Title IX is 31 years old and still has growing pains. Drawn up in 1972, it bans discrimination based on sex as it applies to athletics.
Title IX is designed to provide female athletes with the same opportunities as male athletes. The legislation is fine, and on paper it doesn’t look problematic. But once you scratch the surface, Title IX has one major problem: misuse.
Are opportunities really greater when the playing field is deliberately made smaller for males? Female athletes have the same number of opportunities at the of expense male athletes as many unpopular collegiate men’s sports teams are being cut.
This is what is happening more and more as high schools and colleges are trying to comply with Title IX while cutting corners. Rather than create these opportunites, coaches and athletic directors instead find an easy way out by nixing certain programs.
Protected by a buffer zone of profits, money-making sports like football and basketball are untouchable. It would be financial suicide for athletic directors and head coaches to even consider cutting these programs. So sports like wrestling and swimming and diving act as sacrificial lambs so that female athletes can get their turn at bat.
The legislation was enacted to open doors for women, but its application results in slammed doors in the faces of male wrestlers, swimmers, divers, golfers and any other athlete whose sport isn’t a traditional jackpot.
When the pendulum shift of a dollar shears away an athletic program, it forces the question to be asked: is sports about the love of the game or the love of money? Is an athelete an athlete or is he a money-making machine? It shouldn’t be this way. In order for Title IX to be effective, coaches and athletic directors must be willing to do a little give and take. Give more opportunities to female athletes without taking opportunities from males. They must give up on cutting corners, even if it means taking financial risks.
-Rahkia Nance, 20, is a junior newspaper journalism student from Herndon, Va. She can be reached at Petite8228@aol.com