Gender gap remains for girls in sports

14 Jun

All children must have access to activities which channel their energies and get them to focus on healthy pursuits. For some children, it is sports, for others it may be the arts. It is important to get girls out of the booty call culture.

Katie Thomas has a great article in the New York Times about how colleges are evading if not the letter of, then the spirit of Title IX. In, College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equity Thomas reports about a lawsuit. The piece of legislation which mandated gender equity in sports is Tile IX. The National Center for Education Statistics has Fast Facts About Title IX

Frederic J. Frommer has posted the article, Group Sues Education Department Over Title IX High School Enforcement at Huffington Post.

A group of coaches, parents and others is suing the Education Department over how it determines whether high schools are complying with the federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools.

The 1972 law, Title IX, has helped open more academic and sports opportunities for women.

At issue is one way the government determines whether a school is complying: whether the number of male and female athletes at a school is in proportion to their enrollment.

The American Sports Council says that way of checking compliance will lead to quotas and the elimination of boys’ sports teams. The group wants a court order to stop the department from using the test.

The American Sports Council describes themselves:

ABOUT US

The American Sports Council was formerly known as the College Sports Council

The American Sports Council is a national coalition of coaches, athletes, parents, alumni, and fans who are devoted to preserving and promoting the student athlete experience.

Activities of the organization include:

* Saving sports programs. Members of the ASC have comprehensive, hands on experience in working with college programs threatened with termination. The ASC is the only national multi- sport coalition devoted to the preservation of collegiate and scholastic athletic teams.

* Title IX reform. The ASC is the leading organization working for reform of Title IX regulations that have led to the widespread elimination of opportunities for male athletes.

This is what the American Sports Council says about Title IX

TITLE IX HAS EVOLVED INTO AN INSTRUMENT OF INEQUITY

A federal law originally written to prohibit sex discrimination in our nation’s schools, Title IX has been twisted by special interests into a law that guarantees the opposite in our athletic programs.  

According to  Jessica Gavora, author of Tilting the Playing Field, Schools, Sports, Sex, and Title IX., “Title IX has been morphed into a strict body count quota.”  The truth and the ramifications of this statement create an irrefutable case for reforming Title IX.

The Title IX regulations implemented in the US Department of Education have codified the idea that any differences between males and females in athletics can only be due to sex discrimination. 

PROPORTIONALITY

When originally passed by the US Congress Title IX simply stated:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…”

Unfortunately the regulations and enforcement of this law has been delegated to the federal bureaucrats of the Department of Education, whose most damaging contribution to the interpretation of Title IX is the “Proportionality” standard.  A school is in compliance with the proportionality standard when the percentage of males and females in an athletic program match the percentage of males and females is the general student body.  Most high schools are close to 50% males and females in the general student body therefore for the high school to be in compliance with Title IX through proportionality the varsity athletes at the school must be 50% male and female as well. 

A HYPOTHETICAL ON PROPORTIONALITY

Here is a simple example of how proportionality decimates simple fairness and common sense.

Suppose a college with an overall student body that is 50% women and 50 % men had only two varsity athletic teams – one track and field team for women and one for men. Each team has the same support and resources, even (as is often the case in collegiate track programs) the same coaching staff.  After working hard to attract athletes to both teams the school ends up with 45 males and 35 females in the schools track and field varsity program.   Both teams have room for even more athletes on their track and field rosters but these were all the coaches could find that wanted to compete at the college. 

The college is then approached by a group ten women students who want to start a volleyball team.   This group tells the college that the application of the proportionality standard establishes them as an the “under-represented sex”.   As the under-represented sex with an unmet athletic interest they, according to current Title IX interpretation,  are entitled to a varsity volleyball program.  These potential student athletes are correct.  The college basically has two choices:

1). Take on the cost of starting a volleyball (or some other women’s team) – coaches, travel, recruiting, facilities, etc.   

2). Take away the “under-represented” status of the group by eliminating  10 males from the track team.  

Faced with this dilemma any school that has to make hard budget and resource choices – which is virtually all of them – will mandate proportionality and choose option 2. 

It matters not that the school had provided exactly equal athletic opportunities to its males and females

It matters not that the school is offering unfilled athletic spots for women.

 It matters not that cutting ten deserving males from the track team saves very little money and does women athletes no good.

 And it would matter not if there were many, many, more males than females interested in playing volleyball, golf, tennis or any sport.

All that matters is that proportionality bestows the status of  “under-represented sex”  that demands not equal opportunity – but equal outcomes. 

HARD NUMBERS

Consider the following national statistics:

NCAA

57% female/43% male – average student body in US four-year colleges

181,000 –  number of female NCAA athletes in 2010

240,000 – number of male NCAA athletes in 2010

9,400 – number of NCAA women’s teams in 2010

8,400-number of NCAA men’s  teams I  2010

The stage is set for the continued, inexorable, and massive elimination of men’s teams and the pointless reduction of men’s team roster sizes.  With there already being 1,000 more women’s then men’s NCAA teams and with  a Title IX compliance regime dominated by the proportionality standard –  it is difficult to envision a scenario where 20-30% of today’s male athletic opportunities will not be lost. 

