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 #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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