Booster clubs for high school sports face Title IX scrutiny

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Such claims have long been the major complaint against Title IX. A 2007 longitudinal study of NCAA athletic participation by the CSC shows that universities in recent decades have ensured compliance with Title IX largely by cutting men’s teams.

“The results were clear. … Opportunities for men have decreased,” Allison Kasic wrote about the CSC study in a June position paper for the Independent Women’s Forum. “From 1981 to 2005, male athletes per school declined 6 percent, and men’s teams per school dropped 17 percent. Meanwhile, female athletes per school rose 34 percent, and women’s teams per school rose 34 percent.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Kasic noted, women have had more teams than men since 1995 and “every male sport, with the exception of baseball, has decreased or remained static. Non-revenue sports such as wrestling, tennis, and gymnastics have been the hardest hit.”

In October, officials at the University of California at Berkeley announced the elimination of five NCAA programs, including women’s lacrosse and its championship men’s rugby team, citing sex equity and donor impact among the reasons for the decision.

But even when school budgets aren’t an issue, Title IX can come into play because, the National Federation of State High School Associations says, money raised by parent booster clubs should be dedicated to a school’s entire athletic program.

Booster funds were at the core of one recent Pennsylvania case.

Officials with a suburban Philadelphia school board announced that a settlement on a complaint claiming disparate booster funding had been reached with the Education Department’s civil rights office.

Although the settlement says the Council Rock School District admits no liability, the agreement concludes that booster funding can create a “disparate impact for females or men,” Council Rock Superintendent Mark Klein said.

The women’s group filed the complaints seven months after Mr. Biden and Mr. Duncan said the Obama administration would make Title IX enforcement a priority.

“Making Title IX as strong as possible is a no-brainer,” Mr. Biden said in April. “What we’re doing here today will better ensure equal opportunity in athletics and allow women to realize their potential - so this nation can realize its potential.”

Mr. Duncan concurred.

“There is no doubt that Title IX has dramatically increased athletic, academic and employment opportunities for women and girls, and educational institutions have made big strides in providing equal opportunities in sports,” Mr. Duncan said. “Yet discrimination continues to exist in college athletic programs - and we should be vigilant in enforcing the law and protecting this important civil right.”

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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