Friday, October 19, 2007

"Served its purpose"?

A writer at the Corvallis Gazette-Times believes that Title IX "has served its purpose" and it's time to stop penalizing male athletes--especially football players--and find a better way of enforcing the law.
Speaking to the specifics in Oregon, primarily Oregon State and Oregon, writer Kevin Hampton suggests football get a waiver from Title IX because it requires so many players and there is no female equivalent. The waiver idea is not new, of course, it has been around just as long as Title IX itself and was wisely never implemented. Why? Because intercollegiate sports are not supposed to be a business. They are part of the larger educational experience. And selectively applying a law that is meant to ensure equity in education isn't really equity at all. (Also, by Hampton's rationale, we would have to exempt field hockey which, in the United States, has no male equivalent.)
Not surprisingly, we also get the "but football makes money" argument. The numbers support this claim as it applies to OSU. It appears that football brings in more money there than it costs. But of course this is not universally applicable--it does not even apply to a quarter of Div I football programs, a fact Hampton overlooks. Football is rarely "foot[ing] the bill" for other teams; most often it is taking more than its fair share.
We also have to remember that, as Professor Nancy Hogshead-Makar has said, the actual expenses numbers are not subject to the same general accounting practices as those in the business world because athletics has a tax-exempt status. So, for example, the costs of stadium operation are not factored into team expenses.
Hampton, thankfully, recognizes the cultural bias against women's sports and does not advocate for Title IX's elimination because it would result in decreased opportunities for women. But in his pitch to "reform" the law he perpetuates almost all of the myths we just cannot seem to shatter.

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