WASHINGTON, DC — The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) today released Time Out for Fairness: Women for Title IX Reform, detailing the transformation of Title IX from a well intentioned anti-discrimination law to a discriminatory tool of overreaching courts and bureaucrats.

The IWF is releasing the report at a time when Secretary of Education Rod Paige is in danger of squandering a chance for reform in the way Title IX is implemented. Paige’s recommendations to the White House for changes in the current system are disappointedly timid and won’t effectively end the gender quota system that curtails opportunities for male athletes and, in effect, belittles the genuine achievements of women athletes.

“When Congress passed Title IX, the bill’s sponsors assured both the House and the Senate that Title IX would not impose quotas on educational institutions,” the report states. But, by 1997, at a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) described Title IX as “the biggest quota you’ve ever seen. It is fifty-fifty. It is a big round quota.” Ms. Waters’ interpretation is the one that holds sway.

This quota system, achieving statistical proportionality in athletic programs so that the ratio of female athletes closely parallels the ratio of female students, has become “the primary way [for schools] to avoid a lawsuit or Office for Civil Rights investigation.” Time Out for Fairness offers a trenchant argument that the quest for statistical proportionality is both unrealistic and discriminatory:

  • “In less than a decade, more than 350 male teams and over 20,000 male athletes have been eliminated, while the number of female athletes increased by only 5,800. Nearly four males were dropped for each new female.”
  • “Women show a lower level of interest in going out for varsity teams than men… Despite the existence of more female sports, teams, and allowable scholarships per team at NCAA member schools, female high school athletes have a higher drop-off rate between high school participation and college participation than male high school athletes.”
  • “Many African-Americans participate in football, basketball, track and field, and cross-country. These sports have been cut or capped drastically as a result of Title IX, African-Americans are losing their opportunity to participate in athletics, so that golf, equestrian, crew, and lacrosse can be added for women. But female lacrosse teams, for example, are over 87% white and less than 2% black.”

Time Out for Fairness includes the following proposed solutions:

  • Include cheerleading, drill team, pom-pom and dance team as varsity sports?sports that demand high levels of athletic skill and teamwork, to increase the number of women athletes on campus.
  • Include only undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 24 when determining a school’s Title IX compliance, excluding “non-traditional” students, the majority of whom are female, over 24, and unlikely to go out for sports.
  • Count unfilled positions as participants, currently the Office for Civil Rights counts only filled positions on a team even though a position may be funded but empty due to lack of interest.
  • Stop counting walk-ons, the vast majority of whom are male. These are students who try out for a team and do not receive scholarships. Many schools no longer allow walk-ons because they can harm a school’s pursuit of proportionality, even though they do nothing to diminish the funds women’s sports receive.
  • Use surveys or other means to quantify levels of athletic interest.

The Independent Women?s Forum, founded in 1992, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.