Title IX was necessary then, but now it's just unfair
Posted: Tuesday October 10, 2006 3:06PM; Updated: Wednesday October 11, 2006 3:43PM
Some schools are being forced to cut men's sports, such as cross-country, in efforts to comply with Title IX.
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No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational programs or activity receiving federal financial assistance. -- From the preamble to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Thus is it clearly stated: You can't be excluded from participating in a sport because of your sex. Yet this important law is flaunted every year, every season. Only today, the victims are men, not the women that Title IX was originally enacted to protect.
The most recent, egregious example of male sex discrimination in intercollegiate sports occurred at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., where on Sept. 29 the visitor's board voted to eliminate 10 of the university's 28 sports teams in 2007: seven men's teams (archery, cross-country, gymnastics, indoor track, outdoor track, swimming and wrestling) and three women's teams (archery, fencing, gymnastics).
If you are a member of the James Madison men's cross-country team, next year you will be "excluded from participation in" your sport on the basis of your sex. It's as simple as that. You have no team. I recommend that you file a lawsuit. Because the James Madison women's cross-country team will continue to compete.
Why? In this instance, it isn't about money. The James Madison Board enacted the cuts to comply with Title IX, at least as it is interpreted by the Department of Education, which hews to the misguided concept of "proportionality": that if 61 percent of a student population is female, then 61 percent of the student athletes must be female, too.
Never mind if a majority of those women have no interest in competing in intercollegiate sports, do not feel discriminated against, are not discriminated against and stand to gain absolutely nothing from the elimination of men's sports teams. Numbers are numbers.
"With so many teams, we faced an insurmountable challenge coming into compliance with Title IX," said Joseph Damico, rector of the JMU Board of Visitors. "Fundamentally, that is why the Board voted today for this plan."
That is the evil of quotas -- and "proportionality" is a quota by another name. JMU fielded 15 women's sports and 13 men's sports before the vote to eliminate the 10 sports -- not exactly the ratio one would expect of an institution out of compliance with Title IX. A majority its student-athletes (50.7 percent) were women.
Problem was, the overall enrollment of the school is 61 percent female. By the standard of "proportionality" -- a word that isn't used in the original Title IX amendment -- the James Madison sports program was out of whack. Next year it'll be in whack: 61 percent of the athletes will be female, 39 percent male.
That's whacked out and it needs to be stopped. Why not racial proportionality in sports, too? Isn't that what civil rights is all about? Sixty-seven percent white, 14 percent African-American, 13 percent Hispanic, 6 percent Asian American -- let's count noses, colors and genders, take to the field and fight, team, fight!