Title IX and Tennis

As the U.S. Open gets into full swing (Go Federer!), the College Sports Council has released a new study looking at collegiate tennis in the Title IX era. As with many men’s sports under Title IX, tennis has seen a decline. But what may be a surprise is that women’s tennis isn’t doing so hot either:

Contrary to popular perception, Title IX’s gender quota has failed to boost womens tennis while it has stripped away men’s tennis teams, according to analysis of NCAA data by the College Sports Council (CSC).

“This new analysis reveals that women’s college tennis is similar to women’s gymnastics in that it hasn’t benefited from the proportionality compliance test for Title IX,” said Eric Pearson, Chairman of the CSC. “Gender quota advocates always profess that Title IX has unquestionably benefitted all womens sports, but when you break it down sport by sport frequently the data tells a different story,” Pearson said.

In 1996, the US Department of Education issued a clarification of Title IX’s regulations that declared the proportionality prong of the three-part test to be a ‘safe harbor.’ The CSC’s analysis tracks the percentage of tennis teams sponsored by NCAA Division I schools since 1996.

Women tennis players have more teams (311) to compete for than male tennis players (258) in NCAA Division I, but the percentage of NCAA schools sponsoring women’s teams has not increased since the 1996 policy clarification (96.4% in 1996 vs. 93.4% in 2009) and the percentage of NCAA Division I schools sponsoring mens tennis teams has declined by more than 14 percent (91.8% in 1996 vs. 77.5% in 2009).

Loads of graphs, data, and other supporting docs are available here.