment to exempt revenue-producing sports, like football and basketball, from being counted when evaluating Title IX compliance.

1975:

The Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) issues final Title IX regulation: A specific reference to equal funding in athletics is added to the Amendments. Now, Title IX includes provisions that prohibit discrimination in athletics. In addition, a three-year window is allowed for educational institutions to alter their athletic programs to comply with Title IX's rules in reference to athletics. In November of 1975, "Elimination of Sex Discrimination in Athletics Programs" is issued in the Federal Register, providing general guidance on Title IX athletics requirements.

1979:

HEW issues the three prong test, which details the institution's obligations to provide equal opportunity and the factors to be considered in assessment of compliance. At this time, the HEW splits into several separate organizations, and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is given the responsibility of enforcement of Title IX.

1984:

The first case against Title IX occurs. This case, the Grove City vs. Bell Decision, removed the applicability of Title IX in athletics programs, stating that only those specific programs within an institution that are receiving federal funding would need to comply with Title IX. This greatly minimized the effect of the Title IX athletic restrictions, making its regulations and laws only applicable to a limited amount of programs.

1988:

In response to the Grove City vs. Bell ruling, the Civil Rights Restoration Act is passed on March 22. This act stated that all educational institutions that receive any type of federal funding, whether indirect or direct, were to comply with Title IX restrictions. In other words, even if the specific program did not receive federal funding directly, but the institution as a whole did, Title IX rules still apply to that program, and all programs in the institution.

1990:

The OCR publishes the Title IX Investigation Manual to help institutions to comply with Title IX, and/or help the evaluators to assess whether or not they do in fact meet the requirements of Title IX.

1992:

Another important court case, Franklin vs. Gwinett County Public Schools occurs. The Supreme Court rules unanimously that a plaintiff filing a Title IX lawsuit is entitled to receive punitive damages if intentional action to avoid Title IX compliance is evident.

1992:

Shortly after the Franklin decision, the NCAA creates the Gender Equity Study. This project evaluates gender equity within the NCAA. Results from this study illustrate the changes and advances made in gender equity since Title IX was passed.

1994:

The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) is passed, stating that any institution for higher education that receives any federal funding must disclose certain information about its athletics program each year. The information, concerning the intercollegiate athletics program, was to be published in the form of a report at the end of each year.

1996:

In October, first reports from the EADA are due from all federally funded intercollegiate athletics programs.

1999:

Over 2,400,000 high school girls are enrolled in sports programs.

 Sources:

Good Sports, Inc., Title IX and Gender Equity Specialists, P.O. Box 500505, San Diego, California 92150 (858)695-0005, FAX (858)695-9909

http://bailiwick.lib.uiowa.edu/ge/history.html

 

Regulations and Enforcement

As stated in Title IX the regulations of this law apply to "any educational program or activity receiving federal assistance." Federal assistance is not inclusive of only athletic departments. If a school receives federal funding for school lunches, for example, then every department in the school must obey Title IX. Colleges and universities were given until 1978 to comply with this new law. The group responsible for deciding if a high school or college is following Title IX is The Office of Civil Rights. This organization uses a three part guide to test an institution's compliance to Title IX. The high school or college must fulfill one of the following requirements:

1. "Provide athletic opportunities to females and males substantially proportionate to their

respective enrollments; or"

2. "Consistently expand programs for the under-represented gender or"

3. "Show it 'fully and effectively' meets the interests of the gender that is under represented."

Although it has never been done, The Office of Civil Rights has the right to take away the federal funding of any school that fails to meet one of these requirements. The federal court also holds the right to charge schools for damages done to students if their programs do not fulfill the above requirements and demand financial repayment for any harm done. OCR can also force a school to change their programs if necessary.

In 1994 the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act was passed by Congress, requiring institutions of learning to submit a report of scholarships, participation numbers, expenditures, budgets and salaries. This act was one more way to check that colleges and high schools fulfilled the requirements under Title IX.

Also, a college must have a Title IX coordinator. There are specific guidelines for intercollegiate athletics to be followed under Title IX. The first area touches upon financial assistance for students and states that the total amounts of athletics aid must be proportionate to the ratio of male and female athletes. Also, the sports chosen and the level of competition they are played at must reflect the interests and abilities of the student body. This includes:

the opportunities for athletic participation of male and female students are proportionate to each gender's enrollment, when one gender is underrepresented the institution shows evidence of growth in programs accommodating the abilities and interests of that gender and, finally, if a gender is underrepresented at a college or university, and the school does not show evidence of program growth, it must show the abilities and interests of that gender have been provided for by a current program.

Lastly, treatment and opportunities do not have to necessarily be identical, rather equal. This includes the equity shown in equipment, scheduling for games and practices times, travel and per diem allowances, medicals and training facilities and services, recruitment of student athletes, and publicity, among many others.

 

THE PROTEST

At Yale University in the 1970s, the male and female's rowers may have been called a "team," but Chris Ernst and many others would have to disagree - they certainly were not a team. In a team, each and every member is treated equally, regardless of race, age, skill level, or gender. But in 1976, the female rowers at Yale were treated as anything but equal to the male rowers. They were "being asked to be athletes without dignity," with no access to facilities, less funding, and above all, unequal treatment. Each day in the bitter cold winter in Connecticut, after a grueling practice on the icy river, the women rowers would wait on the freezing bus while the men took hot showers in the boathouse. The women were not so lucky to have access to such facilities. The men had both bathroom and shower facilities at the river, as anyt university rowing team may expect. The women, on the other hand, sat wet and cold on the bus, waiting for the men to shower before they could ride back to campus. Maybe the men didn't realize that the women were being treated unfairly; maybe they just didn't care. But for whatever the reason, day after day the women would freeze on the bus, and many became sick - with chronic colds, flu, even pneumonia. Both groups were student atheletes, paying the same tuition at the same university, but they certainly were not treated as such.

