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Conversation keeps going about Title IX and women's sports
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Interesting thing happening online around one of our "live" shows. In March, we were at the Connecticut Historical Society Museum for a discussion of Title IX and women's sports.  It was a lively enough discussion, but has prompted a very long, thoughtful discussion on the show's page.  I'm not sure if someone assigned this as a homework assignment or what - but it's about as much back and forth conversation as we've had on any show.  Here's the string of the conversation so far - with the most recent submissions on top: 

Submitted by Kayla Everon (not verified) on May 4, 2009 - 9:34pm.

Title IX certainly has made huge advancements for women in sports in today's world.I did not know anything about Title IX until discussing it in my English class this year. Having grown up with equal opprountiy for sports, it is hard for me to imagine that rightbeing taken away from me. I played field hockey and lacrosse throughout highschool, aprivledge that I suppose I took for granted until being educated about Title IX. As a current student at the University of Connecticut, I also find it hard to envision life without Title IX. I see major support for both the male and female basketball teams. I also think that both teams recieve equal funding both on and off campus. Title IX has also been crucial to school systems not only on the collegiate level, but also in elementary and secondary education. Gym classes contain both male and female students, playing side by side in floor hockey or badminton. It is also evident in school sponsored sporting events that there is equal opportunity for male and females. For every male sport there seems to be a female equivalent. Men play baseball, ice hockey, and football; women play softball and field hockey and cheerlead. However, even after years of Title IX being enforced and leading to major advancements female sports, I do not think viewers are ready to see girls get aggressive. As a player of lacrosse in high school, I was told that women’s lacrosse is a game of “finesse.” This was said to us in response as to why we cannot have as much contact with the other players as in men’s lacrosse. Witnessing a men’s lacrosse game is very exciting and intense because the ball travels fast and the male players are able to hit each other with their sticks. Fights often break out on the field. If female lacrosse players so much as hit the opponent’s stick with their own stick, the whistle is blown and the player is fouled for “checking.” As mentioned in this audio, there is a clear emphasis on the major importance of sports in American society. While I think that Title IX has been pivotal in the advancements of sports for women, there are still more steps to be taken in the future.
Submitted by Karolina Dziarnowski (not verified) on May 4, 2009 - 5:25pm.
This commentary on Title IX was very interesting and most importantly very educational. I did not know much about the issue until I listened to this program. With the information provided here I can see both the positive and negative effects of Title IX.
I am a student at the Univeristy of Connecticut where sports are a big part of the social scene. With our women's basketball team winning the championship this year it is hard not to see the positive side of Title IX. It has given equal rights to women. I think it is interesting that it was created not with the intention of athletics but that is what it has impacted the most. Sports was the one the few things that females did not gain equality in before Title IX.
I am all for equality in all aspects especially when it comes to the equality of women. However, I do agree with what was said in the commentary regarding taking opportunities being taken away from the males. Women's sports should be encouraged and equal to men's but it should not be done in a way where the men are almost punished for it. Men's sports should not be at all impacted. Women's teams should just be added. That is the only way Title IX would be fair.
Submitted by Mathew Williams (not verified) on May 4, 2009 - 5:10pm.
Title lX is every woman athlete's best friend.  It allowed women to be on a fairly level playing field with men when it comes to opportunities in sports.  Before the law was passed in 1972, the world of sports was purely dominated by males.  At this point in history, men were still seen as the dominant gender in the world and this concept clearly carried over into sports.  However, Title lX gave women the opportunity to show the world that they are every bit as good at sports as the men are and may even be more exciting to watch in some cases.  In my opinion, Title lX has been a great success and has allowed such superstars as Mia Hamm, Venus and Serena Williams, and Billie Jean King to become icons in the world of Sports. Although there still may be some issues with women making less than men or girls sports receiving less funding in schools, title lX has made huge strides for equality between men and women in its 37 years of existence.
Submitted by Julie L (not verified) on May 4, 2009 - 4:32pm.
Title IX has proven to be a necessary part of advancement toward gender equality, particularly with regards to athletics. As a student at the University of Connecticut, I can attest to the fact that women's sports not only play a central role in helping the university to achieving economic success, but they also allow women's talent to be showcased on a level equal to, if not higher than, that of men. UConn Women's basketball has brought attention to the university while providing millions of viewers with role models and proof that women have to ability to play sports at the same level of excellence that men have achieved.
While much progress has been made in the area of athletics, I do not believe that enough attention is payed to Title IX on the whole which, as William Howe emphasized, was created to bring about gender equality under all education programs. Thank you for airing this broadcast and bringing to light the various aspects of Title IX and how they have impacted various people's lives, educations, and career paths on the whole.

