On June 23, 1972, the United States Congress passed a law labeled ‘Title IX’ that states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” There is no question that Title IX served justice for female athletes playing varsity level sports in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In fact, there has been a nearly five times increase from 31, 852 intercollegiate women varsity athletes in 1971 (the year before Title IX was passed) to roughly 166, 800 in 2007. Title IX was a much needed social change for true gender equality in college sports and it is questionable why this law took such a significant amount of time to be passed, given that women were given the right to vote in 1920. It can be argued that without Title IX today, that women’s college sports could have been completely ignored all together.
As college sports have become just as, if not more, popular than their corresponding professional sport counterpart, several colleges and universities nationwide find themselves making millions of dollars of revenue annually. In NCAA Division I sports, football and men’s basketball are usually the two main areas where an athletics program generate their revenue and for the most part, how athletics programs are able to break even during a year of athletics. Generally, in these Division I schools, females predominantly outnumber males in enrollment. However, per Title IX regulations, the ratio of male to female athletes must correspond to the ratio of male to female students, causing revenue generated by mostly by men’s sports to be redistributed to women’s athletics. This specific part of the law creates two effects that raise controversy to many and begs the question; does Title IX actually create gender equity in its rules on how to distribute money?
Although Title IX only contains 37 words, there are hundreds of pages that describe the law in more depth. Simplified, it is broken down into three components. The first component is known as the “Three Prong Test” which is three scenarios in which a high school or college athletic department must follow at least one in order to be in compliance with Title IX. The ‘Three Prongs’ are: 1. Opportunities for males and females must be substantially proportionate to their respective enrollments. 2. Where one sex has been underrepresented, the program must show a history and continuing practice of program expansion responsive to the developing interests and abilities of that sex. 3. Where one sex is underrepresented and the school cannot show a continuing practice of program expansion, it must be demonstrated that the interests and abilities of that sex have been fully and effectively accommodated by the existing program.
The second component of Title IX basically states that athletic scholarships must be provided in the same proportion of males and females at the school, furthermore the athletic program. For example, if College A had 55% women attending the school, women must receive 55% of money that is allocated towards athletic scholar ship. The third and final component states that the overall benefits and services that each athlete will receive must be the same regardless. These benefits include, but are not limited to equipment and supplies, scheduling of games and practice time, travel and its related expenses, coaches, locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities, medical/ training facilities and services, availability of tutors, and publicity.
College sports have turned into a business. Was this the intention when the NCAA was first created in order to create structure and organization in intermural sports? No, but American consumers have taken interest into college sports far more than anyone could have imagined. While the majority of men’s and women’s...
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