While the women were freezing and catching colds on the bus, they decided to make use of their time. They began to talk about what to do about their unfair situation, and how to get people's attention about their issue. They knew that Yale University was not only treated them unfairly, but was also breaking a US law - Title IX. Part of this act stated that equal facilities must be available to men and women. The women thought of many ideas, and decided to hold a protest. They called a newsreporter from the New York Times to record the event. The plan was to go to the women's athletics director's (Johnny Barnett) office. 19 members of the Yale women's rowing team entered the office, stripped off their sweats to reveal "TITLE IX" written clearly across their backs and chests, and read this statement:

"There are the bodies that Yale is exploiting. On a day like today, the ice freezes on this skin. And we sit for a half hour, as the ice melts and soaks through to meet the sweat that is soaking us from the inside."

After the event, newspapers all over the country, and the world, were reporting the event - the New York Times, The Paris Tribune, the LA Times. The protest grabbed the attention of students, athletes, alumni, teachers, and administrators from Connecticut to California. Letters from alumni came pouring in."Within an hour," said the athletic director, "we had a problem on campus. And it had to addressed." After the event, the Yale administration could no longer afford to ignore the female athletes.Yale was embarrassed of this now public failure of complying to Title IX, a US federal law. After the protest, the women's crew facilities as well as women's athletics as a whole were significantly improved at Yale. But the event also had a ripple effect - it sent a smessage to the rest of the country, which has lasted over decades.

Opposing Arguments

There have been several attempts to alter the specifics of Title IX within the Congress. For example, on May 20,1974, the "Tower Amendment" was proposed and rejected. Senator Tower introducedthis amendment to exclude revenue-producing sports from when tabulating if a school fits the "proportionality" compliance. Also, the "Javits Amendment" was enacted in July, 1974, and stated that the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) must issue title IX regulation including " with respect to intercollegiate athletic activities, reasonable provisions considering the nature of particular sports."

Opposing views of Title IX are based upon the fact that the goal of this amendment was to provide more athletic opportunities for females, however the effect has been that men's sports programs are being eliminated. Between 1992 and 1997, NCAA member schools have added more than 5,000 roster spots for female athletes but in order for these spots to be made, more that 20,000 lost spots for men. The elimination of men's sports programs has been brought on because of the ways colleges and universities must show that they are complying by the law. Most colleges chose to comply with the law by showing "proportionality". In other words, the number of athletes on all the college's teams would have to reflect the percentages of male/female students. In choosing to fulfill this compliance, a school has two choices: they can try to recruit more female athletes or they can reduce the number of male athletes. Many feel that if Title IX was working properly, man andwoman with ability and interest get equal chances to participate in sports; it shouldn't mean that for women to gain opportunities, men must lose opportunities. There is no mandate under Title IX that requires a college to eliminate men's teams to achieve compliance, the regulation is intended to expand opportunities for both men and women.

Benefits for Females Who Play Sports…

- girls who play sports are:

50% less likely to develop breast cancer

80% less likely to have unwanted pregnancies

92% less likely to have drug problems

- Athletes are more likely to report that they had never had sexual intercourse than non-athletes. Athletes: 54% Non-athletes: 41%

- In college, women student-athletes graduate at a significantly higher rate than women students in general.Student athletes: 68% Students in general: 58%

- One to three hours of exercise a week over a woman's reproductive lifetime may bring a 20-30% reduction in the risk of breast cancer, and four or more hours of exercise a week can reduce the risk almost 60%

("A Hero For Daisy") 

(Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 1994)

(1997 Division I NCAA Study on Graduation Rates)

(Women's Sports Foundation Report: Sport and Teen Pregnancy, May 1998)

Is The Job Done? Gender Equity Today

 

- 90% of all television hours devoted to sports focus on men's sports

- 90% of all journalists and broadcasters in the media are males

- Males receive 50% in high school and 75% in college of athletic operating budgets and $179 million dollars more in college athletic scholarships each year

- 84% of athletic directors of high schools are male

- Women have less than 37% of all athletic participation opportunities, 36% of all scholarship dollars, 36% of sports budgets and 28% of recruiting budgets

- At 80% of all NCAA member institutions, football does not pay for women's sports, or even itself

 

(http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org.cgibin/iowa/issues/rights/article.html?record=149)

 

Quotes:

 

"Without Title IX, I'd be nowhere." &endash; Cheryl Miller, Olympic athlete

"The real reason we want equal opportunity for our daughters to play sports is so they too can derive the psychological,physiological, and sociological benefits of sports participation. Sport has been one of the most important socio-culturallearning experiences for boys and men for many years. Those same benefits should be afforded to our daughters." &endash; Donna Lopiano, Ph.

 

1971: 295,000 High School Girls play sports; opposed to 3,600,000 High School boys

1972: Title IX enacted

1999: More than 2,400,000 high school girls play sports.

http://www.womenssportsfoundation.com

http://www.ncaa.com