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A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma
The misunderstanding and misinterpretation of Title IX often has negative consequences in striving for equality.
Ellen Staurowsky, professor of graduate-level sports management at Ithaca College, spoke at the NCAA Gender Equity and Issues Forum in April.
Staurowsky asked the crowd how many of them at held a Title IX workshop for their athletic department and not one hand was raised.
“My feeling is that the entire athletic enterprise would be much less dysfunctional than it currently is if everybody was genuinely participating in the dialogue. But the plain fact of the matter is that, from 1972 to the present, administrators haven’t gotten the job done. And we know this because we continue to have enormous compliance problems,” Staurowsky said.
Despite being enacted for 38 years and having enormous effects for college athletics, Title IX remains vague to many.
Staurowsky and Bowling Green State University’s Erianne Weight have conducted research and polled 1,100 male and female coaches in D1 and D3. 82% stated they were never explicitly informed about Title IX. Over 65% stated the media was their primary information source on the topic.
Staurowsky said, “Our argument is that coaches absolutely need to be [Title IX] literate for two reasons. Number one, because they are advocates for their programs. If they don’t have a strong understanding about Title IX, then they don’t have the traction to be able to effect change within their administration or to even call their administration out when it is lethargic on Title IX issues. Number two, the enforcement scheme relies on every constituency to be aware of how Title IX works, from government officials to school administrators to coaches to athletes to parents.”
April 20, Office for Civil Rights assistant secretary Rosslynn Ali said there would be “rigorous enforcement of Title IX” and withdrew a March 2005 permission for schools to use online surveys to collect interest about campus sports.
Linda Carpenter and Vivian Acosta, Brooklyn College professors, say school athletic budgets highly impact gender equality. “If administrators are holding football free from budget cuts and cutting men’s quote-unquote minor sports and women’s teams, then that says that they—from my point of view—don’t get it, and perhaps they never will.” Carpenter said. “There are other reasons that athletics belong on campus.”
University of Pennsylvania economist Betsey Stevenson reveals that 20% of the increase in women’s education and 40% of the employment increase for women 25-34 can be traced back to Title IX and sports participation.
In last year’s article “Are We There Yet?” published in Academe, Carpenter said, “we’ve gotten closer.”
“We’ve crossed a lot of milestones, made a lot of correct turns. But we’re not there yet. And we’re not going to get there unless the role of athletics is altered some” Carpenter said.
So when will we get there?
Said Carpenter, “one of the signs would be people talking about support for athletic teams rather than for a particular team, so that the boosters’ loyalty is program-wide and they see the benefit of athletics in the lives of people—not just in the lives of boys and men, but in the lives of girls and women.”
This 492-word summary was distilled by Clips Assistant Editor Alessandra Severoni from a 1,301-word article titled, “Title IX 101” by Paul Steinbach from the July 2010 issue of the Athletic Business.
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