Title IX celebrates its 34th birthday this Friday. The law’s latest victim is the wrestling program at Fresno State University. The program had a great track record, producing 33 All-Americans, including 2004 Olympic silver medalist Stephen Abas.
Wrestling is the sixth men’s sport to be cut at Fresno State since 1992. In the same time, only swimming and diving has been cut on the women’s side. It’s a shame to see a law crafted with good intentions be used so often as a vehicle for taking opportunities away from men, instead of providing opportunities for women. As IWF’s Vice President and NRO contributor Carrie Lukas pointed out last year on Title IX’s birthday:
The only winners from cutting men’s teams are radical gender ideologues fixated on mathematical parity between men and women. It certainly isn’t a victory for female athletes. Many college women who had run track or swum with their male counterparts were saddened to see those teams killed. Anyone who loves sport for both genders should desperately want an alternative to the perverse Title IX quota system.
Last year, the Bush administration took steps toward common sense Title IX reform, providing options for schools to measure student interest in athletics and accordingly comply with Title IX. Bush’s actions were in line with the intent of the original law:
Fulfilling student interest was always supposed to be one way to comply with Title IX. But given the threat of costly legislation, few universities have been willing to risk relying on compliance through such an inherently subjective measure.
Unfortunately, reform is hard to come by:
Hostility toward reform is likely based on fear of what an honest assessment may find: that more men are drawn to sports than women. And indeed, evidence that men have a greater interest in athletics abounds. Men’s participation in intramural leagues on college campuses dwarfs women’s; men spend more time watching sports; men spend more money on sports; and male athletes are more willing to sit on benches as second stringers than female athletes, who often quit when not regularly played.
The feminists and left-wing politicians who sing the praises of Title IX don’t want to face these facts. They envision a world in which men and women act the same and are equally represented in all walks of life. But that’s not how actual men and women behave. These social engineers want government to force that outcome anyway.
My advice to Fresno State wrestlers: Don’t go down without a fight. Programs have come back from the dead (like Bucknell’s wrestling program). Tell your story to every alumnus, student, parent, and donor you can talk to. And, if any Fresno State alums are reading this post, let the school know how you feel about their record of cutting men’s sports.