ACLU questions Chillicothe on fairness of facilities
#1 Oct 11, 2009
Part of the 1972 federal education amendments, Title IX states that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex ... be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Over nearly three decades, Title IX has sparked astounding change for women's sports, experts say, fostering such internationally known athletes as Mia Hamm of soccer, Venus and Serena Williams of tennis, and Sheryl Swoopes of basketball.
“It was a great piece of legislation as far as girls' sports go,” said John Gillis of the National Federation of State High School Associations in Indianapolis.
Now there are 2.7 million girls competing in high school sports across the nation - eight times the number in 1971, the year before Title IX.
Athletic opportunities for girls also have increased.
Between 1989 and 1999, girls' soccer teams doubled in number to 7,931 nationwide. Girls' golf rose to 6,771 teams — a 75 percent jump.
Yet at the college level, Title IX's changes have prompted allegations of discrimination against male athletes.
The University of Cincinnati eliminated its co-ed rifle, men's tennis and men's indoor track teams to comply with Title IX. Last year, Miami University dropped its men's soccer, tennis and wrestling programs.
Some of Miami's male students sued, but this year, U.S. District Judge Sandra S. Beckwith dismissed their claims against the school. The claims remain against then-President James Garland, Athletic Director Joel Maturi and the board of trustees, who are set to face trial in June.
High school athletics are the focus of more Title IX complaints than are college sports programs.
According to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, high school discrimination complaints grew from 52 in 1995 to 129 in 1999. Over the five years, 425 complaints were directed at high school sports, compared with 154 complaints involving college sports.
“There's a growing culture of sports in this country, and there's a lot of children and parents invested in these issues,” said Paul Haagen, a Duke University sports law professor.
“A lot of sports programs have been run by men, particularly "good ol' boys.' You're just getting people who were behind the curve doing what they've always done and not responding to the law.”
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