August 11 2008
A conservative columnist says the Olympics serve as a great reminder of the "dark side" of Title IX - its "assault" on men's non-revenue sports programs on college campuses.
Passed in 1972 as an education amendment, Title IX bans sex discrimination in college athletics. In order to comply with Title IX, colleges have tried to attain what's called "proportionality," where a school's gender breakdown among athletes reflects the gender breakdown of the student body.
Alison Kasic, director of the Center for College Studies at the Independent Women's Forum, says Olympic sports like swimming, track and field, wrestling and gymnastics have been the hardest hit in the Title IX era.
"Basically Title IX has been sort of two tales. On the women's side it's done a lot of good and really dramatically increased participation numbers, but on the men's side we've just seen countless programs get cut and where programs aren't cut you also see roster caps basically limiting the amount of participants that can participate in these men's sports. So it's been overall a positive story for women and unfortunately, a negative story for men."
Kasic notes there's been a more than 18% decline in the number of male swimmers at the Division I level since 1984, a statistic that leads her to wonder how many other potentially elite male athletes have been denied the opportunity to compete as a result of Title IX.