By Neena Chaudhry, Senior Counsel, National Women’s Law Center
On Monday, The New York Times released a poll, in conjunction with CBS News, showing that nearly half of Americans who are familiar with Title IX believe it needs stricter enforcement.
The survey was conducted last month, but it would have been very interesting to see what the results would have been if respondents had first read the other New York Times Title IX piece that ran the same day: “College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equity.” The article goes on to describe how athletic programs across the country manipulate their athletic rosters to artificially boost women’s participation numbers in order to claim compliance.
Title IX requires that schools receiving federal funds not discriminate on the basis of sex, including in sports. Most Americans think it’s been doing a good job. In the same Times/CBS poll, 78 percent of people familiar with Title IX said they believe it’s been a positive force for women’s opportunities in sports.
It’s easy to see why. Since Title IX’s passage in 1972, women’s participation in collegiate athletics has increased to nearly six times the pre-Title IX rate. Multiple generations of girls have grown up shooting hoops and scoring goals, going on to earn college scholarships and represent their schools in competition.
Despite this progress, women still lack access to equal opportunities. According to the NCAA, women in Division I colleges, while representing 53 percent of the student body, receive only 45 percent of the participation opportunities, 34 percent of the total money spent on athletics, 45 percent of the total athletic scholarship dollars, and 32 percent of recruiting dollars.