    Submitted by Michelle Moriarty (not verified) on May 2, 2009 - 8:52pm 

    Since Title IX has been passed it has had a large impact on women's athletics.  Being an athlete and being from a high school that was very much based on athletics, it is hard to imagine not being able to play sports just because I am a girl or that women's teams would not be allowed at our school. Title IX has given girls the opportunity to play sports by funding girls programs and giving them a place to play.  While Title IX has definitely bridged the equality gap between men and women, there are still many discrepancies between the way women and men are treated not only as athletes but in the work place as well.  As stated in the broadcast, professional male athletes still get paid a considerable amount more that professional female athletes. Also, in the workplace, there is still a majority of men that hold the highest positions in companies. While Title IX has greatly improved the equality of women, there are still issues that need to be taken care of in order for men and women to be completely equal in all aspects.

    Submitted by Dan Speicher (not verified) on April 30, 2009 - 4:16pm.

    Over the years title IX has done wonders for women in sports.  I have seen the effects in two different locations: as a high school student with state championship in girls soccer, and a college student at UConn with a national championship in women's basketball.  Going to a high school where sports center around many lives it is hard to imagine a school that does not have any girls sports.  Not only has Title IX affected the girls playing sports, but also everyone else in the school.  Girls soccer games were a huge social event and everyone always had a lot of fun watching our team go undefeated and win a state championship.  In the long run Title IX was actually just as important to the students watching the games all year as it was to the players.  Similarly, The UConn women, being a powerhouse have been popular to many fans for about 15-20 years.  

