In case you missed it, my College Sports Council colleague Clay McEldowney had a fantastic op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post highlighting the disproportionate cuts being made to men’s collegiate sports programs due to the economic downturn and, you guessed it, Title IX. As Clay explains, the ax is falling regularly this summer, and when it falls, it falls hardest on men’s programs because of the quota enforcement of Title IX.
Clay also mentions a remedy that was put in place by the Bush administration but has been largely ignored by colleges and universities because of lawsuits threatened by women’s groups and the NCAA: surveys. Instead of using an arbitrary quota to see if schools are complying with Title IX, just ask the kids what sports they want to play and judge schools on the basis of the results.
A clue as to why pro-quota groups are so afraid of surveys came when Western Illinois University (WIU) braved the legal threats and actually surveyed its students. WIU recently asked all its undergraduates to rate their interest in NCAA-sanctioned sports not currently offered by the university. The results were a stunning rebuke to gender quotas. Of the students who expressed interest in sports not currently offered at WIU, 86 percent were men and just 13 percent were women.
Western Illinois is just one school to use the Title IX survey, but the results show massive unmet interest among men and only slight unmet interest among women. But the law as it stands mandates equal participation, so who do you think is going to lose when times get tough?
– Jessica Gavora, vice president for policy of the College Sports Council, is the author of Tilting the Playing Field: Schools, Sports, Sex, and Title IX.