A federal appeals court in Washington, DC on Friday dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Title IX, the landmark law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded education, threatens collegiate male sports teams. In the suit, the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) claimed that Title IX directly caused discriminatory reductions in men's sports when schools sought to create equal athletic opportunities for women. The three-judge panel said the parties lacked standing to file the lawsuit, which it said should be litigated against the colleges that eliminated men's sports and not the federal government, according to the Associated Press.
“Title IX’s athletic policies are about basic fairness – schools must give women and girls an equal chance to play sports and must treat men and women equally,” said National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) Senior Counsel Neena Chaudhry, who presented the oral argument in front of the US district court which previously heard the case. “While victories like this are steps in the right direction, too many women and girls still do not get the equal opportunities and benefits the law promises them… It’s time to put this fight to rest. The wrestlers have lost in every Court of Appeals that has considered their misguided argument that Title IX results in cuts to men’s teams,” said Chaudhry.
According to NWLC, 72 percent of colleges and universities have added women’s athletic teams to their offerings without eliminating any men’s teams. “Wrestlers should stop trying to pin the blame on female athletes and take on the real culprits – schools’ refusal to support both men’s and women’s teams and to cut bloated budgets,” said Chaudhry. According to the NWLC, women in Division I colleges are over half of the student body, but receive only 43 percent of athletic scholarship dollars, 32 percent of recruiting dollars, and 36 percent of operating budgets.
Mike Moyer, executive director of the NWCA, vowed that his group would appeal to the full appeals court, reports AP.