Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Why Undermine Sports for Girls?

My only question to this is....why? Why discriminate against girls? Why try to disallow one of the healthiest developments for girls of the 20th century?

A New York Times editorial today....A New Attack on Women's Sports

The Bush administration has mounted a surreptitious new attack on Title IX, the 33-year-old law that has exponentially expanded the participation of girls and women in sports.

Last month, a memo went up on an Education Department Web site that was billed as a "clarification" of Title IX regulations. But the memo amounted to a major weakening of the criteria used to determine compliance with the rule that all schools receiving public funds provide equal sports opportunities for men and women.

Under the new guidelines, on campuses where the proportion of female athletes falls notably below the proportion of women in the student body, and sports programs for women are not expanding, a college will still be able to show it is "fully and effectively" obeying the law by doing an online survey that shows women have no unmet sports interests. The department says that if the rate of response is low - as it is with most such surveys - that will be interpreted as a lack of interest.

Currently, such surveys are just one factor used on the college level to gauge interest in women's sports, along with more accurate measures, like participation rates in "feeder" high schools or recreational leagues, and the opinions of coaches and administrators. There is no similar burden on male athletes to register their interest, and surveys are a poor predictor of behavior if sports opportunities are afforded equally. The president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Myles Brand, worries that this loophole "will likely stymie the growth of women's athletics and could reverse the progress made over the last three decades."

This harmful change, made without public notice or debate, marks a dismaying turnaround. Two years ago, the administration rejected a set of hobbling proposals to alter the criteria for Title IX compliance, including a change similar to the one it has now quietly instituted. Still, there is cause for hope. The Bush administration supported the Supreme Court's important ruling in March extending Title IX's coverage to whistle-blowers who complain about a school's treatment of female athletes. A public outcry may yet persuade the administration to withdraw the new regulation.

No comments: