An Overview of Title IX
In 1972 Congress passed the Educational Amendments. One section of this law, Title IX, prohibits discrimination against girls and women in federally funded education, including athletic programs. As a result of Title IX, women and girls have benefited from more participation opportunities and more equitable facilities. Women who were under 10 when Title IX passed have much higher sports participation rates than women who grew up before Title IX. Fifty-five percent of the "post-Title IX" generation participated in high school sports, compared to 36% of the "pre-Title IX" generation.35 Because of Title IX, more women have received athletic scholarships and thus the opportunity for higher education than would have not been possible otherwise. In fact, many women Olympic athletes credit Title IX for the opportunity to attend college through athletic scholarships and to participate in sports.36 In addition, because of Title IX the salaries for coaching women's teams have increased.
But the progress women and girls have made under Title IX falls far short of gender equity. From the start, the implementation of Title IX has been subverted.
Title IX passed with little controversy in 1972. Soon after Title IX passed, however, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and high school administrators complained that boys' sports would suffer if girls' sports had to be funded equally. Regulations about how to implement the law were not released until two years later, and these regulations did not go into effect until July 1975. Even then, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) did not enforce the law. Few complaints were investigated and resolved.
Under Presidents Reagan and Bush, enforcement of Title IX came to a halt. First, the agencies in charge of enforcing the law - the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and later the Department of Education - dragged their feet. Then, in a 1984 decision, Grove City v. Bell, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted Title IX. In that ruling, the court said Title IX did not cover entire educational institutions - only those programs directly receiving federal funds. Other programs, such as athletics, that did not receive federal funds, were free to discriminate on the basis of gender.
But women's rights groups fought back. Four years later, over Reagan's veto, Congress passed the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988. This act nullified the effects of the Grove City v. Bell ruling by outlawing sex discrimination throughout an entire educational institution if any part of the institution received federal funding. In addition to the Act, the OCR publicly renewed its commitment to ending gender discrimination, calling Title IX a "top priority," and publishing a "Title IX Athletic Investigator's Manual" to strengthen enforcement procedures.
In February of 1992, in the Supreme Court further (Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools) held that victims might be awarded monetary damages in sex...