The mention of Title IX results in different reactions from different people. I’ve always found myself at somewhat of a cross roads with Title IX. I have been active in the wrestling community most of my life and have seen opportunities eliminated in that sport. I am also a female who greatly benefited from Title IX. Along comes the Quinnipiac injunction, and Title IX has become a national issue once again.
On May 22, 2009 a federal judge issued an injunction preventing Quinnipiac from dropping its women’s volleyball program or any other female opportunities. The ACLU of Connecticut has taken on the case for the women’s volleyball student-athletes and coaches. Expect this case to get more and more interesting as it unfolds and moves forward in the judicial process. During the hearing last week, it came to light that Quinnipiac set roster minimums (floors) for its women’s sports and roster maximums (ceilings) for its men’s sports. This has become common practice nationally in order to ensure compliance with the proportionality prong of Title IX. However, what makes the Quinnipiac case interesting is that beyond these roster management numbers they were allowing men’s sports to cut student-athletes prior to the first competition and then add them back after that competition, and on the women’s side, coaches were carrying their minimums through the first competition without equipment or uniforms and then most of the women who were not allowed to travel or have uniforms and equipment would quit. Continue reading
On March 11, 2009, President Barack Obama released an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls. The Council (comprised of top leaders of various governmental agencies) has been given 150 days to address areas in which gender inequities still remain and to develop recommendations for consideration in the form of a Federal interagency plan.
Q: How might this relate to collegiate sports?
A: This blogger’s prediction is that the debate over the use of email surveys in assessing Title IX compliance will resurface and that a recommendation to close the loophole may be forwarded. Continue reading
Women’s college basketball lost one of the best, Kay Yow, today (Jan 24, 2009) to cancer at the age of 66. Kay exemplified the ideals of education and college sport throughout her 38-year coaching career. Here is a very abbreviated list of her accomplishments compiled from the NC State Website, an article by ESPN, and my own limited knowledge:
- NC State Head Women’s Basketball Coach 1975-09.
- 737 college game wins during her career.
- She was 680-325 at NC State, only three women’s coaches in DI have coached 1,000 games at one school.
- 20 NCAA Tournament appearances (11 Sweet 16, 1 Elite Eight, 1 Final Four in 1998).
- Even after being diagnosed with cancer in 1987, she coached the 1988 Olympic Team to a Gold Medal.
- In 2002, she was inducted into the James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame (only the 5th female coach to be inducted).
- She won the ACC tournament in 1980, 1985, 1987 and 1991.
- As recently as 2006-07, she coached the team to a Sweet Sixteen appearance, even after missing 16 games that season due to her illness.
- An honorary Nike Shoe, the Kay Yow Air Huarache.
- Most importantly, a lifetime commitment to mentoring young women during their college years.
Kay Yow began her NC State career a few years after Title IX was signed into law, but before anyone was taking the law seriously. As a coach, she witnessed the gains that could be made towards equality by doing the right things. The following excerpts are from a very well written ESPN article on Kay:
“As Yow once put it, ‘If a person really has a grateful heart, the door can open wide for so many good things to come your way.’ Women like Yow always remembered they were educators first, coaches second — and if that left relatively little time for their personal lives, such was the price of this kind of career happiness. They knew they were pioneers exploring not literal “land” but rather “turf” that traditionally had belonged to men. They knew there were barriers to knock down, but different ways to do that.”
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.”