Title IX gives women opportunities at men’s expense
Are men’s rights being taken away when women are granted more? In most situations, such as equal pay and equal treatment in the workforce, the answer is no. The case of Title IX, however, is more complicated. Title IX sets criteria for universities to ensure that “sex discrimination [is banned] in educational institutions receiving federal funds.” The legislation has many benefits. For example, it prevents women from being harassed, abused or treated differently in an academic setting. When it comes to athletic opportunities, however, a lot of men are losing out. Because Title IX requires equal funding for both men’s and women’s teams, many universities have cut men’s programs, claiming they are unable to raise the budget for women’s sports without cutting from men’s. Is this necessarily the truth? No, because there are several other options available. Women in sports are gaining more opportunities while men are losing out for no clear or real reason.
Some of the reactions to Title IX have been cutting men’s varsity sports that do not create enough revenue for the school. The programs canceled at Rutgers University-New Brunswick include two men’s crew teams, fencing, swimming, tennis and women’s fencing. At Rutgers, the men’s crew team — which used to be one of the strongest in its conference when it was still a varsity sport — was cut because the University said it could not continue to fund the team if it were to abide Title IX. Even though the team raises enough money to continue as a club and to bring the sport back, former Rutgers Athletic Director Robert Mulcahy told the Star-Ledger that “It’s very difficult because if you raise the money to bring back a men’s sport, then because of Title IX we would also have to raise the money to bring back another women’s sport to keep the scholarships even.” It has caused coaches of many cut programs throughout the country to become worried about how universities are making unnecessary changes to follow Title IX.It may be that Title IX has just been an excuse for colleges to cut programs that do not bring in enough money for the school. Many universities focus their time, money and other resources toward the more popular sports, especially basketball and football. In fact, many of the universities with strong football programs use women’s teams, such as rowing, to help keep the large number of football scholarships available since the sport can have a huge number of women athletes. This gives women more resources, but gives to men in only one sport. At Rutgers, it is apparent that when administrators have cut men’s teams, they have given women more funding and created new sports programs, but they have also raised the budget allotted for football. Instead, if there was more equal funding amongst men’s programs, then universities, including Rutgers, could keep and continue to grow all men’s programs. Could Title IX be leading to even more inequality among men indirectly?
Government officials have also begun to question the way Title IX is implemented. If the government realizes there is a flaw with the legislation, there should be more being done to fix it. It is obvious that most people have realized universities are using Title IX to benefit themselves more than anyone else by increasing the funding for their money-making teams. Even the government realizes that men are being discriminated based on their abilities and the amount of money their chosen sport brings in for the school. The problem with this is that football players are essentially being paid more than those who play any other sport to perform similar jobs, which is being part of their university’s athletic program. There are football players who have never been on the field being paid while men on the crew team are being paid nothing to compete nationally at their own cost. Our government has realized there is a flaw, but so far it has been about seven years since universities began implementing this common method, and there is still no change.
Men who participate in former varsity programs still compete as hard as any Division 1 athlete, even when that sport does not create significant revenue. These athletes have to pay incredible amounts of money to participate in the sport they enjoy and often have played since they were in middle school. Men’s sports, as well as women’s, should have more equal funding, or at the minimum, the men’s teams that were taken away should be reinstated as varsity teams with some financing. To increase funding, universities could offer opportunities for athletic programs to fundraise at large events hosted throughout the year and have all programs, including the football team, raise a portion of their own funds through donations, sales, and so on. It is important that those students affected by this, as well as others who find this to be a form of inequality, express their concerns to administration. Also, I think it is important for our government to clarify Title IX. Many athletes claim they do not mind funding expenses themselves, but they are upset that they cannot compete at a more competitive level simply because they are not recognized as a varsity sport. Universities need to relinquish their obsession with money and football and focus on the spirit, fun, and competition that our collegiate athletics can and do provide.
Christina McGinnis is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.