Thursday, March 01, 2007

More Media Misinformation

A recent editorial in Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, NH) takes issue with proposed federal legislation that would require high school athletic departments to report gender equity data. The editorial's argument goes like this: If high schools had to report gender equity data, this would improve Title IX compliance, which would be a bad thing because Title IX takes opportunities away from men and boys. To back up this latter claim, the editorial reports:
From 1982 to 2002, colleges eliminated 1,400 men's teams, a loss of 57,000 positions for male athletes. Meanwhile, schools added 2,000 women's teams, creating 51,000 new opportunities for women, according to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
Regardless whether colleges have actually eliminated 1400 men's teams and 57,000 positions since 1982, this figure is meaningless because it does not reflect the number of men's teams and positions that were added during that time. Contrary to the inference this editorialist is making, there was a net increase in the number of opportunities for collegiate male athletes between 1982 and 2001. The U.S. Department of Education's Commission on Opportunities in Athletics reported that men had 152,ooo opportunities in college sport in 1982 and 209,000 in 2001, a net increase of 56,948. High school boys' participation increased as well, from 3.7 million to 3.9 million. The General Accounting Office confirms that male athletes are doing just fine notwithstanding Title IX, reporting in 2001 that the overall number of intercollegiate men's teams has increased by 36. Particular sports (including wrestling, tennis, and gymnastics) saw declines in the number of teams, but these losses were outnumbered by gains in the number of teams in other sports (like soccer, baseball, and basketball). Like the government, scholars and advocates also report that men's athletic opportunities have increased overall in the Title IX era.

Men have not lost out under Title IX. Men still receive the majority of athletic opportunities and scholarship dollars. It is a shame that the media continue to perpetuate myth and misinformation about Title IX.

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