Title IX affects all schools, specifically those with sports teams. There must be an equal number of sports for women and men. Sometimes, this is challenging because if the school wants to add a new team for one gender, a team has to be added for the other gender too. Using golf as an example, let’s say the school starts a men’s golf team and recruits a bunch of guys to play. What happens if they can’t find enough women to make a team? No guys team 🙁 Here are some other perspectives:
Dropped Varsity Lineup
In the article, Dropped Varsity Lineup, but No Longer Grumbling, by Bill Pennington, a writer for the New York Times, the elimination of dozens of college sports under Title IX is explicated. The most common result of a dropped varsity sport is the formation of a corresponding club sport. In most cases, club sport participants get the opportunity to participate in competition very similar to that of varsity play. For example, the archery club at James Madison University in Virginia “won a national championship last season at the same level of competition it had competed at as a varsity squad” (Pennington, p.2). Additionally, others believe that players receive a fuller experience from club sports. The competition is a little less demanding, which allows athletes to loosen up and enjoy themselves. David Skophammer, a freshman Yale water polo player, summed up the club experience congruently. He stated, “You are compromising a little quality but getting a lot more back from the overall experience” (Pennington, p.1). Skophammer forfeited the opportunity to play in the NCAA institutions in California in order to join Yale’s water polo club team.
Sharp Debate Over Title IX
In the article, Sharp Debate Over Title IX, by Elia Powers, a journalist for Inside Higher ED, the main discrepancy was over the model survey released in 2005 by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights concerning Title IX. “The survey was seen as controversial because it is an easier way for colleges to show compliance with prong three, as it is called, of Title IX’s participation requirement and thus not have a ratio of female to male athletes similar to that of the student body” (Powers, p.1). Jocelyn Samuels, vice president for education and employment at the National Women’s Law Center, believed that the OCR’s orders were too lenient, allowing for colleges to pass with compliance, without changing their ways, which still secured past discrimination toward women. She supported the view that the OCR’s survey permitted colleges to evade their responsibilities to underrepresented athletes. Samuels also brought up that there was unnecessary pressure placed on female athletes to participate in the opportunities presented. However, she was rebutted by Jennifer Braceras, a commissioner, lawyer, and freelance writer, and Danciel Cohen, a lawyer who studied the implications of the 2005 clarification. Braceras argued that, overall, colleges are accommodating the interests of female athletes and continuing to provide more options. Cohen continued with the notion of available options, by stating that “the intention of the federal law was to accommodate current students, not predict or measure future interest” (Powers, p.2). Additionally, commissioners asserted that the method of which survey participation was not correctly imposed. Cohen responded by denoting that OCR made sure that the colleges would administer the survey in a way to capture the largest audience.
But I’m an Athlete
In April, the members and coach of the women’s volleyball team at Quinnipiac University, in Connecticut, sued the university for its plan to cut women’s volleyball on the grounds that it violated Title IX. The presiding judge issued an injunction, which ordered Quinnipiac to keep the women’s volleyball team. However, the plaintiffs remained bitter by the universities’ decision to promote its competitive cheerleading squad to varsity status. Robin Sparks, the aforementioned coach, argued that the purpose of Title IX was to ensure that women have opportunities beyond cheerleading. Nancy Hogshead Makar, legal advisor for the Women’s Sports Foundation, stated that cheerleading could only be considered a sport when treated with the same intensity as the other varsity sports. These requirement included such notions as the same focus on competition, criteria for winning/losing, school support with uniforms, and head-to-head competition to name a few. However, the requirements for a sport in the eyes of the OCR were much broader. One of the only criteria was that competition should be the chief objective, arguably a component in almost any physical activity. Even the National Collegiate Cheerleading Association doesn’t recognize cheerleading as a sport! As a result, lack of institutional support lessens the chances of competitive cheerleading being considered as a sport. Those universities, who have added it, did so, purely because of convenience and available capital. For Morgan State, an educational institution which already had a highly active cheering squad, it seemed like a smart move. In that atmosphere, cheerleading fit right in with their intercollegiate athletic program, and Floyd Kerr, the athletic director at Morgan, supported its quick assimilation to the fullest.
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