Title IX

1972 Education Amendment

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."

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

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.

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

Equal opportunity to participate in sports


Enacted almost forty years ago, the scope of Title IX is very broad encompassing 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.

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: ratio of male and female athletes is substantially proportional to the ratio of male and female students at the institution

Expansion: history and continuing practice of expanding athletic opportunities for the underrepresented sex

Interests: accomodating the athletic interests of the underrepresented sex

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.


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