Though the views on the issues of the Title IX differ, scholars often focus on whether and to what degree the legislation has improved the athletic opportunities for females. Reviews of the law have also focused on the extent, to which the same legislation has decreased the sporting opportunities for males (Cohen, 2005). In addition, this legislation seems to have issues with the aspects other than athletes, though this is the main focus of this paper. The amplified exposure of female athletics resulted in the increased dominance of males in the governance of the women’s sports. According to Cohen (2005), the Title IX was enacted at a time when the opportunities for women to participate in sports on the collegiate level were very low as compared to the participation of men. From the pre-Title IX period, one can clearly point out that those few women’s teams that existed were poorly financed (Galemore, 2003). The teams did not have the required or proper coaching, equipment, and transportation means; hence, they were not able to create a competitive environment in building women’s sports in the US. In this regard, this paper discusses the Title IX issues that have influenced the physical education in the US.
Issues Facing Title IX
Title IX was passed in 1972; it illegalized sex discrimination in education programs and activities that received federal funding. According to Hueben (2003), this Title has made an immense influence on the physical education in the country. The changes brought by the Title IX contain philosophical attitudes and beliefs. Some policies, programs, and daily practices had to be changed. For many individuals, these changes took a significant amount of time to be designed and implemented. Nowadays only some 4 decades later, there are still some issues concerning the effects of these changes. No one can deny that women in the US have benefited from the increased opportunities for their skills development and funding (Sander, 2010). Some people, however, argue that the high-level skills cannot be mastered since the quality of play is not reached in the co-education classes where females do not take part in the competitions of the level, in which they might participate in the homogenous settings. The excuses for breaking this legislation provide evidence of the denial used as a deliberate technique to avoid compliance with the law. Until the issues of high standards are the same for all students, these inequalities are likely to persist.
According to Stevenson (2007), the Title IX stipulates that the physical education classes cannot be separated; no one can refuse or require a person’s participation on the basis of his/her sex. Students might be grouped according to their skills and capacity, based on objective and standard assessment of their class activities. Nevertheless, such groups are likely to comprise students of the same sex only. Suggs (2012) points out that the Title IX allows students to be separated by sex within the class for taking part in boxing, rugby, ice hockey, wrestling, football, and other physical activities, which involve a direct bodily contact. However, the Title IX does not consider softball and baseball as contact sports. As a result, they are not included in the definition.
According to Title IX, when a common standard for the skill measurement is employed, and it causes an adverse effect on one sex, other non gender biased standards must be utilized (Stevenson, 2007). For instance, dividing a 10th grade class into the track-and-field units by requiring students to jump for two meters might result in boys and taller students surpassing the requirements, whereas many girls and shorter students might not meet them successfully. In addition, the practice and following instructions might be an objective criterion. The United States Department of Justice (2012) has pointed out that these issues consider not only gender equality, but also teaching practices in dealing with diverse populations and meeting the developmental needs of individuals. These issues are a matter of providing all students with the same opportunities. Schools should look at what is behind the negative attitude directed at the Title IX.
Gender equality is a critical issue in athletics and physical education. There are certain guidelines and regulations ensuring equality in opportunities, in both interscholastic and intramural sports. The increase in women’s participation in sports has been extremely evident since the enactment of the Title IX in 1972. However, inequalities have remained in certain areas, including game and practice schedules, facilities, equipment, traveling, and coaching (Suggs, 2012).
The Title IX is more than just a set of offerings. According to Hueben (2003), educators in all disciplines need to deal with the gender bias, which reveals much of what institutions say they have done concerning the Title IX. Teachers should become conscious of the several stereotypical inequalities that take place in the modern education.
Several gender stereotypes have their origin in the area of physical activity. Myths and misconceptions concerning the performance and participation of women have resulted in the discrimination in sports and athletics. Gender stereotypes are strengthened by the small, though powerful messages, which teachers convey to their students. The identification of some activities as being specific limits the participation in it for both girls and boys. Dancing, for example, and participation in the curriculum has suffered in certain cases. This is due to its association with women and femininity. If teachers monitor their own biases, issues of rejection and exclusion might be eliminated (Sander, 2010).
Another issue associated with Title IX is the cutting of physical education budget. Because of the Title IX, which exerts pressure on the equal amount of money that universities and colleges should spend on both female and male athletic programs, college and university authorities have no choice but to curb expenditure on physical education in general. Activities such as wrestling have been among the biggest victims of such cutbacks because of the Title IX. Over the past two decades, the number of college physical education programs has declined from over 6000 to 225. According to Galemore (2003), the state of Utah alone has about 3500 high school wrestlers. Until the Utah Valley State College added a wrestling physical education program in September 2002, these wrestlers had had to leave Utah to develop their wrestling careers.
