Trunk, my second opinion

isn’t much different than my first. I’m certainly not an expert on this issue. And the fact that those who are, on both sides, seem so sure that the Bush administration has “caved” (or”backed-off”) gives me pause. But the pieces that you link to, Trunk, don’t persuade me that there has been “a total sell-out on Title IX.” The administration has repudiated the notion that Title IX compliance must be determined by a proportionality (or quota) test, under which the proportion of females playing intercollegiate sports at a college must approximately equal female representation in the student body. This, I had thought, was the central demand of those pushing for reform (see for example this piece by Jessica Gavora that we posted last winter). Now, as Dafydd ab Hugh pointed out, colleges can satisfy the bureaucrats by showing either that there is “proportionality” OR that they have a history of expanding sports programs for women OR that they are accommodating the interest and ability of female students. As I understand it, interest surveys can be used to make the final showing, and schools are specifically discouraged from dropping male sports programs in order to comply with Title IX.
It seems to me that this clarification allows the government to judge Title IX compliance in a manner that enables colleges to restore rationality and fairness to the system. I suspect that, given what’s happened in the last decade, most colleges can show both a history of expanding sports programs for women and a practice of accommodating the interest and ability of female students.
The rub, of course, is that government bureaucrats are still doing the judging. This means that, whatever the standard, they can find that a college is not complying. And the prospects for restoring a large number of men’s sports programs that have disappeared may not be good. As I noted in this blog, the best approach would have been to let colleges run their sports programs as they see fit until it is proven that real-live students of one gender who genuinely want to play intercollegiate sports have less of an opportunity, as a group, to do so than similarly situated students of the opposite gender. But this was never going to be the outcome of the review.
So until I read a more thorough analysis than is provided by the two pieces linked to by Trunk, I’ll have to stick with my first opinion, while reserving the right to form a third opinion if necessary.


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