Title IX

1972 Education Amendment

Federal Law

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities.  

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Equal Opportunity

The scope of Title IX is very broad and extends beyond sports to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex in all aspects of education.

Title IX’s protection applies to ALL educational programs:  elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities and extends to ALL aspects of these institutions programs and activities.  

Although the original legislation does not specify athletics, Title IX is best known for barring discrimination against women in college sports.

Equal Opportunity

Underlying the regulation is the principle of Equal Opportunity.  

The Department of Education considers many aspects of sports to determine if there is Equal Opportunity: equipment, scheduling of games and practice times, travel, coaching, recruiting, tutoring, locker rooms, training facilities, housing and media publicity.  

Senator Birch Bayh, one of the drafters of Title IX legislation stated

"Equal opportunity for young women and for girls in the educational system of the United States of America. Equality of Opportunity. Equality. That shouldn't really be controversial."

But almost fifty years after the drafting of this landmark legislation, Title IX remains one of the most controversial aspects of college sports today.


Enacted almost fifty years ago, Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in all aspects of an educational institution.  While the original statute made no reference to sports, the law has primarily been utilized with athletic programs where metrics of participation are clear indicators of potential discrimination.

Title VI - Civil Rights Act (1964)

Federal law prohibits race-based discrimination in education


Title VII - Civil Rights Act (1964)

Federal law prohibits sex-based discrimination in employment


Title IX - Education Amendments Act (1972)

In 1972 Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Federal law prohibits sex-based discrimination in education.

Read More June 23, 1972

Tower Amendment (1974)

Senator John Tower tried to exclude "revenue producing" sports from Title IX


Javits Amendment (1974)

Senator Jacob Javits unequal spending for different sports permitted if receiving same educational experience  


Equal Opportunity (1975)

Factors include: equipment, scheduling, travel, coaches & compensation, locker rooms, practice times, training facilities, housing and publicity


NCAA vs U.S. Dept. HEW (1976)

NCAA filed lawsuit against U.S. Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) to challenge the validity of of Title IX.  NCAA lost the lawsuit and started to govern women's athletics in 1982.


Policy Interpretation (1979)

Clarify the meaning of "Equal Opportunity" - guidelines include: financial assistance, facilities, equipment, scheduling, coaching, travel, publicity, housing and recruiting


Grove City vs Bell (1984)

Supreme Court ruled Title IX only applied to programs or activities that directly recieved federal funding.  

Four years later, Congress passed Civil Rights Restoration Act (1988) to extend Title IX protection for indirect recipients of federal funding.


Civil Rights Restoration Act (1988)

Congress passed Civil Rights Restoration Act (1988) to extend Title IX protection for indirect recipients of federal funding.


NCAA Gender Equity Task Force (1992)

NCAA created task force to evaluate gender equity in college sports.  NCAA Gender Equity Study indicated 70% of intercollegiate participants, 77% of athletic operating budgets and 83% of recruiting funds spent on men's athletics.


Franklin vs Gwinnett Public Schools (1992)

Supreme Court ruled that Title IX plaintiffs could recover monetary damages and attorney fees for intentional discrimination.


Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (1994)

NCAA mandated all member institutions disclose participation and spending for intercollegiate athletics annually.


Commission on Opportunity in Athletics (2002)

President Bush appointed commission to study Title IX which reaffirmed the law.  But in 2005, Dept. of Education issued a clarification that participation needs could be met by using an email survey.


Rescinded Email Survey (2010)

President Obama rescinded President Bush's 2005 email survey clarification.


Three Prong Test

To accomodate the interests and abilities, educational institutions must provide the opportunity for male and female athletes to participate in competitive sports.  An institution’s compliance is measured by three prongs:

  • Proportionality
  • History of Expansion
  • Interests and Abilities

Participation Opportunities Proportional to Enrollment:  Ratio of male and female athletes is substantially proportionate to the ratio of male and female students at an institution

History and continuing practice of expanding athletic opportunities for the underrepresented sex

Effectively accommodate the athletic interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex

Legal Cases

NCAA vs U.S. Dept. of Health, Education & Welfare (1976)
NCAA challenged the validity of Title IX - Supreme Court upheld Title IX

U.S. Supreme Court

Grove vs Bell (1984)
Attempt to exclude athletic departments from Title IX - limit application to educational department that directly receives federal funds

Cohen vs Brown University (1984)
"Interests and abilities rarely develop in a vacuum; they evolve as a function of opportunity and experience."

Breaking Barriers

Opponents contend that Title IX unfiarly imposes quotas on college sports and force Universities to cut men’s teams to remain in compliance.