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Title IX and Obama

Most areas of college sports are not impacted one way or another by who the President of the United States is. However, there is one area that sees changes every time a new President is elected. A lot of people don’t realize how Title IX enforcement is tied to the priorities of the President. Under the Bush Administration, Title IX has survived, but that is about it. There was a Commission established to examine the law (most people think it was established to kill the law), a lack of people to enforce the complaints that the Office of Civil Rights did receive, and the addition of a loophole allowing schools to use “interest surveys” (under extremely flawed methodology) to prove they were accommodating the athletics interests and abilities of their female students.

In a December 2008 lecture at Smith College, sports economist Andrew Zimbalist reflected on Title IX during the Bush years. He cited the following statistics from presidential administrations, “During Jimmy Carter’s presidency, the number of female collegiate athletes increased by 9 percent. It also grew by 2 percent during the Reagan administration and by 10 percent during Clinton’s. Under the Bush administration, however, female participation in college sports has stagnated. According to Zimbalist, during Bush’s time in office, athletic funding for women has dropped from 37 percent to 34 percent of funds.”

For those of us that are concerned about continuing to increase opportunities for girls and women to play sports,  there is reason to believe that good news is on the horizon as Obama gets ready to take office.

In a recent article on the NCAA website, Obama is quoted as saying,”When I’m president, I’ll fight to make sure our female students have equal opportunities from pre-kindergarten all the way through graduate school. I will strengthen Title IX enforcement at the Department of Education … And I will direct my Department of Education to help schools take steps to fulfill their Title IX obligations in both the sports and academic arenas,” the statement said. “I am the father of two young girls who are growing up playing sports and who are beneficiaries of the doors Title IX opened.”

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January 15, 2009 Posted by | Diversity, Gender Equity and Title IX, Uncategorized | | 1 Comment