Women Lead Universities Squaring Off in Fiesta Bowl
For the first time, both football teams competing for Friday’s college national championship represent universities led by women. The University of Miami, headed by President Donna E. Shalala, and Ohio State University, led by President Karen A. Holbrook, will face off in the Fiesta Bowl. “It’s very notable, and it signifies that the glass ceiling has been broken,” stated Shalala, former Clinton Secretary of Health and Human Services, according to the Washington Post. “Women can not only talk to football coaches but also raise money, which have been the two glass ceilings in higher education. There simply is no question about women’s ability to run the major universities in the United States any longer.”
Despite University of Miami’s success in football, Shalala strongly supports Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, the law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions receiving federal funding. “I run the most successful football program in the country, and I am a huge supporter of our football program,” Shalala told the Post. “But the growth of the costs of football at almost every university are squeezing men’s [non-revenue] sports. We’ve got to step back and be honest. We’ve got to be prepared to control all of our costs. We shouldn’t pretend that we’re cutting back on men’s sports because of Title IX. We’re not. We’re cutting back on men’s sports because we have some very expensive men’s athletic programs. And we ought to find the proper balance.”
Shalala’s comments come at a time when Title IX is under fire by the Bush-appointed Commission for Opportunity in Athletics. Title IX has increased athletic opportunities for women by over 800% on the high school level and by over 400% on the collegiate level. Opponents of the groundbreaking law assert that Title IX forces colleges, universities, and high schools to cut men’s sports opportunities, a claim Shalala easily refutes.