Title IX, the law that guarantees equal treatment at American universities


In this business, you often hear that it is easier for girls to obtain an athletic scholarship in the United States. In this article we’re going to dismiss such theory or, at least, explain why it is so widespread.

Forty five years ago, the Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 was passed. According to the NCAA’s official site, this is what the provision states:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

In other words, American institutions have been ensuring equal treatment for over four decades. There’s always a person or group within the staff that thoroughly monitors whether the law is being met or not. They shall chase down any wrongdoing. For instance, here’s Baylor University’s stance on the issue.

What if I go to a private university?

Per the NCAA, private entities must also abide by the rules stemming from Washington D.C.

Athletics programs are considered educational programs and activities. There are three basic parts of Title IX as it applies to athletics:

  • Participation: Title IX requires that women and men be provided equitable opportunities to participate in sports. Title IX does not require institutions to offer identical sports but an equal opportunity to play. E.g. Washington State offer women’s tennis, but not men’s.
  • Scholarships: Title IX requires that female and male student-athletes receive athletics scholarship dollars proportional to their participation.
  • Other benefits: Title IX requires the equal treatment of female and male student-athletes in the provisions of:
    • Equipment and supplies
    • Scheduling of games and practice times
    • Travel and daily allowance/per diem (meal money)
    • Access to tutoring
    • Coaching
    • Locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities
    • Medical and training facilities and services
    • Housing and dining facilities and services
    • Publicity and promotions
    • Support services and
    • Recruitment of student-athletes

Then, why does the scholarship limit for a Division I women’s soccer team stand at 14, whereas only 9.9 are available for their male counterparts? In tennis, the disparity is even greater, an 8-to-4.5 ratio.

The key behind these numbers is the existence of football. The NCAA pockets in hundreds of millions from television companies in exchange for the rights to broadcast the games. College football is a gold mine for each university too. Thus, FBS schools can offer up to 85 football scholarships per season, staggering sum considering the fact only 11 players are simultaneously on the field.

Women’s football doesn’t exist as a collegiate sport, hence these 85 scholarships are distributed among whatever disciplines are offered for females at each university.

Since here in Europe we do not have football studs, the theory that it is easier for girls to attain an athletic scholarship in the US is quite popular. While it’s partially true, it comes with an asterisk named Title IX, the law that fosters gender equality in America since 1972.

P.S. If your kid is good at soccer, you should have him practice at kicking a football from a young age. The University of Oregon has two punters and three kickers on the roster. I’m just saying. Look at the odds.

Test: Pablo Mosquera Pérez