Title IX was originally created to prevent gender discrimination in schools. As it specifically pertains to athletics, it would ideally give schools the flexibility to select sports based on interest, geographic importance, budget limits and gender ratios. While such laws do step on the toes of some, they are necessary for the “greater good.” If not the government, no one else has the strength to effectively counter discrimination.
Last Thursday, Bush’s Commission on Opportunity in Athletics recommended changes to the Title IX legislation. Suggestions approved by the Commission include: counting a fixed number of roster spots to determine whether a school is fulfilling proportionality criteria, excluding walk-ons and “non-traditional” students from totals, and using interest surveys as a primary means of gauging adequate compliance with Title IX. Surveys are an inaccurate and inadequate means of assessing student body interest because they are too subject to bias, both on the part of the surveyor and surveyed. Students do not seem to take them too seriously, and it would be erroneous to base such significant measures as funding upon them.
However, it would be appropriate to dilute the proportionality requirement that athletic representation should mirror enrollment ratios by removing numerical and spending quotas, which are too stringent and impractical. Various groups fear that these changes will erode much of the progress that has been made for female athletes. While this could be seen as a valid concern, the Commission is not trying to completely eradicate Title IX, but rather to modify it to better fit current conditions. There is no doubt that this law has greatly benefited women, but it does appear, to some extent, to be detrimental to men. One could argue that sacrifices have to be made to promote gender equality; we all knew that budget cuts invariably would be made, somewhere. Hopefully the new reforms will only strengthen Title IX and help to quell some of the recent opposition raised against it.