17.11.04

A CAMPAIGN PROMISE TO FULFILL. Eric Pearson notes that the Republican platform envisioned reform of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, the quota law that has made college sports more expensive. The newly nominated Secretary of Education might be a roadblock.

Conservatives had reason to hope when the same language for Title IX reform made it into the GOP platform at the New York convention. If Margaret Spellings is in fact nominated to be secretary of education, the coaches, and many others fear their hopes will be dashed.

The questions that senators should put to her at the confirmation hearing are straightforward and deserve candid answers:

  • As secretary of Education, what would she do to eliminate proportionality — the onerous gender quota that would be tolerated nowhere else in American public life?

  • Would she endorse the enforcement of proportionality on high-school teams, which would then require the elimination of over 1 million boys from sports activities just to satisfy a 50-50 gender ratio?

  • Would she offer any regulatory relief to administrators at the historically black colleges who currently struggle with an ever-widening gender imbalance favoring females at a rate of 65 to 70 percent?

    Meanwhile, in what is becoming an annual ritual at virtually every school, men's athletic teams are on the chopping block again. Over 100 NCAA men's teams were eliminated last year alone. The termination of more programs is a certainty: School officials reason that only by making their athletic departments exactly "proportional" to their entire undergraduate student body can they protect themselves from government investigation and trial lawyers.

    This practice doesn't benefit women in any way, mind you — it is just about making the numbers fit. In sports such as track and swimming, men and women train together, so eliminating male teammates has a negative impact on female performance. Just ask any women's swim coach without a men's counterpart how difficult it is for her to recruit top athletes to her program.

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