Academic journal article Journal of Law and Education

Title IX and Intercollegiate Athletics: Wrestling with Elephants?

Academic journal article Journal of Law and Education

Title IX and Intercollegiate Athletics: Wrestling with Elephants?

Article excerpt

In the April 2004 issue of the Journal, Eric Bentley, a then third-year law student with a Master's degree in sports management, argued that elimination of men's non-revenue sports is a "counterintuitive remedy that is contrary to ... Title IX," proposing instead that Title IX be interpreted with standards developed under the analogous Equal Pay Act and Title VII would disfavor this remedy in an effort to provide a more balance approach.1 En route to this proposed solution, he observed that institutions of higher education are over-relying on the proportionality prong rather than the alternative second (i.e., history and continuing practice) and third (i.e., fully accommodated interests) prongs, or tests, that OCR has set forth.2 Using the case scenario of a university wrestling team about to receive the negative news, he posed the athletic mixed metaphor that Title IX, as the typical university interprets it, results in a "knock-out punch" for the team.3

In the accompanying Counterpoint, Rich Haglund, who is the general counsel for the Tennessee State Board of Education, argues that Bentley's proposed solution is "not likely to succeed ... [a] s long as football romps around the student-athletes' sandbox unimpeded."4 Switching the metaphor to institutions to a mix of a multi-lap race, perhaps the steeple chase, with an elephant-not an inebriated pink but rather the money-colored leather of football and basketball-Haglund suggests that the answer is to rein in the elephant and put it on a diet that reallocates its fat to non-revenue sports, whether it is track or wrestling. …

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