Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Title IX and the new male minority on campus.

John Tierney is writing about Title IX. (TimesSelect link.)
Suppose you’re the head of a school whose students belong to two ethnic groups, the Alphas and the Betas. The Alphas get better grades and are more likely to graduate. They dominate the school newspaper and yearbook, the band and the choir, the debate team and the drama club — virtually all extracurricular activities except for sports.

How much time would you spend worrying about the shortage of Alpha jocks?

Not much — unless, of course, the Alphas were women, the Betas were men, and you were being sued for not complying with Title IX. Then you would be desperately trying to end this outrageous discrimination.

When Title IX was enacted in 1972, women were a minority on college campuses, and it sounded reasonable to fight any discrimination against them. But now men are the underachieving minority on campus, as a series by The Times has been documenting. So why is it so important to cling to the myth behind Title IX: that women need sports as much as men do?
Good question!

Much of the material from the column that you can't reach without a NYT subscription comes from this article: "The New Gender Divide: Small Colleges, Short of Men, Embrace Football."
Officials at small colleges say that adding football raises campus morale and alumni contributions and gives an institution exposure in local or statewide media. But the biggest attraction remains football's ability to bring in male applicants....

At Utica College in upstate New York, which fielded its first football team in 2001, Mike Kemp, the coach, reaches out to the sons of working-class families who might not otherwise attend college.

"Hockey, lacrosse and tennis players, they all have money and 1,500 SAT scores," said Mr. Kemp, who brings about 70 players a year to Utica. "Those kids are going to college somewhere. But I come across high school football players from blue-collar backgrounds, and as seniors in high school, they're not sure what they're going to do. They're considering a college here or there. But if you give them a chance to keep playing football, then they get motivated to come."...

[Few] institutions adopting football said they were trying to show Title IX compliance through proportionality. They were relying on other options, which allow them either to demonstrate that they are accommodating the athletic interests and abilities of women or to exhibit a consistent expansion of opportunities for women....

Donna Lopiano, chief executive of the Women's Sports Foundation and a former college player, coach and administrator, said the trend toward small colleges adding football teams did not raise Title IX concerns by itself.

"But it accentuates the problem," Dr. Lopiano said. "Because Division III schools are already not in compliance. That was true before they started football." She added that colleges had an obligation to do more than conduct surveys, arguing that the creation of women's teams would lead to the recruitment of women in the same way it does for men.
I've got to run, as I'm doing a presentation at noon today. More about that later. In the meantime, I thought you'd like to discuss this. I'll try to add more commentary later. Perhaps by vlogging! Anyway, you folks can get the discussion started without me.

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