Title IX: More Harm Than Good

So, remember the movie Juwanna Mann? It’s all right if you don’t, it was a pretty terrible movie. But the idea behind it was that the main character gets kicked out of the NBA, and he decides that the only way he can play basketball is to dress in drag and join the WNBA. I don’t think the movie’s creators intended for anyone to apply this ridiculous concept in real life, but essentially that is what some college teams are apparently doing. Through some loophole, colleges have been padding women’s sports rosters with men in order to comply with Title IX. According to this article by Katie Thomas of the New York Times, that and much more is going on at numerous Division I schools.

Katie spells out the facts much better than I could repeat them, so I won’t make you read the same thing twice, but as I read her article, I had two thoughts: Why does Title IX still exist, and why do schools feel the need to do this in the first place?

Seriously, it’s about time Title IX was gotten rid of; to me it feels a lot like “separate but equal.” If the average ratio of girls to guys is 60/40 at Division I schools, then clearly there is no discrimination. In my lifetime, I have not read a story where a school was accused – and found guilty of – purposefully cutting women’s programs from their budget in order to better provide for men’s programs. If you can find an article for a specific instance that occurred in the last 23 years, I encourage you to post a link to it in the comments section.

Women’s sports is getting more television coverage than ever before. ESPN started televising every single game of the Women’s Basketball Tournament, and the Softball World Series has also seen extensive TV time in recent years. All of that is in thanks to Title IX, sure. Without the creation of it, none of that coverage would be paid to the very talented young ladies of those respective sports. Also, I know that Nebraska’s volleyball team packs the house for their matches, averaging over 10,000 people for each match. It simply astounds me that with all the revenue coming to the schools through these channels, they still feel the need to pad the rosters.

Obviously there are a lot of factors in this; schools must to do what they call “roster management” for a reason. They still feel the pressure to comply with Title IX, yet don’t want to cut funding for monster programs like football or men’s basketball. But I think the compensation has gotten a little out of hand. As I mentioned, the national enrollment ratio is 60/40 in the girls favor, yet schools still set themselves up for potential embarrassment by practicing roster management. To me, however, the fact that the ratio is tilted so much in the woman’s favor suggests one thing: maybe fewer women actually want to play sports.

Read none of this as a slight to women’s sports; they deserve every right to play sports while in college. But Title IX does not help anything. If it is done away with, schools aren’t going to suddenly start cutting women’s programs left and right, because they know that would regress college sports by 40 years. Title IX made it possible for every woman student to play sports if they desire, shed a spotlight on gender discrimination, and changed the NCAA sporting landscape for the better. It has done it’s duty. It’s time for Title IX to be done away with, so we can stop seeing a difference between men and women’s programs, and start putting them towards a collective effort to better their respective universities.

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