Are men’s and women’s sports equal?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A breakdown of Title IX

Kenzie Jones | Sports Editor | @KenzieScribbler

Photo Credit: Gabi Campbell, Photo Editor, @gabicampbellphotos

Info Graphic: Kenzie Jones

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded form participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal finical assistance.” So says the infamous Title IX of the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.

Anyone who has ever been involved in any shape or form with college athletics has heard of Title IX. It’s the reason that men’s sports get cut to make way for a new women’s team, right? Any time that anything happens involving sexism it’s all because of Title IX or at least it’s brought up to argue for one side or the other. I bet that most people didn’t know that even though it’s impact today is primarily involving athletics the bill makes no explicit mention of it.

When Title IX came about the world of college athletics was very different then it is today. Not only were the joys of being a fan of college sports not fully understood, but the NCAA was a men’s athletics program and the women had their own, the AIAW. However, the separation didn’t last long as in June of 1983 the AIAW ceased to exists and the NCAA became the only college athletics governing body.

At the height of the Title IX controversy regulations had been put into place that required additional funding for women’s teams. A lot of athletic directors did not immediately embrace the requirements. That was for a plethora of reasons, but the big one was that to add money to women’s sports money would have to be taken away from men’s sports.

Of course because things were being taken away from a majority to be given to a minority there was uproar. The focus was on the fact that between 1981-1999 US university athletic departments cut 171 men’s wrestling teams, 84 men’s tennis teams, 56 men’s men’s gymnastics teams, 27 men’s track and field teams, 25 men’s swim teams.NCAA WomenNCAA Men's

In all reality, during that exact same time frame both sexes saw a net increase in the number of athletic programs. Everyone wants to focus in on how women are the cause of men’s programs being cut. The fact of the matter is that this law and all its requirements is a two way street. A school can’t add a women’s program without adding a men’s program of equal value.

When equal value is considered there are two sides that need to be looked at. Not only is the amount of money that the program can bring into the school needed to be analyzed, but the value of the scholarships that can be offered to the athletes.

The NCAA has a list of all the sports programs that a school could possibly offer and the total number of scholarships that program can offer. Not all sports are equal. Some are aloud more scholarships then others. That list all came about because of Title IX.

Bet most people never new that a little one sentence amendment that didn’t state athletics in any form could create such an impact.