According to Stevenson (2007), physical educations with winning traditions throughout the nation are also feeling the brunt of the Title IX. In order to adhere to the Title IX, the University of Miami, has been compelled to reduce its successful swimming education program that has significantly contributed to the 26 Olympians in the past years. This has forced the university’s alumni to donate enough funds in order to save the program. Nevertheless, President Clinton amended a clause in the Title IX in an attempt to gain women’s votes in the 1996 elections. The clause states that the colleges have to divide the alumni contributions into equal sums for the men’s and women’s sports. As a result, the efforts of the alumnus to save the programs were unsuccessful (United States Department of Justice, 2012).
The Title IX has also forced physical education programs to reduce the rosters. The Title IX not only requires the equal financing of the women’s and men’s physical education programs, but also the number of the participating athletes from every gender has to be equal, as well (Sander, 2010). This might seem fair enough when one considers that certain physical education programs, such as football training, have about one hundred players, and there are no women’s football programs in the NCAA to balance this large number. According to the United States Department of Justice (2012), this implies that all other male physical education programs are forced to reduce their rosters, or have the program closed entirely. This is also true for the athletic scholarship. The supporters of the Title IX have put the blame on such physical education programs for the lack of funding that the male sports experience today.
With regard to the reduced number of roster spots on male physical education programs, coaches are experiencing challenges associated with having talented athletes who want to play, and can contribute to the team significantly (Brake, 2010). The coaches, however, cannot keep such talented players because of the regulations provided by the Title IX. This also leaves several good athletes of the small high schools to the mercy of fate.
The federal law demands that parents, students, and employees are made aware of the name, telephone address, and office address of the school Title IX coordinator. Title IX requires each school district to assign a single employee to investigate complaints, and coordinate the compliance efforts (United States Department of Justice, 2012). Such efforts should explain to both staff members and students their rights provided under the Title IX, and how they should file complaints.
Solutions to the Title IX Issues Facing Physical Education Today
According to Hueben (2003), physical educators need to support the discipline they represent. Physical education teachers need to be knowledgeable concerning the most recent information so that they can answer questions concerning the benefits and purpose of the physical education. Physical education is a content area in learning institutions that frequently needs to defend itself against the pressure of other disciplines. Teachers need to be aware of documents such as Physical Activity and Health.
According to the United States Department of Justice (2012), physical educations need to deploy the support of parents and other members of the community who understand the benefits of physical activities in addressing the issues of the Title IX in physical education. Physicians are the excellent resources that might advocate for physical education in the communities. Parents and members of the community who are physically active understand the need for developing good habits (Suggs, 2012).
Addressing issues like class size, staffing, and scheduling, frequently can resolve the difficulties that certain teachers experience in working with the co-ed classes. The adoption and implementation of non-biased teaching strategies, improving curriculum, and solving problems with affirming actions guarantees the ongoing pursuit of excellence and equity. Certain educators have even the Title IX with being a motivation encouraging them to teach students knowledge rather than sports (Hueben, 2003).
Educators can make sure that interaction is free of gender bias by acting in six ways. Firstly, they should distribute leadership and support roles of all students. Hueben (2003) suggests that educators can also assign non-stereotypical responsibilities to both males and females. Thirdly, educators can ensure free interaction by being consistent in dealing with behavior problems for both females and males, and not using the gender-based punishment. The use of non-sexist language, such as not distinguishing between girls’ push-ups and boys’ push-ups, can also address the gender issues.
Personal Experience with the Title IX
In order to comprehend the significance of the Title IX and how its influence can be extended, the entire society must look back at what this groundbreaking legislation has done since its passage (Hueben, 2003). Only 27 girls took part in high school athletics varsity teams, in 1972. This number has significantly increased to approximately two girls out of five members. This increase is more than 500 percent. According to Suggs (2012), this legislation was a tipping point for the equality of women in society. The Title IX did not only increase the female sports participation, but also shifted perceptions of what was culturally and socially acceptable for the young women.
From personal experience, the Title IX has facilitated young girls to play tennis at the age of 11 years for their first time. From a personal standpoint, such young girls realize the sport was not uniform with little to no diversity in everything from clothing to gender and race. At the age of 12 years, such girls might know two important things concerned with being the best players or professionals players (United States Department of Justice, 2012). By keeping the spirit of the Title IX, the society will see the number of young women taking part in athletics increase every year. Just as parents do for their children, the nation must support its daughters’ participation in sports. Personally, keeping girls in sports has brought positive effects on their emotional and physical health, financial success, and academic careers in adulthood. From personal experience, the increase in opportunities for girls has led to the increased competition at both the high school and college level. As a result, many of these women will perfect their skills and become the elite of athletes and coaches, scientists, strong businesswomen, doctors, educators, lawyers, and other significant members of the society.
