Title IX

Having participated in a competitive sport since the age of five, I now consider myself good enough to receive a college athletic scholarship. As I have researched various schools, and conversing with my coach and my parents I have learned a lot about the potential athletic scholarships that I could receive for women’s swimming. I have also heard how hard it is for boys to get athletic scholarships especially in men’s swimming. For one, most schools don’t even offer men’s swimming, for another most men’s scholarships are given in the sports of football and basketball. I was told that this is because of ‘Title IX’, a law stating that men and women should get equal opportunity in education. So how does this involve athletic scholarships and why are so many schools no longer offering men’s sports? Although there are many facets to Title IX, let’s focus on athletics.

In 1972 congress passed Title IX. “No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal aid”. Although the intent was supposedly to give what I consider equal opportunity in education to men and women , Title IX hit men’s athletics more severely. Now more than half of men’s athletic programs have been cut from many colleges. Title IX has also made it very difficult for men to obtain scholarships for athletics or academics. Although it had such a negative effect on men, it was extremely advantageous for women. Women’s athletic programs and academic acceptance have increased very rapidly. Title IX was created in the hopes of ensuring that women have or can obtain equal opportunities as men. Title IX definitely has opposing views. On one side Title IX has increased women’s acceptance into various law and medical schools and has increased the number of scholarships given to women, including female athletes. For women, the opportunities provided in Title IX are very positive. Compared to pre Title IX, in 1972 only 9% of women received medical degrees, in 1994 this number increased to 38%, law degrees increased from 7% in 1972 to 43% in 1994, and the total doctoral degrees increased from 25% to 44% in these same years (About Title IX). Women’s athletics data comparing 1991 to 2005 showed an increase in female student athletes in Division I participation from 31% to 45% and in Division II from 32% to 41% (Title IX).

On the other side, Title IX has infringed on the opportunities for men to get into these same schools and has not only decreased the number of athletic scholarships offered to men, but has substantially eliminated many men’s sports programs from most colleges and universities. In requiring schools who receive federal aid to follow the rules of Title IX, athletic departments must give the same amount of monies to men’s and women’s programs. Since most schools make the most money from Football and basketball programs, most monies allotted to men’s athletics go to these programs. Men were not so lucky. Although Title IX was not targeted at athletics, it was affected just the same. “Thousands of male athletes – mostly in such sports as wrestling, swimming and gymnastics – no longer have the opportunities they once had. One sports writer talks very sadly of the disappearance of programs that produced Olympic medal winners. And for what? To satisfy a quota system that has scant relation to the actual wishes of women to compete in athletics” (Title IX, a good law…).
Although Title IX gives women equal opportunity in education, I feel that it was too harsh on men’s athletics. I don’t think the writers of Title IX realized what kind of impact it would have on men’s athletics. But all the same, no one has fought it. Being a girl, it is to my advantage, yet, I believe that scholarships and acceptance into law school as well as medical school should be merit based, not based on a quota that the government provides, especially when fewer girls even want to participate in sports, or go into careers with such long educational demands.

Works cited:
About Title IX, retrieved February 21, 2010 from http://bailiwick.lib.uiowa.edu/ge/aboutRE.html
Title IX, retrieved February 21, 2010 from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=93
Title IX, a good law, a bad regulation retrieved February 21, 2012 from http://www.collegesportsscholarships.com/title-ix-pros-and-cons.htm

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