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is over?

Think again!

From the Women’s Sports Foundation:

While girls’ share of high school athletic participation opportunities increased between 1993-1994 and 1999-2000, progress toward gender equity slowed and, perhaps, even reversed direction during the 2000s, a newly released report by the Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center for Women and Girls (SHARP Center), indicated. The SHARP Center, a University of Michigan and Women’s Sports Foundation collaboration, today released its latest research report, providing valuable insight into the state of high school athletics and the inequalities that still exist in the U.S. public school system, despite the passing of the landmark legislation, Title IX, 40 years ago.

“In the wake of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, the state of women’s sports in the U.S. has generated great praise, and many believe that girls and women have finally achieved athletic equality. However, these findings suggest that we simply aren’t there yet. In fact, we are moving farther and farther away from equality with the cutting of interscholastic sports,” expressed Kathryn Olson, Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “It goes beyond the physical benefits of sport. Sports are an integral part of the educational experience; students who participate in sports are shown to achieve greater academic success. The decline of interscholastic athletic opportunities should be looked at as an erosion of the educational capacity.

Key findings from “The Decade of Decline: Gender Equity in High School Sports” include:

•    Athletic participation opportunities expanded across the decade, but boys’ allotment grew more than girls. By 2009-10, 53 athletic opportunities were offered for every 100 boys, compared with 41 opportunities for every 100 girls.

•    Despite the level of economic resources, the opportunity gap between girls and boys continued to increase. By 2010 girls participated in greater numbers than in the beginning of the decade; however, girls’ share of total athletic opportunities decreased across the decade as compared to boys’ share. During a decade of expanding athletic participation opportunities across U.S. high schools, boys received more opportunities than girls, and boys’ opportunities grew faster than those of girls.

•    By 2009-10 boys still received disproportionately more athletic opportunities than girls in all community settings—urban, suburban, towns, and rural communities.

•    In 2000, 8.2 percent of schools offered no sports programs, the percentage nearly doubled by 2010, rising to approximately 15 percent.  Additionally, schools with disproportionately higher female enrollments (i.e., the student body is 56 percent female or higher) were more likely to have dropped interscholastic sports between 2000 and 2010.

•    Seven percent of public schools lost sports programs between 2000 and 2010, while less than one percent added sports to their curriculum. Given this trend in the data, it is estimated that by the year 2020, 27 percent of U.S. public high schools (4,398 schools) would be without any interscholastic sports, translating to an estimated 3.4 million young Americans (1,658,046 girls and 1,798,782 boys) who would not have any school-based sports activities to participate in by 2020 if the trend continues.

Read The Decade of Decline report in full and learn more about our SHARP Center for Women and Girls here.

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messin’ with dem boyz whoz wants to play sports. Charts: The State of Women’s Athletics, 40 Years After Title IX

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Bernice Sandler, who helped draft the legislation back in 1972recently told ESPN, “The only thought I gave to sports when the bill was passed was, ‘Oh, maybe now when a school holds its field day, there will be more activities for the girls.'” During the Senate hearings on the bill—aside from one Senator’s crack about coed football which drew hearty guffaws—sports weren’t mentioned at all.

My, how things change. Forty years later, despite the important impact it’s had in other areas, from math and science education to the rights of pregnant students, Title IX is best known for transforming women’s athletics. In 1972, just 1 in 27 girls participated in high school sports; today, about two in five do, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. The number of women playing at the college level has skyrocketed by more than 600 percent. (Incidentally, these days coed football teams aren’t a joke either.)

Yet progress towards gender equity in sports has been uneven and incomplete. Here are five charts showing what’s changed—and what hasn’t—since Title IX’s passage in 1972.

At the heart of it, when you get through all the gender stereotyping and social backwardness (easy, no?) these days, the big issue is about money. Sharing the pie. About how to divide a limited pie to feed various mouths. And everyone knows that Athletic Directors (overwhelmingly male) make the money decisions. And (mostly) they’re not interested in equity. If they were, there would be no need for Title IX.

So, when the male AD decides that the last 10 football players – the ones who never get in to the game – are more important than, say, the best 10 male wrestlers, or the 5 fabulous female fencers… Well, that’s not the fencers’ fault because they’ve somehow developed an “interest” fencing because they caught a glimpse of Mariel Zagunis. Or the wrestlers’ fault because they’ve somehow developed an “interest” wrestling having  caught a glimpse of Rulon Gardner. It is a choice that ADs are making because they’re scared of football.

