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Title IX


Bush Administration Weakens Title IX

League of Fans Calls for Action to Protect Anti-Discrimination Law

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, one of the most important and successful civil rights laws in U.S. history, has been undermined by the Bush Administration.

Title IX bars sex discrimination in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding, including athletics. The law gave women access to classes, facilities and opportunities that had historically been male-only. Despite the gains women have made under Title IX, resources for women's sports have never caught up to resources for men's sports at most colleges and universities. Women's athletic programs continue to lag behind men's programs by every measurable criterion, including participation opportunities, athletic scholarships, operating budgets and recruiting expenditures.

Two years ago, League of Fans and Ralph Nader joined with many organizations and individuals in the fight to preserve Title IX from a Bush Administration attempt to weaken the law. President Bushís appointment of a Blue Ribbon panel, called the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics, made recommendations to change Title IX policies that would have diminished three decades of progress in athletics for women. This energized millions of supporters who exposed baseless arguments from opponents of Title IX and finally led to the Department of Education upholding the Title IX standards of compliance.

But in the latest move in a years-long attempt to weaken Title IX, the Department of Education quietly cut the legs out from under the anti-discrimination law last week, inviting no public comment on the new guidelines before posting them on the Departmentís website. The ridiculously offensive alteration allows schools to comply with Title IX by making female students justify that they are deserving of equal opportunities in athletics by responding to e-mail surveys. If these surveys do not show enough interest in, or ability to play, sports, or if there is a lack of response to the survey, then a school can avoid offering sports opportunities to women and be in compliance with Title IX.

As Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women's Law Center questioned in a press release, ìHow many people open, let alone respond to e-mail surveys? This is simply an underhanded way to weaken Title IX and make it easy for schools that arenít interested in providing equal opportunity for women to skirt the law.î

Julie Foudy, captain of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic womenís soccer team who defended Title IX as part of the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics, told USA Today, ìI can hear it now. ëWe lost a women's team because the e-mail survey got stuck in my spam folder for six months.íî

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. And the benefits do not end with the countless women who have gone on to successful careers and trace their accomplishments back to Title IX. 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.

NCAA President Myles Brand said in a statement that, ìThe e-mail survey . . . will not provide an adequate indicator of interest among young women to participate in college sports, nor does it encourage young women to participate -- a failure that will likely stymie the growth of womenís athletics and could reverse the progress made over the last three decades.î Brand also expressed his disappointment that officials issued the change ìwithout benefit of public discussion and input.î

Until women have the same opportunities as men to enjoy the psychological, physiological and sociological benefits that sports participation can provide, we must all insist on the protection and strengthened enforcement of Title IX. Currently young women make up 53 percent of the student body in Division One schools, yet they receive only 41 percent of the athletic opportunities, 36 percent of the athletic budgets, and 32 percent of the recruitment budget.

For now, this rollback of Title IX is official. But the Bush Administration is once again underestimating how much equal opportunity means to people in this country. League of Fans urges all to speak out against this weakening of Title IX and in support of the anti-discrimination principle that we treat our daughters as well as our sons.

If you'd like to help, please visit, where contact information is provided for key government offices and public officials concerning Title IX as well as the citizen organizations dedicated to the lawís protection and enforcement.

More on the Bush Administrationís Weakening of Title IX:

Additional Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy: Three-Part Test -- Part Three (the letter explaining the weakening of Title IX)

National Women's Law Center

Survey says: E-mails no way to judge Title IX
Christine Brennan
USA Today - March 24, 2005

League of Fans
P.O. Box 19367
Washington, DC 20036