But such conjecture is now just that—conjecture. In the wake of the Grove City decision, there is reason to fear that some of the recent gains by women's sports programs may be reversed. Even under broader interpretation of Title IX, inequities in opportunities for women continued to exist. While many college and high school administrators today are full of good intentions when it comes to women's athletics, they often are also subject to severe budget pressures, and the Grove City decision could embolden some of them to cut corners at the expense of women's programs.
One who expects as much is Sally Goldfarb, a lawyer with the National Women's Law Center, a Washington-based women's rights organization. "Many colleges resisted Title IX at first, and even now, discrimination is rampant. Men have their uniforms washed for them; women often do their own. Men get better practice times and facilities. Men take airplanes while women's teams drive their own cars. Men eat steak; women hamburger." Goldfarb's concern is echoed by University of Missouri chancellor Barbara Uehling, who said that the court ruling will increase the "temptation to cut back" in women's college sports.
But the Grove City ruling may have a silver lining. Because it was based not on the Constitution but on the Supreme Court's reading of Congressional intent in passing Title IX, the current Congress could, in effect, overturn it. And there appears to be considerable sentiment among Republicans and Democrats alike to do just that by enacting new legislation that would apply Title IX on an institution-wide basis if any kind of federal aid is received. Another bright spot: In explaining its disinclination to be covered by Title IX, Grove City College insisted it was acting not out of any discriminatory impulse but because of a desire to be independent of federal meddling. Whether or not this means women are getting a fair shake there, Grove City's women's sports program certainly seems healthy. Its women's tennis team has won 42 of its last 43 matches; its women's volleyball team has won six Keystone Conference titles in the last seven years; and its women's basketball team has been in the NCAA Division III playoffs twice in the last three years and last season had the nation's leading scorer.
During a recent off-the-air chat, CBS-TV basketball announcer Gary Bender asked Akeem Olajuwon, the University of Houston's 7-foot center, if there was any sport he couldn't master.
"I can't swim," Akeem replied.
"Neither can I," said Bender.
"Yeah, but I can wade out a lot farther than you can," Olajuwon said.
SOUNDS LIKE HE DIDN'T GET TICKETS
A slightly hysterical letter from a local resident that ran the other day in the Los Angeles Times comes as a reminder that not everybody in L.A. is eagerly looking forward to the Summer Olympics. The letter said in part: