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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

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Saturday, June 22, 2002
9:58 AM
OUR TITLE IX THOUGHT OF THE DAY...I warned you I was gonna blog about this in my ghost-like absence, off in the wilds where the Post does not curse hallowed ground (or disturb consumption of ale.)

Here are two things that are not true, according to spirit-guide Jessica Gavora, author of Tilting the Playing Field:

1. Most growth in women's sports took place because of Title IX.
2. The average male athlete receives more financial aid than the average female athlete.

No. 1 is not true, Gavora argues, because although Title IX was passed in 1972, it was not used back then as a lever in athletics and the key, regulatory Athletics Policy Interpretation that was used thus wasn't adopted until 1979. And the raze-the-men-to-the-ground strategies of Bill Clinton and particularly the Education Dept.'s Norma Cantu didn't take place until much later. Meanwhile, the explosion in women's sports was taking place in the 1970s.

Between 1971 and 1972, the number of girls playing high school spots jumped almost threefold, from 294,015 to 817,073....By the time the Carter Administration Deptartment of Health, Education and Welfare published its "interpretation" in December 1979, almost one in four high school girsl played sports.

That's up from 1 in 27 girls in 1971. Actually, Gavora is a little more careful than saying flat-out that most of this growth didn't happen because of Title IX--she talks about the difficulty of proving cause-and-effect then presents overwhelming evidence that this effect ain't from that cause.

No. 2 is not true because the General Accounting Office says so, Gavora notes:

Fact: The average female student-athlete now receives more scholarship aid than the average male student-athlete. A GAO study of 532 of the 596 NCAA institutions that grant athleteic scholarships showed that these schools spent $4,458 in scholarships per male athlete and $4,861 per female athlete.

Here's the GAO report in pdf. It's around page 17. What you have to bear in mind, though, is that there are still more male athletes than females. Utopia wasn't built in a day!

UPDATE: Then again, there are more collegiate programs for women than men. Gavora states that too, but I didn't want to push my luck. This from an chat:

Victor (Harlem): Mike, it seems to make sense that providing opportunities should be based on interest - but what about the "if you build it, they will come" phoenomena? Hasn't that been true with having "Women in Science" forums that have tried to 'push' women into those areas?

Mike Moyer: The college sports council regognizes women were discriminated against 30 years ago with college athletics. But a lot has changed as evidenced by the fact there are 500 more intercollegiate programs today for women than men. The application of this gender quota, now creates discrimination against men. You are right, gender quotes do not have in intercollegiate sports and this current Title IX interpretation, should be replaced with a more fair and reasonbale regulation. One that provides opportunities based on interest.

ESPN has a ton of links on this issue, but I haven't had a chance to evaluate it. So, like, you're on your own.

Moyer is executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

Victor is guy who lives in Harlem.

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