Academic journal article The University of Memphis Law Review

Title IX: Proportionality and Walk-Ons

Academic journal article The University of Memphis Law Review

Title IX: Proportionality and Walk-Ons

Article excerpt

I. Introduction.........................................................................498

II. Forty Years of Title IX......................................................500

A. Enactment and Purpose....................................................500

B. The Supreme Court and Title IX's Application to College Athletics............................................................................501

C. The Three-Part Test of Title IX Compliance: Extending Title IX to College Athletics.....................................................503

III. The Proportionality Standard's Effect on Men's and Women's Athletics.......................................................508

A. Advances Made by Women in Intercollegiate Athletics ...508

B. The Proportionality Standard's Negative Effect on Men 's Athletics............................................................................509

IV. Major Solutions Proposed to Remedy the Proportionality Standard.........................................511

A. The Football Exemption...................................................511

B. Interest Surveys: Switching the Focus to the Third Standard..........................................................................513

C. Eliminating the Proportionality Standard........................515

V. Evaluating The Recommendations of the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics.............................................516

A. Background of the Commission........................................516

B. Three Recommendations Relating to the Proportionality Standard.........................................................................517

VI. Recommendation 17: Excluding Walk-Ons from the Ratio...............................................................................519

VII. Conclusion........................................................................521

I. Introduction

Amateur athletes dream of one day enjoying the honor and privilege of competing for a college athletic program. Now, some of those collegiate athletes who achieve their dream must fear the day when a university notifies them that their sports team will be eliminated, their scholarships lost, and their hard work wasted. In May of 1993, the men's swimming program at the University of Illinois faced one of the worst possible scenarios for college athletes-the administration announced plans to cut four athletic teams, including men's swimming.1 2 The university cut men's swimming in an effort to achieve a statistical balance of male-tofemale athletes to bring the university's athletic program into compliance with Title IX. Seeking recourse, the team brought suit against the Board of Trustees of the University, its chancellor, athletic director, and associate athletic director, claiming a violation of Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.3 Despite the team's legal efforts, the Seventh Circuit granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and rejected the team's Title IX complaint.4

Unfortunately, this is the fate of most male collegiate athletes alleging violations of Title IX after athletic programs eliminate their teams.5 Ironically, Title IX-a statute enacted to safeguard and promote gender equality-is now responsible for a collegiate athlete's horrible disappointment in hearing that his team will be cut from his university's athletic program.6 7 8 Indeed, Title IX has paved the way for opportunities for women in education and athletics, but in its current interpretation and application, Title IX is flawed. The United States Department of Education should amend Title IX compliance standards to halt the ever-increasing number of men's athletic teams cut by universities to achieve Title IX compliance.

Since its enactment in 1972, Title IX has done much to *7 achieve gender equality in the educational setting. Perhaps one of Title IX's greatest accomplishments has been its effect on increaso o opportunities for women in collegiate athletics. …

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