In order to comply with the Title IX, the athletics departments should show that they are fighting got equality in areas including treatment and participation in different programs and athletic financial assistance. With regard to participation, schools should show that they comply with the participation part of the Title IX by passing at least one of the three-prong tests (United States Department of Justice, 2012). However, in the future, schools should pass all the three tests to be considered compliant. The law is lenient to schools today; nevertheless, it should be made strict in order to ensure that there is no discrimination against women. According to Stevenson (2007), allowing schools passing only one part of the 3-part test leaves room for schools to discriminate against women. The three tests provide institutions with the option of full compliance with the Title IX.
With regard to treatment in the program areas, one should compare the men’s and women’s team in various areas including facilities, equipment, scheduling, coaching, publicity, travel and daily allowance, support services, academic tutoring, medical and training facilities, dining and recruitment of students. Throughout the nation, there are still plenty of inequalities in funding, facilities, equipment, travel and recruiting budgets because of the general lack of funds. According to Galemore (2003), these areas are too numerous to be monitored for compliance in the future. As the monitoring of these areas is important, the government and Title IX coordinator should incorporate additional resources that will ensure compliance in those areas. Brake (2010) cited that presently funds are not sufficient to monitor all the areas mentioned. The most commonly monitored areas include the recruitment of students, facilities, and travel and daily allowances. The Title IX coordinators do not have the ability to monitor all areas, in which females experience discrimination, due to insufficiency of funds.
The budget for the men’s athletic programs and women’s athletic programs should be such that the benefits are equal in order to encourage compliance with the Title IX among colleges and high schools. The law does not demand that the budget for men’s athletic programs and women’s athletic programs is equal in terms of finance, but the benefits must be equal. There is a significant disparity in budgets that might also point out the inequalities elsewhere in the physical education programs.
The United States Department of Justice (2012) recommended that schools use the finances on better venues, such as improving the coaching salary scales, and creating a favorite environment for the female athletes, rather than wasting time and money on adding teams in obscure physical education programs that experience difficulties in attract participants. New laws based on the above-mentioned loopholes might fulfill the spirit of the Title IX better than the present numerous physical education departments, in order to manage proportionality. A lot of money has been spent on the women’s sports in the name of offering emotional support, and this might the biggest drawback of all. Several directors of the athletics departments invest money in the women’s physical education programs because they are required by the law, and only then deal with the men’s physical education programs.
The Title IX was enacted at a time when the opportunities for women to participate in sports on the collegiate level were very low as compared to the participation of men. The changes brought by the Title IX contain philosophical attitudes and beliefs. Some policies, programs, and daily practices had to be changed. The Title IX stipulates that the physical education classes cannot be separated; no one can refuse or require a person’s participation on the basis of his/her sex. Students might be grouped according to their skills and capacity, based on objective and standard assessment of their class activities. Gender equality is a critical issue in athletics and physical education today. There are certain guidelines and regulations ensuring equality in opportunities, in both interscholastic and intramural sports. In order to comprehend the significance of the Title IX and how its influence can be extended, the entire society must look back at what this groundbreaking legislation has done since its passage.
Brake, D. (2010). Getting in the game: Title IX and the women's sports revolution. New York, NY: New York University Press.
Cohen, D. (2005). Title IX: Beyond equal protection. Harvard Journal of Law and Gender , 28, 222-226.
Galemore, G. (2003). Title IX and sex discrimination in education: An overview. Washington, DC: Library of Congress.
Hueben, E. (2003). Revolution, numbers, IX: The thirtieth anniversary of Title IX and the proportionality challenge. Kansas, KS: University of Missouri Kansas City Law.
Sander, L. (2010, April 20). Education department nixes Bush-era policy on Title IX compliance. Retrieved December 20, 2013 from The Chronicle of Higher Education http://chronicle.com/article/Education-Department-Nixes/65170/
Stevenson, B. (2007). Title ix and the evolution of high school sports. Contemporary Economic Policy , 25 (4), 486-505.
Suggs, W. (2012, June 25). Title IX at 40: Have colleges done enough? Retrieved Deember 20, 2013 from The Chronicle of Higher Education http://chronicle.com/article/Title-IX-at-40-Have-Colleges/132581/
United States Department of Justice. (2012). Equal access to education: Forty years of Title IX . Washington, DC: US DOJ.