Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was signed into law in June 1972. Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 bans sex discrimination in schools, whether in academics or athletics. Title IX states:
“No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal aid.”
The objective of Title IX is to avoid the use of federal money to support sexually discriminatory practices in education programs and to provide citizens effective protection against discriminatory practices. With a few exceptions, Title IX applies to all aspects of federally funded education programs or activities. In addition to traditional educational institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools, Title IX also applies to any education or training program operated by a recipient of federal financial assistance.
Title IX governs the overall equity of treatment and opportunity in athletics while giving schools the flexibility to choose sports based on student body interest, geographic influence, budget restraints, and gender ratio. In other words, the focus is on the necessity for women to have equal opportunities as men on a whole, not on an individual basis.
With regard to intercollegiate athletics, there are three primary areas that determine if an institution is in compliance:
- athletic financial assistance
- accommodation of athletic interests & abilities
- other program areas
Appraisal of compliance is on a program-wide basis, not on a sport-by-sport basis.
While many provisions have been written specifically for intercollegiate sports, the general components of Title IX apply to interscholastic sport as well.
First, financial assistance must be awarded based on the number of male and female athletes. The test is financial proportionality. The total amounts of aid must be substantially proportionate to the ratio of male and female athletes.
Second, the selection of sports and the level of competition must effectively accommodate the students’ interests and abilities. There are 3 factors that are looked:
- Whether the intercollegiate participation opportunities for male and female students are provided in numbers substantially proportionate to their respective enrollments.
- Where the members of one sex have been and are underrepresented among intercollegiate athletes, whether the institution can show a history and continuing practice of program expansion which is demonstrably responsive to the developing interests and abilities of that sex.
- Where the members of one sex are under represented among intercollegiate athletes and the institution cannot show a continuing practice of program expansion, whether it can be demonstrated that the interests and abilities of the members of that sex have been fully and effectively accommodated by the present program.
Third, all other benefits, opportunities, and treatments afforded sports participants are to be equivalent, but not necessarily identical. Title IX specifically looks at the following program components:
- Equipment & Supplies: quality, suitability, quantity, availability, maintenance, & replacement.
- Scheduling of Games & Practice Time: number of competitive events per sport, number and length of practice opportunities, time of day competitive events and practice opportunities are scheduled, opportunities to engage in available pre-season and post-season competition, the season a sport is scheduled, & the length of season.
- Travel & Per Diem Allowances: modes of transportation, housing furnished during travel, length of stay before and after competitive events, per diem allowances, & dining arrangements.
- Opportunity to Receive Academic Tutoring: availability of tutoring, tutor qualifications and experience, rates of pay, & employment conditions.
- Opportunity to Receive Coaching, Assignment, & Compensation: availability, assignment, & compensation of full-time coaches, assistants, graduate assistants, or restricted earnings coaches.
- Locker Rooms, Practice, & Competitive Facilities: quality, availability, exclusivity of use, maintenance and preparation of facilities.
- Medical & Training Facilities and Services: quality and availability of medical personnel; athletic trainers; weight and conditioning facilities; training facilities; & health, accident, and injury insurance coverage.
- Housing & Dining Facilities and Services: housing and dining benefits available during the regular year, the provision of pre-game and post-game meals, & housing and dining services provided when classes are not in session.
- Publicity: availability and quality of sports information personnel, access to publicity resources, & quantity and quality of publications and other promotional devices.
- Support Services: administrative support, clerical and secretarial support, office space, equipment and supplies, & availability of other support staff.
- Recruitment of Student-Athletes: opportunities for coaches or other personnel to recruit, whether financial and other resources are equivalently adequate, & treatment of prospective student-athletes.
Although Title IX’s impact on high school and collegiate athletics is widely known, the original statute made no reference to athletics. The legislation however covers all educational activities, and complaints have been brought under Title IX alleging discrimination in academic fields such as science or math. Discrimination within other aspects of academic life, such as access to health care and residential facilities, is also subject to Title IX. The law also applies to non-sports extracurricular activities such as school bands and recreational clubs.