So, while I understand that the whimpy, lazy default is to blame women for having the temerity to be interested in the higher education opportunities that sports scholarships offer, I’d be more impressed if folks like Doug at the Deseret grew a set (so to speak) and looked at the facts and didn’t hide behind his threatened ego. I guess we know who Nikes “Voices were talking about:

I’m not saying the choices are easy — especially in these economic times when educators should really be looking carefully at what they’re spending on athletics and why. But lazy reporting and opinionating gets us nowhere. Women and men “just wanna play ball.” What’s the best way to help all of them do that?

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over at the T-IX blog: The three-prong breakdown

A session at the conference addressed the three-prong test and the ability and difficulties in complying. The happenings at the panel were reported by Inside Higher Ed. It seemed like a good discussion about whether the prongs are viable any more–and if so, which ones and how schools can demonstrate compliance. There was certainly frustration among various audience members who were athletics administrators about the challenges each pring presents. The session was lead by Jacqueline Michaels of OCR who seemed to do a very good job with questions from the audience and in explaining the intricacies of each prong–especially the confusion over prong three given the changes and clarifications this specific test has seen over the last 6 years.

I highly recommend reading this short piece to get a better understanding of the three prongs and how they are enforced.

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via email from Erin over at the Title IX blog:

I just read A&M’s response on your blog and they are not technically wrong.  EADA reporting requirements ask for a tally of “participants” and the definition of “participant” includes anyone who practices with the team. 

The only problem with their defense in my opinion is that the well-known purpose of the EADA is to make gender equity transparent.  So it’s not exactly in the spirit of the rules to report male practice players there without noting in the “caveat” section of the reporting form that you have done so.  For an example of a university that does report in that manner, pull up the EADA reports for Cornell. 

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Texas A&M – NY Times: College Teams Relying On Deception Undermine Gender Equity; Byrne Responds

The New York Times published a story on Tuesday questioning our compliance with Title IX and specifically referenced our national champion women’s basketball team and the male A&M students who practice with the team.

We are very proud of our Title IX compliance at Texas A&M and feel that we are leaders nationally in this area. In fact, every year we have a third party fully evaluate our Title IX compliance. Such an evaluation is not mandated.

Unfortunately, facts can get in the way of accurately reporting a story, especially when looking at an easy target like the recent national champion of women’s basketball. Misconceptions and misinformation grows on itself. The New York Times writes things and other media regurgitate the information how they see fit.

Here are the facts.

Title IX essentially gives female student-athletes the same opportunities as male student-athletes. In order to comply with Title IX, one of the tests is the proportion of male vs. female students enrolled at the institution as compared to the proportion of athletic opportunities offered.

Title IX regulations require that an institution NOT count male practice players.

Meanwhile, the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) requires male practice players to be reported as participants on any women’s team they practice with. In 2009-10, we had male practice players associated with women’s basketball, women’s tennis, and volleyball.

The EADA is a different calculation than that used for compliance with Title IX regulations. The bottom line is we are dealing with two separate laws with two separate definitions of a participant. The fact is we reported accurate numbers in each case, and we are compliant with both.

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responses. Gender Games: Answering Questions About Roster Management and Title IX

With 270 comments and counting, New York Times readers reacted to my article in Tuesday’s paper about roster management with passion, insight and numerous personal stories about how Title IX had affected their lives, whether good or bad. Many readers questioned why so much attention is paid to female athletes and argued that the fact that 57 percent of college students are now female is proof of discrimination against men by colleges and universities. Others asserted that Title IX overlooks the fact that men and women have different interests, and raised the question of whether fewer women want to play sports. Still others said the examples cited in the article showed that, 40 years after it was passed, Title IX needs to be rewritten.

Here’s a selection of questions that readers posed, and my responses.

Expect more, since Thomas’ article the first in a series of articles.

I can’t encourage you enough to get educated on the subject of Title IX. It’s AMAZING how much mis- and dis-information there is out there.- Few Americans Familiar With Title IX, Though Most Approve of It. Oh, and the Times also has an editorial: Cynical Games With Title IX

These practices are cynical and might be illegal. Congress clearly needs to tighten the reporting standards, so that schools are required tell the whole truth about their athletic teams and their efforts to ensure gender equality. Boards of trustees and alumni need to take immediate responsibility, pressing their schools to comply, not just with the letter of the law, but with the spirit.

Adds the Title IX Blog:

In sum, the NYT is the bearer of bad news when it exposes the extent and scope of universities’ false reports of gender equity. I wish that we could believe universities who report gender equity in athletics. But at least the good news is that after this public exposure, investigators, complainants, plaintiffs, bloggers, and other watchdogs are less likely to be duped by false numbers going forward. We’ll dig below the surface of universities’ reported data and demand stronger evidence in support of universities’ claims to gender equity. When they realize that their false numbers will not protect them, maybe they’ll start reporting the real ones.

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