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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Tuesday, June 04, 2002
8:53 AM

E.J. Dionne doesn't quite get it in his column on how Title IX has increased opportunities for female athletes while eliminating hundreds of male programs. Dionne, with a son and two daughters, wants everyone to have a chance and hates to see all the wrestling teams killed.

It turns out that Rep. Jim Leach, an Iowa Republican, shares my affection for both Title IX and wrestling. "The real issue," argues this former college wrestler, "is not wrestling vs. women's soccer or women's hockey, but football vs. the world." Leach's point is that the big-money men's sports, chiefly football and basketball, consume such a large share of collegiate sports budgets that women's sports and the so-called minor men's sports are being forced to battle over the small pot left over. This produces a zero-sum game.

Football and basketball are not the decisive problems. This, from Jessica Gavora, is:

Alas, women simply don't turn out for competitive sports at the same rate as men. As a result, schools are increasingly forced to make their male-female participation rates more equal not by adding women, but by subtracting men. Colleges across the country have been forced to shut down hundreds of male sports, including the Olympic-training programs that produced gold-medal winners in diving and swimming (see accompanying article). Last fall, Boston University ended its ninety-year-old football program, reducing the number of male athletes on campus by sixty-three and thereby achieving "gender equity" without adding a single new female athlete. At national Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) institutions in the past five years, the number of men playing sports has declined by ten percent.

Title IX has been interpreted in a feminist way to mean that men and women will love all things equally. They will not.

That's from Gavora during the Clinton Administration. She has since written Tilting the Playing Field. Here's somebody at Amazon who liked it:

This is a gem of a book. It is about time that someone took on Title IX, a good law at its onset which has been damaged by hardline feminists who hate men and hate sports too. The truth is that this law, which began as an attempt to promote fairness and equity, has resulted in a twisted numbers game that victimizes male athletes in sports such as wrestling and swimming rather than dignifying female athletes. Moreover, the hardline feminists, whose quota-driven malice Gavora documents to a fare-the-well, now see this law as a wedge into everything from sexual harassment law to quotas in math and physics excellence. Tilting the Playing Field should get the nod as the best sports book of the year.

Here's someone who didn't:

Those who follow Title 9 issues will recognize immediately that this book does nothing more than accept without question the views advanced by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. It is rather amusing that right wing editorialists and elements within the Bush administration (Gavora herself has a political job at the Justice Department) take their queues from this group of progressive deep thinkers. Stop right now and recall the wrestling coach at your school. Enough said.

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