Boost for Women's Athletics but Essay

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Secondly, the report alluded to by CSC asserts that in "gender symmetric" sports there are "far more scholarships available for women (32,656) than for men (20,206)." The third bullet point in the CSC press release points out that men's volleyball is the "by far the most difficult" scholarship at the Division I level; there are reportedly 489 high school athletes for every full ride NCAA scholarship.

The "underlying" data that CSC used to put together their press release comes from two NCAA reports: "1981-82-2006-07 NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rate Report" and "2006-07 NCAA Division I Manual." Also factored into the report is data from the national Federation of State High School Associations. And so what is the College Sports Council calling on the federal government -- and the Department of Education (DOE) -- to do? The press release says that "women are accorded far more opportunities to compete and ear scholarships" at the level of Division I in NCAA schools, and hence, "it's time to erase all institutional gender discrimination, and that includes bias against boys" (http://collegesportscouncil.org).

The College Sports Council (August, 2008) launched a petition drive which was aided by a few Olympic champions; John Naber (four Gold medals in 1976), Peter Vidmar (Gold, gymnastics in 1984), Dan Gable (Gold, freestyle wrestling, 1972), among others publicly endorsed the national petition drive. The petition calls for "the men and women across the country" to come together to "discuss and implement a set of common sense reforms" that will make Title IX fair to both genders. The petition alleges that male collegiate teams "are being eliminated" and player rosters "are being capped" -- and that this is happening "at an alarming rate" to the disservice of men's sports programs.

The petition also states: one, when men's teams are pushed out that women athletes are "being robbed of their training partners, teammates and biggest supporters"; two, "Straightforward and common-sense fixes to the enforcement mechanism are already available" including a "simple survey that would allow any student, male or female, to express interest and be given opportunity"; three, the method of enforcement for Title IX is "discriminating against male athletes" and "artificially limiting opportunities to participate"; and four, the "current tenor of the debate over the future of Title IX sets up a zero sum contest pitting men against women" and that is harmful to the "collective cause of all college coaches" (http://savingsports.org).

The concern as to Title IX's fairness to male athletic programs is not a new issue; indeed, in 2001 a female editor at Southern Illinois University (Krebs, 2001) wrote a compelling editorial pointing out that Title IX is "…killing male sports at the college level (i.e. baseball, wrestling, swimming and diving, gymnastics, track and golf)." Krebs asserts that at Boston University, the football program was cut after 91 years of having been part of the university's athletic agenda. Krebs also mentions that the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) dropped its swimming and diving program -- after graduates who excelled in those programs and went on to the Olympic Summer Games won a total of 16 Gold medals (Krebs, 2001).

Krebs goes on to complain that at the University of Minnesota, women's rowing was added in 2001, at the expense of the men's golf team: "Why should the women get a sport added when there were males denied the chance to even try out for the golf team."

Jamie Seiberlich -- a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin -- wrote in the Daily Lobo that "men are truly getting screwed over" because Title IX is forcing schools to "cut mainstream programs for men to simply play a numbers game" (Seiberlich, 2001). For example, at the time Seiberlich wrote this article, the University of Wisconsin had added sailing and precision ice skating for women and cut the university's baseball program in order to add those women's sports. "Men, simply for being men, are punished under this law for having more testosterone in their blood and being naturally more competitive than women" (Seiberlich, 2001).

In Sports Illustrated (www.si.com) writer E.M. Swift reports that "…the victims are men, not the women that Title IX was originally enacted to protect." The most recent "egregious example" of sex discrimination against men occurred at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Swift asserts. He mentions that for 2007, the school's "visitor's board" voted to wipe out 10 of Madison's 28 sports teams. Those eliminated teams include: seven men's teams (archery, cross-country, gymnastics, indoor track, outdoor track, swimming and wrestling) and three women's teams (archery, fencing, gymnastics). So, if an individual was on the men's cross-country team in 2006, by 2007 he would be "excluded from participation" in his sport on the basis of his gender (Swift, 2006). However, if a person were a member of the women's cross-country team in 2006, she would be pleased because this team was not eliminated.

Swift feels the math that Title IX adheres to (if 61% of the student population of any college or university is female, than 61% of the student athletes should be female too) is skewed in favor of women's sports. "Never mind that if a majority of those women have no interest in competing in intercollegiate sports, do not feel discriminated against, are not discriminated against and stand to gain absolutely nothing from the elimination of men's sports teams" (Swift, 2006).

The SI article contends that "proportionality" is really just another word for "quotas" -- and that "quotas" are evil because they discriminate against males and against sports programs.

Latest Gender-Equity Report -- NCAA

The most recent report on how much is spent on male athletic programs vs. money spent on women's sports programs (McKindra, 2008) shows that in Division I, 66% of "total expenses were directed toward men's athletics versus 34% for women's programs" (McKindra). In Division II the proportion is 58% expenses for men's sports and 42% for women's sports programs; in Division III the proportion was 56% to 44% (McKindra, NCAA). Quite apart from the number of actual sports programs for women and men, the numbers in this paragraph reflect all expenses related to male and female programs; and a big share of those expenses go to coaches' salaries. To wit, some men's sports may be taking a hit because of the addition of more and more women's sports, but when it comes to salaries, male coaches still get the biggest share of the pie. "Data…show the proportion of money spent on salaries of head coaches of men's teams still outpaces the proportion spent on head coaches of women's teams in Divisions I, II and III, a trend that has remained relatively constant…" (McKindra).

Looking at the number of females participating in sports programs, the female student-athlete participation has grown from 31% in 1991-92 to 45% in 2008, according to the NCAA (McKindra). And in schools without football, scholarships for women's teams have benefited substantially; in terms of the total dollars devoted to scholarships for women's sports teams (in schools without football programs) the proportions of funds earmarked for women as of 2005-06) was 55%.

Conclusion

A recent panel discussion in the White House Eisenhower Building featured tennis legend Billy Jean King and U.S. Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes, among others; the panel was on hand to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the launching of Title IX. It was noted in the U.S.A. Today article (Klemko, 2009) that College Sports Council chairman Eric Pearson -- although he was present -- has attacked the NCAA for making decisions that are not based on particular interest in sports shown by women, but rather looking for women's sports with "large rosters" in order to "satisfy the gender quota." However, the NCAA Director of Gender Initiatives, Karen Morrison, rebutted Pearson: "The CSC's study is off the mark because Title IX states schools must offer gender equitable opportunities, aid and benefits without discrimination on the basis of sex -- there is no distinction made with respect to individual sports" (Klemko, 2009). It is clear that to some, Title IX is not fair, and to others, Title IX is doing what it is supposed to do." However, if it can be shown statistically that men's programs are being unfairly cut to make room for women's sports that are token, not widely embraced, then changes must be made and Title IX must undergo a major makeover.

Works Cited

American Association of University Women. "Report Card on Gender Equity." Retrieved

June 28, 2009, from http://www.aauw.org. (2004).

Brake, Deborah. "Revisiting Title IX's Feminist Legacy: Moving Beyond the Three-

Part Test." Journal of Gender, Social Policy & The Law, 12(3), 453-473. (2004).

Klemko, Robert. "Title IX celebrated as study raises scholarship questions." USA

Today. (2009). Retrieved June 29, 2009, from http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/2009-06-23-title-ix-study_N.htm.

Krebs, Jamie. "Title IX unfair for…[continue]

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