WASHINGTON, DC — Education Secretary Rod Paige’s pronouncement that he will only consider recommendations of the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics that were offered unanimously is a promising sign of change to come, but still falls well short of ending sex discrimination in college sports, the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) said today.
“We are disappointed that Secretary Paige is refusing to consider some of the most important recommendations for reforming Title IX, such as excluding older, married women from proportionality calculations,” says Charlotte Hays, a spokeswoman for the IWF and editor of The Women’s Quarterly. “We are hopeful, however, that if the Secretary adopts some of the recommendations we will begin to see incremental change.”
IWF specifically referred to three Commission recommendations that Secretary Paige has said he will consider:
- Explore additional ways of demonstrating Title IX compliance beyond the existing three-part test in an attempt to avert continued reliance upon proportionality quotas.
- Give equal weight to all three ways that colleges can show Title IX compliance, including demonstrating a history of expanding opportunities for female athletes and showing that the athletic interests of female students have been fully accommodated. Currently, the Department of Education relies almost solely on measuring statistical proportionality, demanding that the ratio of female athletes closely parallels the ratio of female students.
- Clarify the Department?s disapproval of cutting male teams in order to achieve compliance with Title IX. In less than a decade, more than 200 male teams and over 20,000 male athletes have been eliminated nationwide.
“If these three recommendations are adopted it will move Title IX toward its original purpose — to guarantee equal opportunity, not equal outcomes,” Hays comments. “Unfortunately, as long as proportionality remains in effect, quotas remain the only way to achieve equal outcomes.”
The IWF, in keeping with its mission to affirm women’s participation opposes the use of such quotas because they dishonor the legitimate athletic and academic accomplishments of women.
The Independent Women?s Forum, founded in 1992, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.