The Case Against Title IX in Athletics

Jack Parkos | United States

Recently, Secretary of education Betsy DeVos proposed reforms to Title IX. However, the way this law has been implemented has been poor. Title IX is a 1972 law that prohibits gender discrimination in schools. The law reads as follows:

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.

Though this law does not explicitly mention sports, it has mainly impacted college and high school athletics. The law requires schools to give equal opportunity to both men’s and women’s sports. Under it, schools must fund and give scholarships to both men and women equally. This part of the law should be repealed. Though it has good intentions, this law, like many others, faces poor implementation.

The Economic Case Against Title IX

If something does not produce economic gains, does it make sense to funnel more money into it? Certainly not. But this form of equality guarantees exactly that; even if a woman’s sports team brings in no money, it continues to get equal representation. If the government forced a business to invest in a provably low investment, would it be just? Not a chance: forcing them to lose money to prop up a failed experiment is tyranny.

Since its implementation, 400 men’s programs have been cut. Wrestling, in particular, has seen a huge impact. While interest in wrestling has increased, schools have dropped their wrestling programs. Why? Simply put, they will lose federal funding otherwise. Private schools must also comply if they take federal funding for grants and scholarships; students can lose their awards if their school does not partake in this law.

Inequality of Attendance

Many people in favor of title IX argued it wasn’t fair that schools spent more money on men’s sports and had more teams. They were right that men’s sports got more funding, but wrong in assuming it was for a sexist reason. Men’s sports produce greater profits than women’s. Football and men’s basketball games, for example, produce huge sums of money and copious media attention. Of 347 NCAA Division 1 basketball teams, men record a higher average home game attendance in 339 of them. Women’s sports simply do not give as much to the school; thus, it is fair for them also to receive less.

Moreover, male athletes have the possibility of going to the NFL or NBA. Having a star football player go professional is very beneficial for a college, as it will attract more athletes than others. This system also occurs in academic fields, of course, where no gender has an advantage. However, the NFL and NBA make billions every year and attract millions of fans. This is simply consumer preference. More men and women alike prefer to watch male sports, so it makes sense that schools would have more opportunities to do so.

Although officially, the protects discrimination from both sexes, it clearly intends to provide women’s sports. In 2006, James Madison University had to cut seven men’s teams to comply with the law. Fans, athletes, students, joined together to sue the school, but courts dismissed the lawsuit.

The Government’s Role

The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution clearly reads as follows:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

There is no section of the Constitution that gives the federal government the right to regulate such a bill. One may argue, however, that the 14th Amendment allows this bill to pass.

However, the Fourteenth Amendment relates to equal access to life, liberty, and property. If your sports team is not good enough to bring in money, it is not violating your rights to cut it. Athletics have nothing to do with these rights. This amendment gave former slaves equal access to rights in the Bill of Rights. As stated above, the right to play a sport is not one of these; it simply does not apply to Title IX.

Rather than restricting the way schools operate, we should try to give them more control over their budgets. After all, State control of education has been a disaster. While the State holds a monopoly on schools, it should at least grant them more liberties to spend as they please. Something as trivial as athletic funding is no business of the government, and Title IX is little more than a way for the government to overextend its power.


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