I don’t imagine Sports Illustrated or espnW will be inclined to get into this at all during their rhapsodic celebrations of Title IX, but there are those who believe the law needs to be re-evaluated after 40 years — and even reformed.
And, contrary to what you may hear, they are not all people who hate women’s sports, or who wish for Title IX to go away.
The Independent Women’s Forum has trotted out this analysis of what it calls “Title IX’s Mid Life Crisis” with some suggestions to retool the sports regulations back to the original intent of the law. That’s a clever and apt title for what those of us critical of the interpretation of the law believe is a good law with antiquated provisions.
There are some sensible ideas here, and last year I devoted posts here and here for specific ideas. Changing course is necessary not just to diminish the harm caused to some male athletes in certain sports, but also to reflect the current status of female college athletes now, and not 30 years ago.
However, I do wish the IWF, which is a conservative organization, would cool it with partisan dog-whistle language. It’s not because I consider myself fairly liberal. I’m no fan of proportionality, but insisting on using “quota” will not engender a wider reception of its ideas.
The IWF and the American Sports Council use the “q” word like sports feminists gripe about the “patriarchy.” After a while, it gets tiresome, as entrenched battle lines harden and opposite sides tune one another out. Like so much of American political “discourse,” the rest of us feel left out.
Americans, male and female, support the intent and spirit of Title IX, and they support it overwhelmingly — for academics, athletics and everything else the law was meant to address. Those who believe the implementation of the law as it pertains to sports has gone wrong need to make a very compelling case for why the regulations need to be revised.
Given what they are up against, the task of cutting through the dogma and uncritical cheerleading needs to be as broad-based as possible.
The IWF gets it mostly right, but not quite.