In Colorado Springs yesterday, the Bush administration’s Commission on Opportunity in Athletics held its third of four nationwide public hearings on Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education. The hearings opened with three panels of appointed speakers including George Shur, general counsel for Northern Illinois University. Refuting testimony by US Olympic Committee president Marty Mankamyer and other representatives from US Olympic teams, Shur argued, “A college cannot be all things to all people. A university’s mission does not include furnishing athletes to Olympic teams,” according to Rocky Mountain News. He continued, “[Title IX] has made a difference not just in women’s athletic programs or for women athletes, but in how women are viewed and treated in general in our society,” reported the Baltimore Sun.
In the last 30 years since the passage of Title IX, women’s participation in sports has increased by more than 800 percent at the high school level and approximately 400 percent at the collegiate level. Title IX has also made possible the integration of medical schools and law schools. Despite the law’s enormous gains for women and girls, opponents attacked Title IX during yesterday’s panel discussion, erroneously alleging that it diminishes athletic opportunities for men and boys. Peggy Bradley-Doppes, athletic director at University of North Carolina at Wilmington and president of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators said, “Schools that cut men’s programs blame Title IX, but “Title IX is not the reason. A lack of leadership is,” reported the Rocky Mountain News. Bradley-Doppes insists that scrutinizing athletic budgets allows for the creation of opportunities without eliminating male programs.
The commission scheduled five hearings around the country on Title IX—four of which are open to the public. The final town meeting will be held in San Diego on November 20-21.