Another look at Title IXIs it fair to men?Wednesday, March 31, 2004 By Parker Mason -- Guest Writer
Let me take you back into ancient times. Before 1970, women’s basketball was made up of three offensive players and three defensive players. They weren’t allowed to cross the centerline onto the other side, because women didn’t have the strength to be able to run the entire length of the court. They could only take two dribbles at a time, because women didn’t have the stamina to do any more than that. Controversy was stirred up when the rule was increased to three dribbles—it just wouldn’t have been ladylike to dribble more than twice. Obviously, public opinion has changed a lot since those days. This is mostly because, in 1972, Congress enacted Title IX, a revolutionary piece of legislation that provided funding and equality for women’s sports. Women went from being unnoticed to being near the forefront of athletics. Teams, which had a ten-dollar budget, suddenly had ten thousand. In 1976, women’s sports were finally included in the Olympics. In 1997, women’s professional basketball began for the first time in the United States. We’ve come a long way since 1972. The new legislation has been monumental in bringing about equality and fairness for women. Now, however, it is time to reexamine the validity of Title IX. Under Title IX, there is a system of quotas to ensure that women are receiving their fair share of the pie. There is a proportionality clause that states that the ratio of women athletes to men athletes should be nearly equivalent to that of the gender population of the school. At the time of its writing, this clause was meant to promote women’s status in sports. But now, it’s backfiring; it is demoting the status of important men’s sports. “Second-tier” sports like wrestling are being totally cut so that schools can meet their quotas. Inexperienced female athletes are receiving scholarships over more deserving male athletes, just so schools can comply with Title IX. Observe this scenario. A second-year member of the women’s crew team, who spends a few weekends every month rowing, receives a scholarship to row in college. Meanwhile, a very dedicated, talented wrestler who works out and practices for hours each day won’t even get to participate in his sport in college. Why? It’s been cut from the school’s budget to meet the quotas in Title IX. High school sports have mimicked the actions of college sports in most ways. There has been amazing progress towards equality since the 1970s. Women are being given the opportunities that they deserve and are finally being rewarded for their hard work. But have high schools taken Title IX too far? This year, our own Cap Six conference changed its policy regarding men’s and women’s basketball. It is the standard in other conferences to have the men’s junior varsity team play before the varsity, and the girl’s junior varsity play before the varsity at the alternate site. In an effort to level the playing field, the Cap Six decided to let both varsity teams play together and both junior varsity teams play together. On top of that, the girls would alternate starting times with the guys. On some nights, the girls would be billed as the main attraction, and on others, the guys would. It is admirable that our school and our conference are trying to be politically correct, but this move is way over the top. It is absolutely wrong that men’s sports are being put on the back burner in order to satisfy society’s feminist agenda. It is wrong that men’s sports, which provide the bulk of the funding for the women, are being billed just as the opening act. The fact is undisputed that women’s sports don’t bring in the cash flow that men’s sports do. In college athletics, nearly all of the funding for women’s sports comes from the income generated by men’s football and basketball. But, just to be “equal,” UNC doesn’t go play in Carmichael Gymnasium so that the women can have the Dean Dome. Why? Because it would be an extremely unwise, unprofitable move. Last year, the WNBA’s attendance averaged just over 8,000, while the NBA’s was well over 16,000. The league loses a substantial amount of money each year, but is essentially subsidized by the NBA so it can stay afloat. Last year, the WUSA had to shut down because it didn’t have a successful league like the NBA to cover its losses. For whatever reason, not as many people enjoy watching women’s sports as they do men’s sports. Some would dismiss that as a sexist statement, but it’s objectively derived just by looking at the numbers. The varsity girls deserve a primetime slot, but not following the boys’ game. If they are to play the late game, they should be playing after their own junior varsity. The conference tried that for one year, but the girls didn’t like playing to an empty house. The decision was made that the girls would go back to playing with the guys. The guys, perfectly content playing after their JV team, were happy to return to playing after the girls. The second part of that decision, to alternate starting times, was like a slap in the face to men’s sports. In this case, the word “equality” is being extrapolated well beyond its means. Just like in the case of quotas in college athletics, girls are biting the hand that feeds them. From my own standpoint as a varsity basketball player, it pains me to see empty stands as we run out at the beginning of a six o’clock game. It takes away the energy and the support we deserve. Furthermore, the girls don’t even like playing after the guys. In fact, most of them would rather play the first game. It’s not fun to see your fans walk out the door in the middle of the first quarter. The organizers of Cap Six sports envision a utopia where men and women are the exact same thing. To them, women are just as tall, just as strong, and just as athletic as men. Fans want to watch women just as much as they do men. I beg these people to open their eyes to the real world. Men and women are two distinctly different genders with very different characteristics and physical capabilities. Most fans would rather watch the guys- not because they dislike women, or they don’t have respect for their talents, but simply because the men are generally more entertaining. It is time for these organizers to rid our conference of this outrageously feministic and liberal policy. It is also time for our government to take another look at Title IX. It has served the purpose it was intended to serve, but now it is a detriment to athletics as a whole. We must remember, back when Title IX was passed, girls weren’t even allowed to cross mid-court in basketball games. They weren’t playing in the Olympics, and they most certainly weren’t playing professionally. We need to reflect upon how much Title IX has accomplished, and then revise it to ensure that it continues to be a positive influence on the world of sports. In order for both men’s and women’s sports to continue to grow and prosper, Title IX must be changed.