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Friday, December 20, 2002
2:30 PM

Title IX Update... Sex-preference advocates at the Women's Sports Foundation and the National Women's Law Center held a press conference yesterday objecting to the anticipated recommendations of the Department of Education's Title IX Commission. A sour time was had by all, I hear, since apparently the commission may not punish schools as vigorously as they have if, in the future, women do not desire sports at level satisfactory to the WSF and NWLC. This Jeff Jacoby column in the Hartford Courant sums up some of the positions I was blogging endlessly last summer. Jacoby appears to be sympathetic to some of the claims made by the likes of WSF, but he was dismayed by the tone of the press conference and by some of their arguments:

These folks scare me, they surely do. And here's the scariest part. I'm on their side.

For 60 minutes, they blamed "60 Minutes" and the other muckrakers of journalism for failing to get the Title IX story right.

For 60 minutes, they ripped the Department of Education and called a presidential commission a sham and a mockery. Here's the rub: The Commission on Athletic Opportunity hasn't even released its official recommendations for changes in college sports.

For 60 minutes, they demonstrated not one second's worth of compromise, not one concession that any part of Title IX may be imperfect....

One example of imperfection:

Sure, it's too bad about all those wrestlers who lost their scholarships, Athena Yiamouyiannis said, but just think about the pain of all those women who don't even realize the pain they've suffered.

"It's easier for the public to see someone who has had an opportunity and had it taken away," said Yiamouyiannis of the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports. "They can feel that person's pain vs. looking at the issue of women who have never had the opportunity to participate."

How can you begin to address such a cosmic argument?

Here's the Women's Sports Foundation call to arms. They're extremely alarmed, which is a good sign. But from what I understand, the commission is not ending the quota-driven formula that has killed so many men's programs. They are giving the programs a lot more wriggle room. Much better than nothing, I admit.

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