View Full Version : Title IX and Bush: Something I actually approve of

Nov 17th, 2004, 11:18 PM
Well, not Bush personally.

But rather his nominee for Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings (good name for an education secretary). Spellings currently holds the title of assistant to the president for domestic policy and is responsible for developing and implementing White House policies on education, health, labor, transportation, justice, housing and other domestic matters. What this means, in practice, that she was, to an extent, the administration's referee in the thrown between the College Sport's Council and the Women's Sport's Foundation. Otherwise known as football vs women's sports.

(Skip everything in red ink if you don't care about the minutiae of Title IX. There is one other 'black ink' section below.)

At issue, in the main, is the 'proportionality' prong of Title IX (http://www.dol.gov/oasam/regs/statutes/titleix.htm). If you're not familiar with it, Title IX is, among other things, the law that mandates that, high schools and colleges provide athletic opportunities to women. There are three ways you can be in compliance with the law, but the best defined is 'proportionality'. You have to provide athletic opportunities in proportional to the gender ratio of your student body (within either 1% or 5%. When I research this, my sources differed). Thus, if you're student body is 55% female, either 54% (or 50% depending on which number is the current law) of your athletes have to be female. There are similar rules governing scholarships, coach's salaries, facilities, and number of coaches.

It DOESN'T mandate that the sports have to be the same. 20 Women's soccer scholarships offset 20 men's gymnastics scholarship. There has been an effort to remove this require from the law over the past couple years. Primarily because a large number of men's programs have been dropped in the past two decades.

The two sides give different reasons for this.

* Dropping men's programs to field women's programs.

* Overspending on football (and to an extent basketball)

Margaret Spellings ultimately came down on the side of leaving the law principally as it is, which is what I favored. So she's now not only my favorite Bush appointee, she's my ONLY favored Bush appointee.

As to the 'why' of that, Division II and Division III colleges are, by and large, not having any trouble being in compliance, because they don't have the expenses associated with fielded a Division I-A men's football team, which is some cases takes up 70-75% of a university's athletic budget. If you're spending 70% of your money on ONE sport, that only one gender plays; you almost CAN'T get in compliance.

And while people often CALL football a 'revenue-generating' sport, over half of Division I football programs lose money. (Most collegiate sports teams do. They are not, ostensibly, for-profit entities.)

Participation of women in collegiate athletics has risen for 10% to 40% of the student body nation-wide since this law was enacted in 1972. If you're under 20, you probably can't even remember a time when the perceived wisdom was 'girls don't want to play sports'.

Still, even though it doesn't affect me, I don't like seeing men's collegiate 'non-revenue-generating' sports cut at Division I-A. Couldn't a school give 70 football scholarships instead of 100, and save men's wrestling and gymnastics?

Brian Stewart
Nov 18th, 2004, 09:56 AM
I always thought the government was too wimpy in enforcing Title IX. They should drop the hammer. Tell these schools "be in full compliance by the start of the new school year in September 2005, or lose federal funding". And none of this escaping through the "showing progress" prong. It's been 31 years since the law was passed. There should be more than "progress" in that time.

Solution? I would go a step further than even she would. I'd put a hard cap of 60 players per college football team, period. Scholarship, non-scholarship, walk-on, whatever. No more than 60 total players. NFL teams have 53, and they do 10 times the specialty substituting of colleges. The college season is shorter, the games are less physical, and the playbook is much simpler. It's time to end this welfare system for mediocre football players. Better to spend the money on other sports, including the "minor" men's sports that are always placed on the chopping block, and where the players can actually play worth a crap.

Every time something like this is suggested, the football coaches start their whining. For such a macho sport, a lot of the folks involved sure act like a bunch of wusses. Cut them to 60 players, and tell the coaches to grow up and, oh, coach. Instead of stockpiling good players on a handful of top teams, some will be distributed to other schools, raising the quality of play throughout the NCAA. Maybe that's what they're afraid of. They've got a cushy gig, and don't wnt it spoiled by actually having to work.

And as much as I chastise football, I must put some blame on some of these "minor" sports for buying their "blame the women" policy, instead of having the guts to stand up to football. Seems "wussy-itis" is contagious.

Lee-Waters' Boy
Nov 18th, 2004, 01:57 PM
like it or not, without football there would be no athletics at many universities.

Nov 18th, 2004, 10:12 PM
like it or not, without football there would be no athletics at many universities.That simply is not true. Name ONE case.

There are 40-50 Division I-A schools where the foorball program makes money. In the majority of Division 1-A schools, it loses money.

Division 1-AA, Division II and Division III, which make up the other 90% of NCAA schools, football doesn't make money, but it doesn't COST nearly as much. Either way, in the vast majority of schools, football is not providing money to other sports.

And EVERY Division 1-A school has the money to fund other sports if they drop football. EVERY SINGLE ONE.