Let’s end the rhetoric that implies that equality for women causes men to underachieve. The benefits of Title IX are not limited to opening opportunities for girls and women who are happier, healthier and more confident because they have played sports.
What Title IX has achieved in influencing boys and men who respect girls and women and their athletic, academic and workplace abilities is every bit as important and nothing short of remarkable.
Even so, there remains a persistence of inequities. Women’s sports participation opportunities, operating budgets, and scholarship and recruitment dollars are still vastly lower than for men’s sports.
The benefits of Title IX to both women and men will not be fully realized until equality is achieved.
Below are Letters to the Editor of the New York Times, Published: July 14, 2006:
Ladies, Don’t Throw the Title IX Game!
To the Editor:
“Let the Guys Win One,” by John Tierney (column, July 11), is an unwarranted attack on Title IX and equity in higher education.
The American Association of University Women has long been working to dispel the myth that expanded educational opportunities for women have come at the expense of men. The same applies to collegiate sports.
Research shows that most schools still fail to provide equitable athletic opportunities for women. Further, Title IX does not require equal allocation of athletic scholarships between the sexes — more men get a free ride.
Mr. Tierney says that a lot of women who are not dedicated athletes “have better things to do, like study or work on other extracurricular activities.” Such comments perpetuate the very stereotypes about women’s roles that Title IX is designed to dispel.
Pitting one sex against the other is not a “winning goal” in the larger issue of improving education.
Ruth Z. Sweetser
President, American Association of University Women
Washington, July 11, 2006
To the Editor:
John Tierney cites the “myth” that “women need sports as much as men do” to justify his call to roll back certain provisions of Title IX.
But the real myths about Title IX are that it requires identical athletic programs for men and women and that it mandates that the same amount of financing be devoted to men’s and women’s athletics. In fact, only on scholarships does Title IX require that the same dollars be spent proportional to participation.
Title IX was a landmark victory for equal opportunity. It created an even playing field, giving women a fair shot at college scholarships and thus aiding the steady rise in the number of female doctors, lawyers, professors and corporate executives.
While there may be legitimate concerns about a possible gap in educational achievement between young men and women, ganging up on the girls on the playing field by eviscerating Title IX is neither a winning nor a sporting strategy.
Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress, 14th Dist., N.Y.
Washington, July 12, 2006
To the Editor:
Women have a right to play this game, too. Women may not be able to throw a football for 60 yards, but they believe in teamwork, working hard, playing fair and winning. And they do it knowing they won’t be treated as gods, as male athletes are.
When they come off the field, women may get only hugs and pats on the back, but I’m betting that a lot of those hugs will come from supportive fathers and brothers.
That’s why I say women should not throw this fight. We won the battle in 1972 to have the same opportunity to develop our athletic talents and earn college scholarships as men do, and if John Tierney and his supporters want to take Title IX away from us, they should have to fight for it.
I hope you boys got game.
Durham, N.C., July 11, 2006
To the Editor:
Title IX forbids sex discrimination throughout any educational institution, including classes, hiring and admissions, if the institution receives federal funds. Intercollegiate athletics, the subject of John Tierney’s lament, is a minor if much-debated section of the law.
Given Title IX’s broader goals, sports ought not to be the last bastion for men, who are struggling in other areas of academia. Indeed, schools and colleges are still struggling to figure out how to encourage male and female students to take advantage of the educational opportunities before them — in their academics, in extracurricular activities and certainly in sports.
Atlanta, July 11, 2006
(The writer is the author of a book about Title IX and college sports)
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon