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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Monday, June 24, 2002
10:46 AM

Sally Jenkins displays the Post mindset on Title IX, failing to seriously confront the principled arguments against how it's being enforced. She also frames the question falsely, asking what fool could be against Title IX—and the answer is nobody is trying to undo the legislation, just the twisted gender-quota interpretation that Jenkins and others seem to think is part of the law.

The law states that schools receiving federal funding cannot discriminate on the basis of sex. What this means for athletic departments is that they must award scholarships equitably in proportion to the makeup of the student body.

But as I’ve blogged before, this is specifically what the law was not supposed to do. I’ll revisit Jenkins’ column (much) later today.

I guess Post reporters and Jenkins go off the rails because they just won’t give the other side a serious hearing.

My contact at the College Sports Council, which filed suit against the Department of Education to stop the destruction of men's sports programs, tells me the paper has ignored his group from the start:

Two days prior to filing our lawsuit I contacted Neely Tucker, the Post's federal court reporter. He was one of only four reporters we notified ahead of time and we provided him with an embargoed copy of the legal papers, background on the significance of the suit, access to our spokespeople and so on. Tucker duly looked into it, agreed it was a major story and got clearance from his editor to file a piece. He researched and wrote a full-length story and submitted it. Did the Post run it? Of course not. Instead they ran four grafs of AP copy on the suit buried way back in the A section. USA Today, by contrast, ran a full bylined piece on their front page. Tucker told me he thought they had saved space for him and didn't get an explanation for why it didn't run.

Was the story significant? The Women's Law Center thought so. They also sent out a press release and have said our suit is having the biggest impact on Title IX in twenty years. Well, they used the word "threat" but you get the point.

My correspondent writes that the Post's tunnel vision on Title IX continues even in its own back yard:

Back in April, the Post did a story on how Howard University has one of the worst records on athletic "proportionality" in the country -- a much higher ratio of men to women in their sports than in their enrollment. Three weeks ago, Howard cut their men's wrestling and baseball programs and fired the coaches. Preposterously, Howard claimed they didn't have the facilities for the sports -- even though both were decades-old programs and wrestling facilities are the cheapest of any college sport (they basically just need a room and mats). Did the Post follow up? Of course not. Hometown school reflecting national trend, school officials' obviously misleading, coaches and kids heartbroken, T9's impact on minority athletes -- none of that caused them to lift a finger. Hell, I even sent Kornheiser and Wilbon a note. Nothing. Flatline. ABC thinks it's a story -- they interviewed the head coach on camera and plan to run a story on Jennings late next week. The NYTimes put a story about a similar situation with black athletes getting cut at Bowling Green on their front page.

I prepared this post before I took off for the weekend. So perhaps the clouds have parted, the mote has fallen from the Post's eye, and there is a story quoting the College Sports Council, or former high school jock Jessica Gavora, or Christina Hoff Sommers, or Christine Stolba, anyone for that matter from the Independent Women's Forum, which filed an amicus brief in support of the sports council's lawsuit? They could calmly explain both to the Post's readers and its reporters that the entire world does not agree with the National Women's Law Center on this issue. [June 24 note: mote still firmly lodged]

Why is it that feminists start ringing up lawyers wherever they find too many men, but throw a party where women dominate--as they do at most college campuses in this country?

Remember, the premise of Title IX enforcement is that men and women want to pursue athletics with the same intensity and commitment. It's an extension of the odd belief that men and women want to do everything in equal numbers--otherwise it's The Man holding you sisters down. This is what Christina Hoff Sommers would call a gender-feminist principle. But it's weird--it doesn't happen in real life. It reflects an androgynous view of the human race. Who believes that anymore? Left-wing feminists, and lawyers, if they're paid to.

In the IWF press release linked above, Christine Stolba says: "In intramural sports, for example, which are driven entirely by student interest, women’s participation rates are 22%, compared to men’s 78%.”

As IWF would say--but with more style--so what?

Why doesn't somebody file a suit charging Title IX discrimination against men in college admissions? The national average is around 55% women, 45% men. At some universities it's more like 60-40. It's a shame, but in the interests of gender equity, if we can't force more men to go to college, we have no choice but to throw out a few hundred thousand women.

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