High Schools

3.2 million – number of girl varsity athletes in US 2010

4.5 million – number of boy varsity athletes in US 2010

The ramifications of these numbers and current Title IX interpretation should concern all parents and educators.  Last fall, the National Women’s Law Center filed complaints with the US Department of Education.   These complaints were against 12 public high school systems across the US and were based on proportionality.   Several of the targets were cash-strapped urban school systems in Chicago, New York, and Houston. 

The idea is to put our nation’s communities on notice that the judgment and concerns of the school board it elects, and  the administrators  it  hires,  does  not matter.   What will matter are the desires of the unelected and unaccountable federal bureaucrats, and the special interests from whom they take their cue.

One Million Boys are facing being told they cannot participate in interscholastic athletics  in our  nation’s  high schools because of quotas and bureaucrats.   Unless their communities make it clear to their elected federal officials  that they care more about and better understand the needs of their children then do the agenda-driven outsiders from Washington DC .

Want to read more?  See what one of the most syndicated and respected columnists in the nation, George Will, says in his Newsweek Column  “A Train Wreck called Title IX” at: http://www.newsweek.com/2002/05/26/a-train-wreck-called-title-ix.html

The basis of lawsuit is that men athletes are being shortchanged by Title IX.

The Women’s Sports Foundation has several reasons why sports are important for girls

  • High school girls who play sports are less likely to be involved in an unintended pregnancy; more likely to get better grades in school and more likely to graduate than girls who do not play sports.

  • As little as four hours of exercise a week may reduce a teenage girl’s risk of breast cancer by up to 60%; breast cancer is a disease that afflicts one out of every eight American women. (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 1994)

  • Forty percent of women over the age of 50 suffers from osteoporosis (brittle bones). (Osteoporosis, 1996) None of us should want our daughters to repeat the experiences of generations of women—our mothers and grandmothers—who were not permitted to play sports or encouraged to participate in weight-bearing exercises that are necessary to establishing bone mass.

  • Girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression.

  • Girls and women who play sports have a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports.

  • Sport is where boys have traditionally learned about teamwork, goal-setting, the pursuit of excellence in performance and other achievement-oriented behaviors—critical skills necessary for success in the workplace. In an economic environment where the quality of our children’s lives will be dependent on two-income families, our daughters cannot be less prepared for the highly competitive workplace than our sons. It is no accident that 80% of the female executives at Fortune 500 companies identified themselves as former “tomboys”—having played sports.

Bryan Toporek writes in Education Week about opportunities for high school girl athletes.

In Title IX: New Opportunities for Girls, But Gender Gap Remains, Toporek reports:

Experts are unanimous that progress has been made toward the elimination of gender discrimination in high school athletics, based on participation figures alone, but they also say there’s still plenty left to do.

In 1971-72, the school year leading up to the passage of Title IX, 294,015 girls took part in high school sports, compared with nearly 3.7 million boys, according toRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader the National Federation of State High School Associations, or about 3.4 million more boys than girls.

TITLE IX

THE LAW

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

COMPLIANCE TEST

In a 1979 policy interpretation, the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights introduced the three-prong test to explain how it would enforce Title IX. As OCR clarified in 1996, schools only need to satisfy one of three prongs to remain in compliance with the law:

Proportionality: Schools must offer athletic participation opportunities to male and female athletes in proportion to their overall respective enrollments.

Opportunity: Schools must show a history and continuing practice of expanding athletic programs for the underrepresented sex.

Interests and Abilities: Schools must demonstrate that the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex have been fully and effectively accommodated.

SOURCES: Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972; U.S. Department of Education

Fast forward to 2010-11, which yields the most recent available data, and that gap shrinks by more than 2 million, with nearly 4.5 million boys and 3.2 million girls participating in high school sports.

Still, the number of female athletes in the 2010-11 school year does not even match the number of male athletes from 1971-72, as Bernice Sandler, a senior scholar at the Washington-based Women’s Research and Education Institute, is quick to point out.

Girls made up 49.7 percent of the overall high school student enrollment in 1970—ever so slightly more than they do now, according to the U.S. CensusRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Ms. Sandler, who has been called the “godmother of Title IX” by The New York Times and played a critical role in its passage, acknowledged that she and other advocates at first did not realize athletics would even fall under its purview.

“We didn’t realize there was so much gender discrimination there,” Ms. Sandler said in a recent interview. “We figured it out in a few months, though.”

TITLE IX

THE LAW

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

COMPLIANCE TEST

In a 1979 policy interpretation, the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights introduced the three-prong test to explain how it would enforce Title IX. As OCR clarified in 1996, schools only need to satisfy one of three prongs to remain in compliance with the law:

Proportionality: Schools must offer athletic participation opportunities to male and female athletes in proportion to their overall respective enrollments.

Opportunity: Schools must show a history and continuing practice of expanding athletic programs for the underrepresented sex.

Interests and Abilities: Schools must demonstrate that the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex have been fully and effectively accommodated.

SOURCES: Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972; U.S. Department of Education

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/06/13/35titleix-sports_ep.h31.html?tkn=OWMF4TAi6wBvyvlWjq85yTm2CyfJBkUDjjrV&intc=es

As a society, we are not going to have committed and involved fathers unless we have strong women who are not willing to bear children for jerks. One way of getting from point A to point B is to raise the self-esteem of girls and to get them involved in activities which take them out of the booty call culture

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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