Without Title IX UConn would not be the same.  UConn is known everywhere for not only being dominant in men's basketball, but also women's basketball.  Without Title IX would lose a lot of their national attention and popularity.
Submitted by Stephen Bean (not verified) on April 27, 2009 - 6:53pm.
Title IX established the long awaited equality between men and women in sports. While their remains discrepancies in funding in some areas, the majority of problems revolving around equality in sports are gone. Prior to title IX women in sports were repressed and not allowed to display theirs skills and talents. How horrible would it be if we were never able to see the sheer brilliance of Billy Jean King, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Mia Hamm, Liza Leslie? After the passing of title IX these kind of athletes shined in their respective fields and truly closed the gap between men and women in dominancy. While their remains and equality in pay in men's professional sports and women's professional sports, this can not be blamed on titled IX because professional sports are sold on personal taste. The passing of title IX was crucial to equality in sports but it did more than that. Title IX helped to narrow the gap between men and women in everyday life.
Submitted by Shannon B (not verified) on April 27, 2009 - 12:11pm.
 As a resident of Connecticut all my life, and currently a student at the University of Connecticut where sports are one of our favorite past times, I was happy to be educated on the impact of title IX in my life. I never had much knowledge of the movement, until learning about it in my freshman English class this semester. However, after learning about it and listening to this broadcast, it became really apparent to me how much it impacted my life with sports. I grew up in a small town that revolved around little league or soccer on the weekends in which i was one of the boys at an early age. It was only until the middle of elementary school that sports leagues got large enough to have both a boys and girls team, but throughout middle school and high school years there was an equality among boys and girls sports. The thought of not being able to play on a sports team never even crossed my mind, but after learning about title IX, I know understand the impact and importance it has on my life and my way of life in Connecticut. Our women's basketball team without a doubt dominates significantly a lot of the time, and is one of the main ways of proving the impact of title IX. I think young girls should be educated of the struggle it took to get to where we are today, and therefore should be educated on title IX. I'm grateful and happy I was able to learn about it, myself.
Submitted by Alex L (not verified) on April 27, 2009 - 10:21am.
I thought that this was a great broadcast and commentary on the issues of Title IX. I liked how Howe got out there and stated that Title IX was not originally supposed to be meant for sports, that was just how it was applied. It was just supposed to offer equal opportunities to women out there so that they could participate and grow in the same capacity as men.
In my personal opinion, I believe that Title IX has been a great success. Women all over the country are excelling in things that 100 years ago only men would have been able to participate in. One girl in CT recently just got a full scholarship to LSU for softball. About fourty or so years ago, things like that would never have happened. Women have so many more opportunities. I understand why some people (mostly men) get mad over this bill because in some cases it does mean that you have to cut some mens programs if there isn't enough money. But if our country is supposed to be based on equality, then things like that are just going to have to happen. You can't complain about it. It is the law, and if people don't accept it, they will have to pay the consequences.
All in all, this was very interesting to listen to, and issues similar to this one need to be discussed publically more often so people understand what a big issue it actually is.
Submitted by Paulina J. on April 19, 2009 - 4:37 pm.
    Title IX has done a lot of great things for the women's teams in the United States. But I have to agree with Allison Kasik that altough women's sports increased by 34%, the men's teams sports were cut by 16%, which shouldn't really happen, because Title IX is about equality for both men and women. And I'm going to agree with Bill Howe, when he said that Title IX is not telling colleges to cut the wrestling team or football, it tells the schools that they have to provide equal opportunities for both men's and women's sports. Instead of cutting some sports teams, they should really work better with their budgets, and provide an equal share of it for each team. In my high school the football  team would always get new uniforms, and new equipment, but the cheerleading squad had to use ripped old uniforms, old pom poms, and they never had a place for practice, so they had to practice in the halls. It was because the athletic director was a big football fan, and he didnt really care much about cheerleading.  Also i think that the comment about players, playing for the game not for the money is very important, because sports shouldnt be all about the money, but the players should play, because they love basketball or baseball or football, not because they want to get a lot of money.
Submitted by M Mizrahi (not verified) on April 15, 2009 - 7:23pm.
Like William Howe mentioned, Title IX was not originally drafted or passed with athletics in mind. When applying this rule, it is important to keep in mind the nature of athletics, as well as the primary concern of the program. I agree with Christine Baker and appreciate that Title IX afforded her the opportunity to play in a women's basketball league, but that is not reason to cut men's sports in the name of perfect equality. The work of Title IX has already been done- I believe that women in athletics, and arguably outside of athletics have benefited from the equality it has afforded. However, when (in the sake of equality) Title IX cuts men's sports, something has gone awry.
It is important to challenge the place of Title IX in athletics. By nature, athletics are dominated by the male gender. If a school is to offer more sports to men because of the nature of sports, there is nothing wrong with that. The demand from women's wrestling is simply not high enough to warrant funding. Sports teams should not have to have equal numbers (in teams or in participation) to be treated equally. This is an all too fundamental and flawed approach, abnd not nearly "smart" enough. It's being applied by looking at the wrong aspects.
Submitted by Jonathan Farens (not verified) on April 7, 2009 - 9:27pm.
 I feel that title IX has done great things for this country in terms of equality; however, I believe that the "three pronged test" described by Allison Kasic in this episode is ridiculous. The first condition of proportionality is difficult for me to understand. If I remember correctly, Allison said that if the student body is 51% female, then 51% of the athletes must be female. This seems pointless and makes it seem like our country is trying too hard to gain absolute equality. I am also seriously angered by Ms. Kasic's statement in this episode about Bucknell University's wrestling program being cut. How is this fair?! Justifying Title IX by giving the university women's sports programs and striping the school of one of their men's sports. That doesn't sit right with me. If Bucknell University could have receieved the funding to support the wrestling team as well, then they should have done so. I am not against title IX at all. I believe that it has done wonders for the sporting world (especially since I go to UCONN and our women's basketball team are about to bring home a national championship) but I do believe title IX needs changes. Title IX can bring equality into the sports world by letting their be an imbalanced proportion in men's teams to women's teams as long as the school can offer the same programs to women. 
Submitted by Wayne Jebian (not verified) on April 2, 2009 - 3:09pm.
Thank you for briniging attention to the impact of Title IX on gender equality in sports and in our educational institutions as a whole. For the past two semesters I have taught a freshman English course at UCONN that I like to call "Sports as Pedagogy," and I was pleased to have the opportunity to use WNPR as a resource for this class. Already a couple of my students have posted responses to the broadcast, and you will be hearing from more before long.
Submitted by Georgia Thomas (not verified) on March 30, 2009 - 11:11pm.
I am a current student at the University of Connecticut and therefore grew up with all the benefits of Title IX. In my hometown of Madison (referenced in the show) both girls and boys sports are huge. From an early age girls and boys play little league and compete to get spots on travel soccer teams. At the high school level a seemingly equal number of girls and boys participate in sports. Although the boys football a wrestling teams are big, the school also supports a girls field hockey team, new girls ice hockey team and a large girls tack team. I never considered the implications of past history and title IX. Yet I feel it is an important law. It needs to be supported and can not be abandoned even if just for symbolic reasons. People need to be reminded where they come from in order to look ahead to the future.
I think this is especially important when looking at the UCONN women's basketball team. Even though it is one of the most acclaimed and supported programs in the nation, it does not garner the same respect as the men's team on campus. Students follow the women's stats and rankings but are more prone to watch the men's teams games on television. Many boys and girls say that they don't want to be sexist but........“ I just cant watch the women play the shooting form and slow passing game just looks wrong when the women do it.” Nevertheless the women's team, I am happy to report, does have a strong fan base. The games are fun to go to and everyone on campus, even those who deny the quality of the sport, wants the women's team to win.
Submitted by John (not verified) on March 26, 2009 - 4:04pm.
 I feel very torn between the pros and cons of Title IX.  Although I believe women are entitled to just as many resources and opportunities as men, I think that Title IX has put some limitations on men's sports as well.  My friend who goes to Providence College is on the men's club golf team and because of Title IX, he is not technically part of Division I golf because his team is simply a "club sport".  On the other hand, the UConn women's basketball team is destroying every team in its path and making history as we speak but we can't even pay spectators to watch those games.  It is very dissapointing for women's basketball when men's basketball season tickets cost 50 dollars and women's basketball season tickets are around 12 dollars.  With that said, students still won't buy women's basketball tickets.  By no means am I saying that women's sports are less entertaining or less desirable to watch but let that speak for itself.  Women most certainly deserve a right to play and compete just as much as men and Title IX definitely takes care of that.  
    Submitted by Mary (not verified) on March 13, 2009 - 10:25am.
Without Title IX, there would be no UConn Women's Basketball, there would be no US Women's Soccer.... Women's sports would still be relegated to a few enthusiasts begging court time at odd hours (when the men weren't playing, training, getting ready to train, etc.), virtually uncoached, with uniforms consisting of matching T-shirts.
I was in college in 1972. There were no women's sports at all my freshman year. Women who wanted to play basketball played pick-up games with the men. Eventually, we got the school to form intra-mural teams. By the next year, we started fielding an official women's basketball team. The coach was a volunteer faculty member! I joined the women's crew team, again started by women who wanted to row. We were coached by the cox of the mean's team, out of the goodness of his heart. (Thanks again, Steve!) The men's coach barely tolerated our presence on the docks and allowed us to use only one shell -- the oldest one, of course and was very concerned that we might scratch it.
We had no transportation to the lake -- we begged and borrowed rides. One time, the whole team (9 of us) squeezed into one car, sitting on each others laps. Good thing we weren't stopped for not wearing seat belts!
But we stuck with it, through rain and early morning practice, and meets where we came in dead last. We had fun and we worked as a team and we got stronger and we took on something hard and learned to do it pretty well. It did rankle when we saw the kind of equipment, coaching, training, special meals and medical attention that some of the men's teams got.  The football team had a huge budget and they weren't even very good. We got nothing -- zip, zero.Title IX helped to even that out over the years.
I am happy to say that the school, 30 something years later, has a women's crew team -- with coaches! and equipment! and regularly scheduled meets! and fans! Thank you, Title IX and all the dedicated women who stuck with it through the hard times.
Submitted by Christine (not verified) on March 11, 2009 - 5:53pm.
All Title IX says is that women should have equal access to resources.  It says a publicly funded high school can't spend thousands on their men's football team when the girls' basketball team isn't allowed to use the gym.  If boys have a problem with that, it just means they're bad sports and that they aren't learning what they should from high school sports. 


