April 24 2007

One News Now: Women's group cites need for Title IX reform

Allison Kasic

Several universities recently announced they were cutting some of their sports teams in order to comply with the federal law banning sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funding. Among other things, the law requires that number of male and female athletes at a school mirror its percentage of male and female enrollment. One school making Title IX cuts is James Madison University, which is dropping seven men's and three women's teams.

Alison Kasic, campus director for the Independent Women's Forum (IWF), says Title IX is often used as a weapon against men's sports teams to promote so-called "gender equity." She feels that JMU's decision to cut the men's track team but not the women's track team carries with it some ramifications that are not being taken into account.

"[W]ho are some of the most outraged people about this? The women's track team," she explains. "These women, a lot of times, train with the male athletes, they're friends with them, they compete with them. So to think that the women's team doesn't have any ill effects because the men's team gets cut -- I think that's sort of missing the big picture."

Kasic says Title IX places a large strain on the athletic departments of schools like James Madison, which is historically a nursing school and has a 61 percent female enrollment. She believes there is currently no fairness or equality in Title IX enforcement -- which is why she is calling for reform.

"It would be great if Congress could revisit this issue and try to come up with something that is just commonsense reform that restores equality of both sexes under Title IX, rather than what so oftentimes [happens]," says the IWF spokeswoman. "Title IX is ... not even providing that many positive things for female athletes. I think that's not good for either men or women, and we should be able to do much better than that."

Kasic says by making Title IX cuts, schools lose both academically and athletically because morale in the campus athletic community is dampened and promising student athletes transfer to other universities.

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