Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Title IX - Stop favoring girls over boys


Dwight Johnson’s son cannot play in a state-sanctioned volleyball tournament because he is a boy. The Colorado State High School Activities Association refuses to sanction a volleyball tournament for boys, even though it sanctions one for girls. Johnson, of Colorado Springs, is suing the U.S. Department of Education, claiming that federal efforts to protect girls have backfired on boys and caused them a lack of equal protection as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

[...]Because Title IX forbids discrimination, court decisions have upheld the clumsy use of boy/girl quotas. In using quotas to obey the law, schools have reduced opportunities for some students even though Title IX was intended to create opportunities.

Johnson’s son cannot play in a sanctioned tournament because Colorado has more state championships for boys than for girls. Establishing a volleyball tournament for boys would further tilt the balance, putting the state at risk of violating the discrimination clause of Title IX.

It is a legalistic, impoverished and creepy rationale for keeping boys from competing. Title IX was designed to ensure equal access, and a state volleyball tournament for boys would do nothing to prevent girls from participating in sports of their choosing. No one has argued that a state tournament for boys would eliminate an athletic opportunity for girls, just that it would skew boy/girl statistics.

Courts have upheld quotas because at the college level one man’s opportunity can, indeed, mean a distribution of wealth that reduces a woman’s opportunity. That’s because colleges trade in limited scholarships to attract the best athletes. If too many go to men, too few go to women.

But that formula isn’t at play in public school athletics, where athletic participation is driven by choice and not by the distribution of scholarships. In an environment of free choice, in which reasonable opportunities are established for girls and boys, quotas merely serve to discriminate. As argued in Johnson’s meritorious lawsuit, quotas in high school sports may counter the intent of Title IX by reducing opportunities for athletes on a basis of gender. We hope Johnson’s lawsuit helps to change that.


  1. I understand the (hopefully) honest and well-meaning intents of politicians who instituted gender and race quotas, but they seem to have a habit of backfiring and denying opportunities to others.

    Reminds me of the white firefighters that were denied promotions because the ratio of white-to-minority firefighters qualifying for the promotions in the district would be higher than the target.

    I think it's all rooted in the same fetishism that produced zero-tolerance policies. There is no room for variation, no room for forgiveness, and we must maintain rigid control.

    Encourage our girls to pursue whatever career appeals to them, encourage them to participate in school sports and ensure they have the same opportunities available to them...but for god's sake, don't deny other people the same opportunities, even if it means (GASP!) there are more boys' tournaments. So what if there are?

  2. It really is a moot point because it all is done out of the fear to get sued. Maybe the law has to be changed in some ways to prevent this.

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