Title IX was meant to cover athletics

I was there when Title IX began. I testified at and helped put the Title IX hearings together in 1970. It was intended to cover EVERYTHING, unless it was specifically exempted in the statute such as the exemption for the social activities of sororities and fraternities. There are many things the law covers that are not mentioned. Thus the fact that athletics is not mentioned in the law in simply not relevant. When the hearings were held, we were not aware of discrimination in athletics. Sex discrimination was a new issue; there were no studies or information available about athletics. A year later, in 1971, I put one line about sex discrimination in athletics in my testimony for the Equal Rights Amendment. By 1972, when the law passed, we knew for sure that it would cover athletics, but again with little information, we did not fully realize the impact. I thought "Isn’t this nice! On Play Day [Field Day] there will be more activities for girls."

As the regulation for Title IX was being developed to spell out exactly what institutions had to do, the collegiate athletic establishment was close to hysteria and desperately introduced several bills to weaken or eliminate the coverage of athletics by Title IX; all were beaten down in the Congress. In 1974, my office then at the Association of American Colleges published the first known study of sex discrimination in college athletics. Lots of people were horrified at the discrimination we uncovered.

The major reason no one noticed that Title IX would cover athletics is that when the higher education establishment was asked if they wanted to testify on the bill, their lobbyist said that there wasn’t any sex discrimination in higher education, and "besides, it wasn’t a problem." Thus no one was watching or analyzing the bill. Because sex discrimination was a new issue, many of the things we would now consider sex discrimination were simply viewed as "natural" or "reasonable."

How do I know all of this? I was there. The NY Times has called me "the godmother of Title IX for my work in its development and passage. Bernice R. Sandler, Women’s Research and Education Institute, Washington, DC. You can learn more about the origin of Title IX on my web site: www.bernicesandler.com