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January-17-02

Male Athletes Claim Discrimination, Sue Education Department

A coalition of male athletes has sued the Department of Education claiming that provisions made for women in accordance with Title IX have led to discrimination against men. In the suit, the coalition, led by several male wrestling teams, claims that schools are cutting back opportunities for men in sports in an effort to create parity in the numbers of men and women participating in athletics. The plaintiffs claim that they are not challenging Title IX itself but the interpretation of the law. Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal, however, cautioned, “This tactic has been used repeatedly to weaken Title IX.”

The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) agrees. Marcia Greenberger, NWLC co-president claims that the plaintiffs are merely trying to undermine the intent of Title IX. Greenberger also suggests that the plaintiffs’ claims are baseless, pointing out that female athletes comprise only one-third of athletic operating budgets and that seventy-two percent of colleges and universities had added women’s athletic teams to their offerings without eliminating any men’s teams. In sheer numbers, male college athletes are still more dominate than female college athletes, and women are still discriminated against in athletic programs. For example, women receive only thirty percent of athletic recruiting dollars at Division I colleges and 33 percent of overall athletic budgets even though women may represent more than 50 percent of the total student bodies.

Media Resources: Washington Post, 1/17/02; National Women’s Law Center Press Release, 1/16/02; Feminist Majority Foundation

   

     

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