Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments Act has athletic directors the country over in a state of panic. Many of them fear that the Department of Health, Education and Welfare will now interpret it to mean that colleges receiving federal aid must spend as much on women's athletics as they do on men's and they envision the end of big-time college sports. According to Maine Congressman Peter N. Kyros, the only mention of athletics in the legislative history of Title IX occurs in a colloquy between Senators Peter Dominick and Birch Bayh in which Bayh says that "What we are trying to do is provide equal access for women and men students to the education process and extracurricular activities in a school where there is not a unique facet such as football involved." The courts, which have decided several cases against schools that denied women any opportunity in athletics, most likely will give strong weight to the Bayh view.
This is the conclusion of Representative Kyros, who last month brought extraordinary sense to the discussion of women's athletics in a talk before the Maine Athletic Directors Conference. Among his points were these:
There should be equality of opportunity not because it is the law but because it is morally right. It would be a mistake, however, to push for it too fast. The concern should be for equal opportunities rather than equal expenditures. The best guideline is fairness.
Many cringe at sanctioning the "separate but equal" approach, but it may become necessary. Because men generally are superior athletes, compelling schools to offer competitive team sports on a coeducational basis could result in unequal opportunity for women. But exceptions must be made for the gifted woman athlete, such as Billie Jean King.
Money is the big bugaboo. Obviously, if the fairness test is used, more will be expended on women's athletics as directors ask themselves such questions as, is it fair that men have locker rooms and women do not; that men can use the field with artificial turf and women cannot; that men fly to the big game and eat steak the night before while women hold bake sales to pay for their bus tickets and brown-bag lunches?
Finally, women directors and coaches should receive equal pay and responsibilities and enjoy equal working conditions. They should not have to teach three phys ed classes and coach while the men only coach.
GOOD DEAL IN CARDS
If kids seem unusually frantic about baseball card collecting this year, there is a reason. Anticipating a move that never came about, Topps bubble gum identified 14 San Diego Padres as playing for Washington. Thousands of the cards were distributed before Topps gummed up the works and stopped the presses, and they have become collectors' items selling for $2 apiece. The error is a hit.
PASSING THE BUCK
One of the benefits promised New Yorkers before the state legalized off-track betting was the summary disappearance of the bookmaker. He would starve, the theory went, while New York and its tracks thrived on a whopping 17% cut from the bettors' winnings. As is usual with such roseate predictions, this one did not quite pan out. Attendance at the tracks dropped and bettors began wandering back to their favorite bookies.