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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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