Page 39 - Athletic Health Handbook
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294,000 girls participating in high who are overweight and suffering under any education program
school athletics in 1971, and more the resultant lifelong physical and or activity receiving Federal
than 3 million today. The words emotional effects, sports participation financial assistance . . .
“Title IX” have achieved a sort of pop —both encouraging an interest in it
culture status, so that those two words and sustaining it—is an important The statute itself does not
stand for something greater than the public policy issue. detail the content of an equitable
law’s requirements. The law clearly education-based sports program.
sends a message that girls and women Early cases challenging policies Indeed, the issue of discrimination
are entitled to participate in sports, and which excluded women and girls from against women in education-based
this message has served as a catalyst to sports programs based on gender athletics programs was only a brief
women and girls to get in the game. illustrated the need for a federal law part of the congressional debates on
which would address the stereotypes Title IX. Efforts to limit Title IX’s
Title IX is an anti-discrimination and baseless assumptions underlying effect on athletic programs failed and
statute based on an equality mandate. such policies. These cases often Congress subsequently directed what
Equitably distributing education-based featured expert testimony, including was then the Department of Health
sports opportunities is important, by orthopaedic surgeons and other Education and Welfare to prepare
because as a substantial body of physicians, which supported the regulations implementing Title IX,
social science and medical literature argument that females were not including in the area of intercollegiate
documents, sports participation physically suited to engage in sports. athletics. These regulations provide
provides significant lifetime benefits. For instance, in one case, a prominent the framework for gender equity in
For instance, sports participation orthopaedic surgeon and team sports and apply to all high schools,
is said to teach important life lessons physician testified that girls could colleges, and universities that receive
such as discipline, teamwork, time not safely compete with boys in sports government funding. The final
management, and leadership that such as baseball, and that in general regulations, which went into effect
enhance one’s long-term personal girls were in poorer physical condition, in 1975, provide that:
growth and well-being. Studies have lacked the capacity to throw overhand,
demonstrated that students who and were more likely to sustain No person shall, on the basis of sex,
participate in high school sports fractures when engaging in sports. be excluded from participation
perform better academically and The surgeon admitted that in his in, be denied the benefits of,
have an increased probability of opinion “it was the normal activity be treated differently from
attending college. Moreover, athletic of a young lady to keep off baseball another person or otherwise be
participation is said to create fields and play with dolls.” discriminated against in any
numerous benefits for women and interscholastic, intercollegiate,
girls, including better physical and These views began to change when club or intramural athletics
mental health, higher self-esteem, Congress enacted Title IX in 1972. offered by a recipient . . .
a lower rate of depression, and more Title IX was aimed at prohibiting
positive body image, as well as greater discrimination on the basis of gender Title IX does not require that
educational success and stronger in all education programs receiving education-based athletic programs
interpersonal skills. Research shows federal financial assistance. The give preferential treatment to
that physical activity reduces female purpose of the statute is to guarantee women. Instead, Title IX requires
risk of cardiovascular disease, and that all students have equitable entities that receive federal financial
physically active women are less opportunities to fully participate assistance to “provide equal athletic
likely to get diseases such as breast in taxpayer-supported educational opportunity for both sexes.”
cancer. Research also shows that programs. Title IX does not target This does not require educational
participation in athletics promotes or even mention athletics programs. institutions to have gender-integrated
positive social behaviors, including The statute states quite simply that: sports teams or the same teams
better academic performance, lower for men and women. However,
rates of smoking, drug use, and No person in the United States where a school has separate programs
pregnancy, and higher levels of self- shall, on the basis of sex, be for men and women, Title IX
esteem. Given the growing numbers excluded from participation in, requires that those separate
of children, and especially girls, be denied the benefits of or opportunities be equitable.
be subjected to discrimination

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