Monday, August 25, 2008

Title IX and the Olympics

You knew we wouldn't make it through an Olympics--even a highly successful one for the United States--without hearing about Title IX threatening the future of Olympic sports. This article in The Wall Street Journal is not entirely condemning of Title IX, but it does leave open the potential inferences by readers that cuts to men's Olympic sports happen because women's sports are "protected" by Title IX. Maybe we should go ask the female fencers at JMU how protected they felt.
The United States is all about medals--or at least that's the impression we get from watching the television coverage. We won the medal race this time around (but not the gold medal race--China got that one). There has been a lot of discussion over why the US track and field team did not perform as well as expected. But funding these sports at the college level is not a commitment schools are making. And with little state support, why would there be an expectation of success? Success will come to those who can pay for it as privatization takes over.
Lisa Love, athletic director at Arizona State University, which has recently gone through the cutting and backlash experience, said cuts are dictated by what the market wants. I guess if the market wants football it shouldn't complain about medal counts every four years.

PS If you're looking for the even less nuanced, factually incorrect version or you're just in the mood to get really ticked off, you can read Phyllis Schlafly's version of how Title IX hurt the US Olympic Team and how China benefited from not having to deal with all this "feminist nonsense."