I first want to let you know that I am a FEMALE student majoring in computer science here at the University. I am emphasizing this point because I want to discuss how Title IX is affecting college sports.
Let me give you exactly what Title IX states: “…No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance…”
Title IX is supposed to be applied to every aspect of a federally funded institution, such as the University of Minnesota, not just its athletic department, yet the athletes are the only ones affected by it. It appears the problem with Title IX is not the law itself, but the proportionality rule that is hidden within. The proportionality rule says that an academic program’s population must parallel the University’s student population. So, in other words, if a university has 55 percent female students and 45 percent male students, then every department must also reflect this ratio.
What does this have to do with equal opportunities for male and female students? As a witness to the technology department here at the University, it is definitely not 45 percent male and 55 percent female. Does this mean I am not receiving the same opportunity as the next person? Of course not. I pay just as much as the next person does, and in return, I get to use the computer labs and resources the University provides just like everybody else. So why do female athletes feel they are being denied the opportunity to play sports?
What the universities are doing to compensate for proportionality is that instead of adding female programs, they are cutting male programs. I really don’t know if the women athletes out there realize what fighting for Title IX is actually accomplishing. While 5,800 athletic opportunities have been added for women in the past 10 years, more than 350 NCAA programs involving about 21,000 male athletes have been terminated since 1991. That’s roughly 10 percent of the male athletes participating in that period.
There are currently 200,000 male and 125,000 female college athletes in the NCAA. As the present trend continues, proportionality will be achieved with 140,000 male athletes and 140,000 female athletes. This cuts 60,000 more male opportunities, and we might see the extinction of some Olympic male sports at the college level. I am pretty sure that these female athletes who support Title IX do not have the intention of terminating male sports, but these are the facts.
Along with all of this, in forcing universities to be proportional by cutting men’s programs, they are actually denying future athletic opportunities for women. If a school has 500 male and 300 female athletes and it cuts the athletic opportunities of 200 men, then 200 women who might want to participate in the future might never get the chance.
The main argument on the female side to keep this proportionality clause is the fact there are so many women out there who are interested in playing sports, but they just don’t have the opportunity to play. My answer is to ask whether you have tried looking at intramurals to find all these females out there who are dying to play varsity sports in college? I can guarantee you there are considerably more males who participate in intramurals than females even though anyone can play since it is done solely for the love of the game.
This past spring, the University added women’s rowing. I am not at all saying that women’s rowing shouldn’t be a varsity sport, but why should the women get a sport added when there were males denied the chance to even try out for the golf team? If the interest was so popular for rowing to become a varsity sport, why were there advertisements for female students to try out?
There were flyers hanging all over campus, along with chalk advertisements on the sidewalks — even in the Daily they had to advertise to get girls to try out for the team. They didn’t even require that you had any experience in rowing. These male golfers didn’t get to see advertisements saying, “Don’t Go Out For Golf, Too Many Interested.”
I want to make it clear that the intent of Title IX was needed back in 1972, and whether we need Title IX in this day and age, I don’t know. But I do know that proportionality is unnecessary. Just because you are underrepresented in something, this doesn’t mean it should get taken away from someone who already has it.
Title IX is being misrepresented and is killing male sports at the college level (i.e. baseball, wrestling, swimming and diving, gymnastics, track and golf). Even after 91 years, Boston University cut its football program, UCLA 16 gold medals later dropped their swimming and diving program, and there are only 26 men’s gymnastic teams across the country. At this time, the NCAA has about 7,800 sports programs for men and about 8,300 for women, with 19 NCAA sports for men and 26 for women, including eight “emerging sports” for women (rowing, water polo, equestrian, synchronized swimming, bowling, archery, ice hockey and precision skating). How is this equal opportunity when there are 500 more athletic programs for women than for men with seven more sports to choose from?
Defining fair in the athletic department is obviously viewed differently by many people. Facts are facts, and it is obvious to me the women are not thinking twice about who they run over in their process of seeking equality, while the males fight to keep their sports alive.
Jamie Krebs is a senior in computer science. She welcomes comments at [email protected] Send letters to the editor to [email protected]