Title IX

I wrote this article for JMC 054: Reporting and Writing Principles, on April 14, 2016.  Click the button below to view it.

Title IX is one of the most important laws for female student athletes.  This law was adopted as a portion of the United States Education Amendments of 1972.  The law states that no person in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or discriminated under any educational program or activity receiving financial assistance.  The U.S. government funds 16,500 school districts, 7,000 post-secondary institutions, charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, and museums.

Drake University Athletic Director Sandy Clubb has had to deal with Title IX law at Arizona State University as well as at Drake. “We received a request for a compliance review at Arizona State with Title IX law,” Director Clubb said.  “The Office for Civil Rights said ‘We’re going to come out and do a review to see if you comply with Title IX.’”  Compliance reviews do not mean that someone filed a complaint, but rather that someone is checking to see if a department is complying with Title IX law.

At first, Title IX never said anything about athletics, which means challenges kept being raised about if this applied to athletics as well.  “Finally, in 1979, the Title IX in Intercollegiate athletics interpretation was approved,” Director Clubb said.  This interpretation finally took all question out of how athletics and Title IX related to each other.

In order for a school to comply with Title IX, participation must pass one of three prongs in the “Three-Prong Test.”  The first prong is a ratio of female and male students currently attending the school in question, and a ratio of female and male athletes.  If one ratio is larger than another, then the school does not pass the first prong.  At Drake, 63 percent of students are female, and 40 percent of female students are athletes, which means Drake University does not pass the three-prong test on the first prong.  The second test determines if you have a history of expanding your program for the under-represented population.  “Every two years or so, are you adding another sport? Are you adding another female sport until you get to this participation number in test number one?” Director Clubb said, explaining the second prong in the three-prong test.  Drake does not comply with this prong either.  The third prong, which Drake does comply with, says “Are you being responsive to the needs of your student body?”

The school must also meet requirements based on scholarships. The law states that the percentage of a gender participating in athletics must match the percentage of aid given to that gender’s athletes.  “We do not comply with the law because we offer too much scholarship to our women than to our men.  We actually don’t comply with that part of the law, and we are upside-down with it,” Director Clubb said while explaining how Drake does not comply with scholarship requirements.

Then, there is a “laundry list” that must be adhered to. It includes provision of equipment and supplies, scheduling of games and practice times, travel and per diem expenses, and many more conditions.

Many schools find that meeting Title IX requirements is more difficult than they thought.  If a school does not meet requirements, federal aid could be cut off meaning students would not attend, and the school would have to close.  This has not happened yet at Drake, but it has happened at other schools around the country.