Title IX: fake it till you make it?

Today, The New York Times published an article by Katie Thomas about colleges relying on deception to fulfill Title IX requirements. Secrets unveiled, there is a lesson to be learned here.

Opalocka, Florida April 22, 1948

In 1972, at the climax of the women’s rights movement, Congress passed Title IX banning gender discrimination in any federally financed education program. Over the next 40 years, the number of women athletes rose 500 percent. But as female enrollment increased, colleges have struggled to field the number of female athletes proportionally. According to a review by The New York Times of public records of twenty colleges and universities and an analysis of federal participation statistics from all 345 NCAA Division 1 institutions, “many are padding women’s team rosters with underqualified, even unwitting, athletes.”

Roster management came under scrutiny last year when a federal judge ruled that Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University violated Title IX by requiring that women cross-country runners join the indoor and outdoor track teams so they could be counted three times and by counting players, then cutting them a few weeks later.

The Thomas article explains that more than half of the 71 women on the University of South Florida cross-country team never ran in a race in the 2009 season. In fact, some of them didn’t even know they were on the team. In another case, it was found that fifteen fencers on the women’s practice team at Cornell were actually men. Texas A&M and Duke’s women’s basketball have also reported male practice players as female participants through a loophole.

Thomas quotes Donna E. Shalala, the president of the University of Miami, who said “Those of us in the business know that universities have been end-running Title IX for a long time, and they do it until they get caught.”

Title IX was supposed to change everything about women’s athletics at colleges and universities, and for a while it seemed like it had. When has gender equality become a burden? Apparently now.

It’s articles like these that make me wonder what college sports has come to. Yes, college athletics is a business but the lying and cheating has been taken to a new level. In my last post, I explained that when you’re caught, you’re caught; just admit it. These institutions need to take responsibility for scamming the system. The phrase “fake it till you make it” doesn’t apply in this situation. There are ways to meet standards without breaking the rules. Long story short, when you lie and cheat you’re going to get caught; so just don’t do it. But if you do cheat and get caught, take responsibility. If you fake it, you’ll never make it.

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