Of all the distortions of

Of all the distortions of fact presented by the opponents of Title IX reform, the most offensive is probably the claim that the present Title IX enforcement regime is responsible for the success of women’s sports in this country. This week, for example, we heard that the big showdown between the women’s basketball teams of Duke and the University of Connecticut would not be taking place but for the current Title IX regime. And, in 1999, after the U.S. women’s soccer team won the World Cup, liberal pundits (and the many sportswriters who wish they were liberal pundits) claimed that this victory was the product of Title IX, and cited it as an argument against reform. This claim was sickeningly reminiscent of what we used to hear from countries like East Germany and Romania after notable sports accomplishments by their athletes (“we thank our beneficent leader for conferring this great gift on our people”). However, as the Weekly Standard pointed out at the time, most of the members of the 1999 Cup-winning team were world class soccer players before the Clinton administration began its quota-style enforcement of Title IX. Indeed, most were well on the way to becoming stars before they ever reached college, having developed their skills in grassroots programs in which the federal government had no role. In large measure, the success of women’s sports in this country is the result of the same thing that has produced nearly all great successes here — the efforts of individual citizens (in this case mostly women) at the grassroots level — and it should be insulting to women to suggest otherwise. This is not to deny that Title IX may have helped. But there is no reason to believe that, going forward, women’s soccer and women’s basketball would suffer at all if Title IX were repealed. Nor is there any reason to believe that rigid quota-style enforcement of Title IX has ever contributed to the success of women’s soccer, women’s basketball, or women’s athletics in general.

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