Beginning some time shortly after the end of World War II, there has been tremendous growth in womens athletics. For decades female athletes have been striving to become as equally respected as their male counterparts. After years of reaching for their goals, female athletes finally realized their dreams in the form of Title IX. As stated by Jim Minter, former editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Title IX is the federal government telling colleges and universities that if X number of athletic scholarships are given to males, then an equal number must be awarded to female students(AJC A14). Title IX, a United States federal law passed in 1972, was a milestone in the history of the womens rights movement. Female athletes could at last have the same opportunities that male athletes had always had. But this is not the end of the story, nor does the story have a happy ending. There is a darker side of Title IX, a side that discriminates against male athletes.
A good example of discrimination against male athletes involves the sport of wrestling. Not only is wrestling the oldest sport known to man, it is also an American tradition. If the average person in the South were asked to name his favorite wrestler, however, that person would probably blurt out the name of some phony professional wrestler. Why would this person be so ignorant about the oldest sport known to man? The reason is that Title IX has virtually wiped out collegiate wrestling in the South. Starting back in the late l970s, SEC schools began dropping their wrestling programs to make room for more womens sports. Today there are only five or six colleges in the South that still have wrestling programs. This lack of wrestling programs in the South has significantly decreased the opportunities for ex-high school wrestlers, like me, to continue their sport in college. Wrestling , however, is not the only mens sport affected by Title IX; the overall diversity of mens collegiate sports has also decreased.
At the University of Georgia, there are ten womens sports and only seven mens sports (Footballs A14). Although I am not a math major, this ratio seems anything but equal to me. Women are getting more opportunities to compete in the sports that they enjoy than men are. Consequently, there are more scholarships available for women. For example, a good female volleyball player has a virtual cornucopia of college scholarships available at her discretion, whereas a great wrestler must look to colleges in the North to have even the slightest chance of attempting to walk-on a team. Why are women receiving more scholarships than men, when there is supposed to be an equal number of scholarships? The answer lies of another part of Title IX, which says, in the words of Minter, that if the student population is 30 percent female, or 50 percent, or whatever, womens sports must be allocated a corresponding percentage of athletic dollars(Footballs A14). In other words, the higher the percentage of women that attend a college, the more scholarships that college will award. But where does this scholarship money come? The scholarships given to female athletes are not supported by the individual sports in which the athletes compete. The money comes from the college or university athletic program, and the fact is that mens sports provide the majority of the money in that athletic program.
In most colleges and universities in the South, football and mens basketball teams produce most of the money that goes into the athletic program. Although these two sports earn their keep, they are also responsible for supporting the minor sports in which their school competes. The majority of minor sports are womens sports. I do not understand why women should have the right to receive money from the profits of mens sports while certain mens sports no longer exist because of womens sports. It seems to me that Title IX has resulted in more damage than benefits to athletics.
Perhaps Title IX began as a way to help women become the best that they can be in athletics, but it has resulted in adverse effects on mens sports. I do believe that women should have the same opportunities as men to compete in college sports, but only as long as men are treated with the same respect and fair-mindedness. Title IX has gone beyond womens equality and has slipped into discrimination against men.