By Ken Reed
Title IX has been hugely beneficial for society, yet several myths remain prevalent.
Here’s an important fact: Since the law’s inception, both male and female participation in college sports has increased. And another one: In three major polls, about 80 percent of Americans surveyed say they want Title IX left alone or strengthened. So, in short, Title IX is working. It’s increased equal opportunity in education in general, and school sports in particular, for both genders (although a gender gap still exists in favor of males, and unfortunately that gap has increased the past decade) and the vast majority of Americans like the law.
Perhaps the biggest myth surrounding Title IX is that the law forces schools to cut men’s sports. That simply isn’t true. For example, according to 2011 NCAA data, the number of male student-athletes grew from 214,464 in 2002 to 252,946 in 2011. That’s an increase of 38,482. During the same timeframe, female student-athletes increased from 158,469 to 191,131, a jump of 32,662.
It’s true that non-revenue men’s sports such as wrestling, swimming and tennis have been cut since Title IX’s enactment but that’s due primarily to the over-emphasis on football and men’s basketball at NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools. At these universities, football and basketball account for 78 percent of men’s sports budgets (contrast that to NCAA Division III where those two sports account for only 41 percent of men’s sports budgets). Despite all the rhetoric, it’s the desire to keep feeding the big-time sports pig (football and men’s basketball) that’s crowding out non-revenue men’s sports, not the need to fund women’s sports due to Title IX. The battle on big-time Division I college campuses isn’t between men’s and women’s sports. It’s between football and men’s basketball and all other sports — both men’s and women’s.
“In the past decade, Division I schools have cut 121 men’s non-revenue sports programs,” wrote Liz Clarke recently in a Washington Post piece.
“But in Divisions II and III, which don’t compete in big-time football, men’s non-revenue sports are thriving, with more than 400 teams added in the past decade. If wrestling vanishes, blame football, not Title IX.”
It’s important to remember that Title IX wasn’t designed to consider commercial interests or profit margins. It was designed to provide equal opportunity in the educational setting.
That’s the way it should be. And why Title IX is a good law.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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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