Sunday, September 05, 2004

Title IX bad for Olympic athletes

Andy writes this letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Your Aug. 29 editorial on U.S. women at the Olympics, "A summer of memories and medals," and a follow-up letter to the editor dated Sept. 4, pretend that Title IX has enhanced our competitiveness.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Title IX regulations impose quotas on schools, requiring them to eliminate men's teams until the ratio of men to women athletes is comparable to their overall enrollment. Our most competitive athletes have been replaced by less interested ones. Scores of men's track, swimming, diving, wrestling and other teams have been eliminated in favor of easy-to-learn sports like women's rowing, water polo and horseback riding.

The results are predictable. No men's team (other than rowing and relays) won a gold medal in Athens. We failed to win a single diving medal for the first time ever. Our overall medal share was the second-lowest at any Olympics we have ever participated in. Since the Title IX quotas were imposed in 1979, our medal share has fallen far below our historic levels.

Women athletes have been hurt too. Only six women could win individual golds, and all were the product of private clubs. The impoverished athlete has almost no chance to win an individual gold medal anymore. Mark Spitz's and Greg Louganis' original college teams have been eliminated. Title IX quotas ensure that our declining medal share goes mostly to club athletes who have the money and support to train outside of school facilities. Even women gymnastic teams have been replaced at schools by women's crew, simply because the latter is easier to attract neophytes to.

The Olympic spirit is to give the gold medal to the best competitor. Our Title IX funding should be distributed the same way to restore our historic competitiveness and opportunity.
Title IX wouldn't be so bad if it were implemented as Congress intended. It is not clear that Congress wanted it applied to athletic programs, and it certainly didn't want quotas.

Lonnie responds:
As a high school principal for six years, I was responsbile for upholding the law, including the vaunted Title IX. I never eliminated one male athletic program during that time, nor did any of my fellow principals, nor have they since those years. There was never a quota, just the ridiculous argument that women would not rally to the newly formed women's programs because there was no evidence that they were interested in them.

What we discovered, of course, was that women soon flocked to the athletic programs in which they could now participate. As any fair-minded educator would tell you, the main force suctioning off resources from men's athletic programs was and is football and (to a lesser extent) mens' basketball, which indeed made it difficult for other sports to flourish, including women's.

All my (3) daughters participated in high school varsity athletics, as did my son. Title IX afforded them opportunities unavailable to previous generations. Those opposed to Title IX when it was enacted often felt genuinely aggrieved that women might try out for men's sports and create mixed gender teams they found appalling (never happened!) Or they honestly didn't see the clamor among girls for athletic opportunity (history has proved them wrong wrong wrong).

Those opposed to Title IX today are just gender bigots. Period.

Thanks for your thoughtful if misguided response, Mr Schlafly. I read the article of your namesake, Phyllis, also of Eagle Forum, making the same absurd claim that Title IX caused our NBA stocked Olympic basketball team to lose the gold medal, as well as other men's teams. Men's athletic programs nationwide, as you must know, have increased lo these past 30 years.

Oh, hell, I doubt you've read this far, since your goal is merely to put your propoganda into the Inquirer so it can counter the truth of my letter, so this little citizen and dad will stop.
Andy responds:
I read your response carefully. "Gender bigots"???? Don't make me laugh. There is nothing "bigoted" about objecting to the Title IX quotas that have been imposed on colleges, and are now beginning to be used against high schools. Men at Howard University lost their baseball team because of it, while women can obtain full college scholarships in sports in which they have no experience (e.g., rowing). Once people wake up to what is going on, they recognize the absurdity of it.

You omit when you were high school principal, and your other observations are outdated. Not only have numerous men's track, swimming, diving, wrestling and other sports been eliminated to meet senseless Title IX quotas, but women's teams like gymnastics have been eliminated also in favor easy-to-learn sports like rowing and water polo. The Title IX quota police are only recently taking their agenda to high schools. One high school case is before the US Supreme Court right now.

Nearly all the individual Olympic winners developed their skills in clubs, not in public schools. That's great for those who can afford the clubs. Title IX quotas are an abysmal failure at producing excellence, though it is unlikely its supporters care.

If you support allocating sports funding based on excellence and motivation, then you'll oppose the Title IX quotas.

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