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The Daily Tar Heel

Title IX limits variety

Equal opportunity legislation has a major downside

The introduction of gender equality legislation in 1972 changed the landscape of collegiate sports. Title IX was a groundbreaking attempt to ensure that women would have the same opportunities as men, academically and athletically. Its success was paramount to the advancement of women’s rights in the United States.

But it has also had an unfortunate side effect — the elimination of men’s teams in order to achieve Title IX compliance. Since Title IX was enacted, more than 400 men’s sports teams have been cut nationally, including previously successful teams.

This is not to say that Title IX forces schools to eliminate programs, nor does it mean that women have more opportunities than men. The complex bill and the U.S. Department of Education’s subsequent regulations ensure both genders have equal opportunities when it comes to travel, equipment, facilities and so forth. And many of the regulations are based on participation at large, not the number of programs themselves.

Many of the issues with Title IX at the collegiate level are found in football. From a numbers standpoint, big football programs count for many of men’s athletic opportunities.

There is no comparable women’s sport to football in terms of participants. Thus, most schools offer more women’s sports to compensate; at UNC, there are 14 women’s sports and only 12 for men.

Schools deserve the right to treat revenue-generating sports, such as football and basketball, at their own discretion regardless of gender participation. After all, UNC football made nearly $10 million in profit last year alone. And a lot of that money goes to fund UNC athletics — both men’s and women’s sports.

Sports that make up the foundation of funding for entire athletic departments should be discounted from the Title IX formula. These sports help ensure that both men and women will have the opportunity to play on sports teams in the first place.

If regulations allowed us to maximize opportunity and satisfy everyone’s interest by providing a few more opportunities to revenue-generating sports, athletic programs across the country would be able to offer a greater variety of sports to men and women.

It’s worth the trade.

Contact Meredith at

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