Sunday, November 6, 2016

Title IX and Athletics

Title IX is part of the Education Amendments of 1972 and is enforced by the Office for Civil Rights.1 The amendment protects people from sex discrimination in educational programs or activities that receive Federal funding from the Department of Education.1 Athletics programs are considered educational programs or activities and must comply with Title IX. The law applies to athletics in the areas of participation, scholarships, and other benefits.2

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For an institution to be in compliance with Title IX, men and women must be provided equitable opportunities to participate in sports, although identical sports do not have to be offered.2 Institutions may provide male and female student-athletes with opportunities for participation that are substantially proportionate to their respective rates of enrollment of full-time undergraduate students.2 Also, for institutions who are not currently in compliance with Title IX, the institution may demonstrate a history and continuing practice of program expansion for the underrepresented sex, or fully and effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex.2 Essentially, institutions whose enrollment is largely comprised of females will need to provide more opportunities for females to participate than male students, and vice versa.

Title IX also requires that male and female athletes receive athletic scholarship amounts that are proportional to their athletic participation.2 This does not mean that the same amount of dollars must be awarded to male and female student-athletes, just proportional amounts.2 For example, football and volleyball are basically counterparts when it comes to fall sports but a football roster is much larger than a volleyball roster. Therefore, dollar amounts would not be the same for the two sports due to the difference in roster size.
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Male and female student-athletes must also receive equal treatment in the areas of equipment and supplies, scheduling of games and practice times, travel and daily allowance/per diem, access to tutoring, coaching, locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities, medical and training facilities and services, housing and dining facilities and services, publicity and promotions, support services, and recruitment of student-athletes.2 Equal treatment in these areas again refers to proportionate facilities and services. The football and volleyball comparison can also be used with this regulation as a football player requires more equipment than a volleyball player does.

Compliance with Title IX is assessed through a total program comparison.2 In other words, the entire men's program is compared to the entire women's program, not just one men's team to the women's team in the same sport.2 Males and females can participate in different sports according to their respective interests and abilities.2 Thus, broad variations in the type and number of sports opportunities offered to each gender are permitted.2

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 aims to end sex discrimination in federally funded institutions. The legislation affects athletics by requiring scholarship amounts, participation opportunities, and other benefits to be proportionate to enrollment and athletics participation. This ensures that individual sports are treated fairly and equally. This is also why compliance with Title IX is assessed by comparing entire men’s and women’s programs and not individual sports.


1U.S. Department of Education. (2015, April 29). Title IX and Sex Discrimination. Retrieved from

2National Collegiate Athletics Association. Title IX Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from

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