Title IX Shuts out Boys; Law Helping Girls into College Sports Enables Discrimination

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Pearson, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

To hear reporters tell it, Americans one and all are gathering to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX. But if you look closer, you'll notice that some people are missing - notably the thousands of male student-athletes who have lost participation opportunities because their teams were cut or capped.

Title IX was enacted by Congress in 1972 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender. Since then, the regulations that test compliance with the law have evolved to the point where they permit the very discrimination the law was intended to prohibit.

Thanks to the dubious way Title IX is enforced, schools everywhere fear they must make their sports rosters proportional to their enrollment in order to be safe from the wrath of federal regulators and trial lawyers. That means if 57 percent of the student body is female (the average at America's colleges) then 57 percent of the school's athletes must be female as well. This compliance test serves to advantage the majority gender on college campuses in every way possible, while the minority gender is pushed below the law.

However, the glowing media coverage of Title IX's anniversary avoids these dirty details and blatantly crosses the line from objective reporting to cheerleading. Any damage done by Title IX's enforcement is roundly ignored, and any criticism is summarily dismissed.

The team at ESPN has done its best to invent new scapegoats for the loss of male athletic opportunities. For example, ESPN's Peter Keating claims, you will find that the real enemy of men's sports isn't Title IX. It's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) scholarship limits. His theory fails to consider that hundreds of colleges don't even offer athletic scholarships.

ESPN's Kate Fagan and Luke Cyphers label critics noisy people, telling them Title IX is not to blame for cuts in men's sports. The real culprits? King football and prince basketball, they say. What about the roughly 40 percent of NCAA schools that don't have football teams or the 75 percent of NCAA and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics member schools that operate outside of the NCAA Division I basketball machine?

Before Title IX was passed, one of the law's architects, Democratic Sen. Birch Bayh, assured Americans, The language of my amendment does not require reverse discrimination. It only requires that each individual be judged on merit, without regard to sex. Since then, Mr. …