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A Breakdown of Title IX

 Posted by on March 28, 2012 at 9:21 am  Grow The Game, USWNT, Women's Soccer
Mar 282012

Remember weeks ago when I said a post about Title IX was coming? Yeah… it’s been awhile. Oops. Better late than never, right? When I started writing this entry I realized that there was no way I could cover it in just one post. So I’ll be providing you all a little insight to Title IX one piece at a time. I can hear the roar of the crowd as I type. Just try not to get too excited.

Sarcasm aside, I’m thrilled to be working on this project because of the monumental impact Title IX has had on our society, let alone the female athletes we support on the pitch. As we approach the 40th anniversary of Title IX’s passing, I’m thrilled to see media outlets like ESPNW cover such an important issue. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Christine Grant, a Title IX pioneer that has fought for women’s equality on and off the field for decades. Dr. Grant’s knowledge and passion for the movement is contagious, and the combination of her wit and experience makes for a killer presentation. Not to mention her accent makes everything better because lets be real… everything sounds better in a Scottish Accent.

I have spent a great deal of time in graduate school studying Title IX. But I’ll be honest; there are several things I still don’t understand about the legislation. So for the first post I’m going to provide a general breakdown of the law to provide a little insight. As a disclaimer, note that while Title IX plays an important role in K-12 education, I’ll be focusing on intercollegiate athletics.

The Law

To start us off, here is the exact wording of Title IX:

“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.”

The Focus of Title IX

There are three areas that Title IX focuses in on at the collegiate level: financial assistance, effective accommodation of students’ interests and abilities, and benefits, opportunities and treatment of athletes.

Financial Assistance

The total amount of athletic aid must be substantially proportionate to the ration of male and female athletes. For example, if 45% of athletes are female, then 45% of scholarship money should be awarded to female athletes. It should be noted, however, that Division III is exempt from this as no athletic scholarships are granted at this level

Effective Accommodation of Students’ Interests and Abilities

What most folks don’t know is that there are actually three ways to be in compliance with Title IX, but an institution only has to meet one to satisfy the requirements. This ‘Three-Prong Test’ is probably the most misunderstood aspect of Title IX. While many people think that Title IX is a ‘quota law’, proportionality is not required. The three-prong test includes:

  1. Opportunities for males and females proportional to enrollments.
  2. History and continuing practice of program expansion responsive to the developing interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex
  3. Interests and abilities of underrepresented sex have been fully and effectively accommodated by the present program.

Benefits, Opportunities, and Treatment

The final prong of the three-prong test focus on what student athletes receive in terms of benefits, the number of and type of opportunities they are given, and how they are treated within the athletic department. Some of the most notable benefits include:

  • Equipment and supplies (i.e. helmets, pads, shoes, athletic clothes, etc.)
  • Scheduling of practice and competition
  • Travel and per diem
  • Opportunities for coaching and access to academic tutors
  • Assignment and compensation of those coaches and tutors
  • Locker room, practice and competitive facilities
  • Medical and training facilities and services
  • Housing and dining facilities and services
  • Publicity
  • Support services
  • Recruitment of student-athletes

The basis of this prong is that female athletes should receive similar benefits as their male counterparts. So, if the football team is provided all of their equipment and new practice facilities, the institution should make an effort to provide the same type of benefits to female athletic teams.

If you’re still with me look forward to another post focusing on how school’s are doing, what some of the set-backs are, and how we have almost lost Title IX… many times. I’d love to hear comments, questions, concerns, etc. If you’re interested in specific areas of Title IX make sure to leave a comment as I’ll do my best to cover in the next few posts. This is going to be fun…

Grant, Christine. “Facts & Figures Vs. Myths & Misinformati.” Iowa City. 1 Mar. 2012. Lecture.


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