June 15 2010
Position Paper No. 30 Title IX and Athletics: A Case Study of Perverse Incentives and Unintended Consequences
Download Position Paper No. 30 Below
June 23rd marks the 38th anniversary of Title IX, the federal law that bans sex discrimination in educational programs. Title IX was well-intentioned, but has had some negative, serious unintended consequences, particularly in the realm of collegiate athletics.
In the Title IX era most men's sports have faced a consistent and serious decline in both the number of participants and number of programs. This is not a coincidence. Schools' decisions to cuts men's programs are related to the incentive structure that the government created in developing Title IX enforcement protocol. Title IX's main enforcement mechanism, proportionality, effectively operates as a gender quota.
In 2003 and 2005, the Bush administration attempted to provide school's with a practical, yet rigorous alternative to proportionality through the creation of a model interest survey. Unfortunately, the Obama administration recently rescinded this survey.