Out in Left Field: Title IX sports program outlives its usefulness

I've played sports all my life.

A major reason I was able to play through high school and college was because of Title IX.

And I'm thankful for that, I am.

But the law has outlived its usefulness.

The Bush administration formed a commission to vote on whether or not changes should be made to the law.

The proposal to make changes was rejected by the commission.

It shouldn't have been.

Title IX was created to ensure gender equality in federally funded programs.

When it first came into existence in the early 70's, it did wonders for women's sports.

The amount of females participating in sports both at the high school and collegiate levels grew exponentially since the inception of the law.

But that growth has slowed down.

It's not a struggle anymore for females to play sports.

And while that is due to Title IX, so is the fact that it is becoming a struggle for males to play certain sports.

According to a story by the Associated Press, approximately 400 men's programs were cut from colleges during the 90's.

The hardest hit of all men's sports is wrestling.

Colleges across the country have dropped wrestling programs.

Very few conferences can boast a flourishing wrestling program.

The wrestling world was hit so hard that the National Wrestling Coaches Association filed a lawsuit.

U.S.

national wrestling coach Dan Gable told the AP, "I just want to make sure that all sports have a chance to survive."

Unless something in Title IX changes, wrestling may be one of the first sports to die.

Title IX is supposed to ensure equality.

But equality costs money.

And unfortunately, it's not the women's sports that are bringing that money in – the men's sports are.

But the men's sports are suffering now.

The bottom line is that women's sports need men's sports to survive.

At every university across the country, the majority of the money the athletic department takes in comes from football and men's basketball.

Even at Tennessee, where the women's basketball program is one of the top two programs in the nation and has been for several years, where coach Pat Summit is arguably the best coach in the history of women's basketball, even there, the women's program depends on the mediocre men's program to get by financially.

The reason for that is people, in general, don't pay to see women's sports.

They pay money to see the men play.

There are a few exceptions like Univesity of Connecticut's women's basketball team or, on a professional level, Venus and Serena Williams.

Part of the reason a lot of people don't watch women's sports is because, in general, it's boring.

I'm a huge sports fan.

I'll sit on my couch and watch any college basketball game that's on.

It usually doesn't matter who's playing, I just love to watch basketball.

But I can't watch a women's game.

It's the same with hockey.

I'd wager that I am the biggest hockey fan in this town, but I didn't even watch the women's gold medal game in the Olympics between the U.S.

and Canada.

Men's sports is where the money is coming from, yet now, that is what Title IX is hurting the most.

I'm not calling for the abolishment of Title IX.

That's not necessary, but the law needs to be adjusted.

Changes in the requirements or standards of Title IX aren't going to kill off women's sports.

Women's sports will still be around.

If we're not careful, there are some men's sports that won't.

Arianne Scarnecchia is a sports writer at the Miner.

She can be reached at 753-6397, ext.

229 or via e-mail at ascarnecchia@kingmandailyminer.com