A group representing various college coaching groups recently announced plans to sue the U.S. Department of Education over the way it enforces Title IX.
The Bush administration convened a Commission on Opportunity in Athletics to examine Title IX enforcement, but then ignored the commission’s findings. So the College Sports Council is headed back to court with a two-prong legal strategy.
First, it wants an appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit it filed challenging the Department of Education’s Title IX enforcement. THat lawsuit was thrown out by a District Court in June. That lawsuit challenges a Clinton-era interpretation of Title IX that many coaches blame for the elimination of men’s sports across the country.
Second, the group is filing a lawsuit challenging the Bush administration’s January 2003 decision not to repeal that interpretation of Title IX.
At issue is the Clinton-era interpretation which requires the male-female ratio in sports to approximate the male-female enrollment level in the college. This has been difficult to achieve at many schools without simply eliminating sports (with sports like wrestling and gymnastics taking the biggest hits). As women continue to be disproportionately represented in colleges and universities, this will become a bigger problem in coming years.
The group also claims that the Department of Education is using Enron-style accounting in claiming that since 1980 a total of 36 additional men’s teams have been added across the country. The Department of Education points to that result to back up its claims that Title IX enforcement hasn’t harmed men’s sports.
The College Sports Council points out that this is fallacious since the newer data include 134 additional schools that were added to the Department of Education’s survey after 1980, which backs up the group’s point that colleges are shedding men’s teams at a rather high rate.
Groups to fight over Title IX enforcement. Ben Feller, Associated Press, August 14, 2003.
Coaches Launch Renewed Legal Challenge to Title IX Enforcement. Jim McCarthy, College Sports Council, August 15, 2003.