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Myths and Facts of Title IX

The establishment of Title IX in 1972 not only rallied greater support for the groundbreaking bill, but it also spurred some fabrications. For example, here is a big one: Title IX has resulted in the loss of athletic opportunities for men’s sports.
The American Sports Council argues that “men’s cuts are no myth but a phenomenon that has occurred for decades.” However, schools eliminate, support or reduce specific sports opportunities for both men and women’s sports teams for various reasons, including:
• Different degrees of interest in certain sports
• Having to allocate budget resources among sports teams
“Downsizing a program was the best way to create flexibility with those dollars,” said Joe Pickens, president of St. Johns River State College, which recently decided to disband its basketball program. “Palatka campus has only 18 percent of our students. It had gotten too small to continue to have four sports with those budgets, especially since those sports were not competitive. Reducing it to three might make those other sports more competitive. That’s the picture I painted for the board.”

Another major myth of Title IX is that athletic opportunities for males and females are now equal, and that Title IX has done its job and is no longer needed. But let’s take a look at the numbers.

Although Title IX has greatly increased athletic opportunities for women, there still is a wide gap between sports participation among men and women at the intercollegiate level. Moreover, female athletes at the college level receive $183 million less in athletic scholarships.
Many critics argue that the majority of females are not as interested in sports as males are. However, there are more than 2.9 million girls playing high school sports and hundreds of thousands more participating in Olympic sports not offered in schools and colleges. It is clear that it has been the lack of sports opportunities that instigated this gender stereotype.
Another great myth of Title IX is that it imposes a strict quota. However, in no way does the three-part test, also known as the three-prong test, impose numerical requirements that may resemble a quota. In short, the three-part test acts as a benchmark for determining whether or not schools are providing fair athletic opportunities for males and females.
Schools need to make gender-conscious choices when they decide how to allocate resources because athletic teams are gender segregated. The three-part test helps guide schools in making those choices.
Title IX has been instrumental in bringing fairer opportunities for female athletes across the country. Despite many of its successes, Title IX is still a much-needed legislation. Gender equity must be fought for and Title IX protects it.