Title IX was written to guarantee equal opportunity in educational activities. Today, it is an unstoppable campaign to impose quotas and gender preferences in schools, as the University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNCC) is learning. The Title IX amendment, which simply outlaws sex discrimination in educational institutions, is not the problem; it is the way Title IX is administered.
UNCC board members recently agreed to bring a Division 1 football program to the state school by 2013. No one, however, seems to be talking about the additional Title IX compliance costs that will add to the already high costs to fund a football program.
Starting a major college football program is costly—in a number of ways. The future $45 million football stadium and training complex will increase the annual student activity fees by $50, starting fall 2011. In addition, UNCC will shell out at least $6 million every year to support a 100-110 player football team. The $6 million budget includes scholarships, salaries, travel expenses, equipment, video capabilities, trainers and all operational costs. That’s just the direct financial support.
According to Darren Spease, Senior Associate Athletic Director at UNCC, the team will include 63 scholarship recipients, which leads to the compliance costs.
Federal Title IX regulations require gender equity for men and women in every education program or activity that receives federal funding, including athletics. Thus, UNCC adding 63 male scholarships could require an additional 63 female athletic scholarships.
Passed in 1972 as an education amendment, Title IX is a straightforward, one sentence amendment written to ban sex discrimination in educational institutions. However, Title IX no longer just fights discrimination against women; in practice it enforces quotas against men.
Current Title IX enforcement is based on a 1979 Policy Interpretation intended to clarify the application of Title IX. Administered by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, the interpretation created what is known as a three-prong test. According to this policy, an education institution offering athletics can demonstrate compliance with Title IX by the following:
- Showing that intercollegiate participation for male and female students are provided in numbers substantially proportionate to their respective enrollments; or
- Showing a history and continuing practice of program expansion in response to the interest and abilities of the “underrepresented” sex; or
- Demonstrating that the interests and abilities of members of the “underrepresented” sex have been fully and effectively accommodated by the school’s program.
Congress has never debated any part of the three-prong test; it is a complete misinterpretation of the original language of Title IX. Regulating “substantial proportionality” between the two sexes does not safeguard against “discrimination of the basis of sex,” as written in the original amendment. Instead, the test creates both a quota system and a statutory punishment against men.
This is clearly exemplified at UNCC which is 49 percent male and 51 percent female. In athletics, however, the student athlete population is 42 percent male and 58 percent female. Therefore, the “underrepresented” sex is actually male.
Despite these numbers, the UNCC athletic department is considering a woman’s lacrosse, field hockey and swimming team to protect themselves against Title IX lawsuits. Conforming to Title IX regulations will present an additional expense for the expanding athletic department.
“It is hard to match the 63 male scholarships added by the new football team, but UNCC athletics is committed to following Title IX regulations,” Spease stated when asked how the program will address Title IX regulations.
Misinterpretations of Title IX not only lead to additional expenses for universities who are trying to meet limited budget demands but also place unnecessary burdens on schools to match male/female ratios. By advocating gender quotas, Title IX only serves to stifle interest-driven athletic programs.
Title IX consistently ignores gender differences between men and woman by blindly advocating for equality that actually limits opportunities for student athletes in the long run. Male wrestling teams and male gymnastics have been nearly eliminated to “equal” the playing field for women’s sports teams. In 1969, there were 230 collegiate male gymnastics programs; today there are 20. North Carolina does not offer a single collegiate male gymnastics program.
While sex discrimination has no place in athletics, current enforcement of Title IX has replaced one form of discrimination with another. In the end, in order to meet gender quotas, schools like UNCC must come up with additional money to support marginal athletic teams.