Title IX “May the odds be ever in your favor”

If I asked the question, who do you think has it easier when it comes to earning a college scholarship, a HS female athlete or a HS male athlete? Anyone, anyone…Bueller? Bueller? (Ok, I’m showing my age now)…anyhooo, yep, you guessed it. I would go with the “female” answer. Why? First, a story…When  my first daughter was born I made my obligatory calls to all close friends and family members to announce my little princesses arrival and delivered all the relevant deets, you know, height, weight, wing span 😉 ok, maybe not wingspan. Anyhow, when I called my best friend from HS and said “John, It’s a girl!” he paused…“Kelty, you know it’s easier for a girl to make the Olympics then a boy!” Thunderbolt moment, I thought, he’s right! Yep, he’s a former Division I college cross country runner, as was I. Title IX. Here is what I found from the U.S. Department of Education.

Question: What is Title IX?

Response: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.

The Title IX regulation describes the conduct that violates Title IX. Examples of the types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include sexual harassment, the failure to provide equal opportunity in athletics, and discrimination based on pregnancy. To enforce Title IX, the U.S. Department of Education maintains an Office for Civil Rights, with headquarters in Washington, DC and 12 offices across the United States.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. Title IX and Sex Discrimination.

Hmmmmmmm, “equal opportunity in athletics…” well, that’s just awesome. I did some data digging through NCAA docs and found some interesting numbers. In 1971 the number of HS females participating in HS sports was 294,000. In 1972, the year Title IX went into effect, the number of female HS athletes jumped to 817,000! Holy Smokes! Many families saw Title IX for what it is, OPPORTUNITY. What better way to get into a better college and possibly for free! Just because I am awesome at Field Hockey, Crew, Golf, Soccer, Hoops, Dance, Badminton, Swimming, Bowling, Drill, Water Polo…yes, ALL of these sports qualify for college scholarships for females. Crazy right? Anyhow, now look at these digits…

Total number of Girl participation verses Boys by %:

1972 18% 817,000
1973 24% 1,300,000
1975 29% 1,645,000
1977 32% 2,083,000

Slow climb yes…Fast forward to 2011…

2011 42% 3,207,000

Wow, well, if you torture the numbers enough they’ll say whatever you want them too! What they say to me is, glad I have 3 female athletes! The opportunity for females is tremendous. From what I can discern, if Title IX requires gender equity in athletic scholarships, and, per the numbers above, it’s roughly a 60 / 40 split between boy / girl HS athletic participation. Yet, college scholarships are equal. Meaning, if you’re a dedicated HS female athlete, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” (Hunger Games) Ok, my daughters made me read it 😉

Last story, and it’s true. In my little town, several years ago, we had two very talented twins, a boy and girl. Both great kids, hard-working, both GREAT hoops players, legends in our town. Same parents, same financial support, same work ethic, same personal trainers etc etc etc. Looked up to by all the kids in the community. Really impressive to say the least. Both came from the same environment. Yet, when both were looking at colleges, the girl earned a DI scholarship to one of the most prestigious schools in the country. Her brother, a great player too, went DIII to a solid school. Point of the story, the girl was dealing with 40% competition from her female class while her brother was dealing with a 60% competitive rate. Moral of the story…it pays to be a lady with mad hoop skills. Giddy-up!

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