May 5, 2011

Richard Epstein's outstanding commentary on Title IX

By Richard Epstein's outstanding commentary on Title IX

Author: Joshua Thompson

Richard Epstein, via the Hoover Institution, hits the nail on the head with respect to Title IX's proportionality requirements.  Here's a snippet:

Unfortunately, Title IX has been twisted beyond recognition by administrative rulings that now require colleges to strike a proportionate balance between women's and men's participation in intercollegiate sports, wholly without regard to student demand. There are only two ways in which this hopeless search for perfection can be maintained in strict accordance with the law. The first is to expand the number of women who engage in intercollegiate sports until, on a percentage basis, they roughly approximate the number of men. The second is to cut back on the number of eligible men until the participation rate is as low for men as it is for women.

Both strategies come with huge costs. The only way to boost the number of women in intercollegiate sports is through massive efforts to induce reluctant women to participate. That approach requires expensive recruitment and substantial scholarships. At the margin, thousands of additional dollars are poured into persuading one more woman to join a team. Those same dollars could easily fund a dozen or more men who are so eager to participate. Right now there are no men’s swimming teams at many major colleges. The number of college wrestling teams has been cut in half over the past 30 or so years. And earlier this week, the New York Times reported that the University of Delaware plans to cut its men’s varsity track team in order to comply with Title IX, even before it had fallen out of compliance with the statute. Does anyone think that these steps were taken for a want of student demand or college funds for these activities? No. It is the Title IX scythe that cuts out these opportunities.

In hard times, budget dollars are still scarcer, so the pressure to cut men’s teams becomes even greater. That pressure hits minor sports harder because of the large number of spots that colleges have to reserve for football. At some point, sensible college administrators recognize the fatuity of bribing women to participate in intercollegiate sports while forcing men to sit out. As a result, some conscientious college administrators will look for any means, fair or foul, to get more men into intercollegiate sports to meet that unmet demand. Not every administrator will opt for the risky strategies mentioned in the Thomas article. But some will see the sense in inflating, at little or no cost, the number of supposed female athletes in order to allow a greater number of men to participate in sports.

Read the rest here.  All the more reason we need to prevent application of the discriminatory provisions of this law to high schools.

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