Wrestling with Title IX
Latest update: November 5th, 2006
Please be sure to check out SavingSports.org for the latest news on college sports' revival despite judicial misinterpretations of Title IX... Meanwhile:
list of college wrestling programs dropped since 1972
(when the otherwise noble Title IX was enacted), and here's a list
added varsity non-club college / university teams.
Have you seen how the Bush Administration has helped wrestling survive through restoring the Executive Branch's interpretation of Title IX more to its original Congressional intent? For details, please click here.
Did you know that President Bush invited the 2001 & 2002 NCAA championship-winning University of Minnesota wrestling team to the White House?
seen how many colleges have either reinstated or officially added wrestling
during the past year, alone? Well over a dozen. Feel free to
for the details.
"In the past 15 years, wrestling is eighth on the list of most-dropped
NCAA programs, at 121 teams. Cross country leads at 183, and indoor track
(180), golf (178), tennis (171), rowing (132), outdoor track (126) and swimming
(125) have lost more than wrestling in that time....In January, faced with
a budgetary decision, the University of Findlay converted men's and women's
hockey to intramural sports and spared wrestling. Five institutions, including
Utah Valley State College in NCAA Division I, will start wrestling programs
The College Sports Council is suing the
General Accounting Office for reporting Title IX damage to men's athletics
in a very misleading, minimalistic manner. Here's the
Washington Times article: Wrestling has WON with the new Title IX reform... Perhaps this was the victory that wrestling needed, even if our sport's recent Title IX victory is being kept rather quiet for politically pragmatic reasons prior to the 2004 elections?
the Bush Administration has come out with its final guidelines regarding
how it will interpret Title IX.
For the latest on the amateur wrestling, track, swimming and gymnastics communities' lawsuit against the U.S. federal government regarding Clinton's proportionality interpretation of Title IX, please click here and also visit SavingSports.org.
Education Secretary Paige's Commission on Opportunity
in Athletics held public hearings nationwide on proposed reforms to Title
IX: proportionality. For more information, please visit
Washington Times.com article: Since 1979, the number of Division I programs has declined from 152 to 86. Division III programs declined from 150 to 100 during that same time. Overall, there were only 229 wrestling teams to chose from last year.
Of all the high school sports nationwide, boys' wrestling presently has the sixth highest total (244,637) of participants (according to the 2002 Participation Survey press release linked from here). There are a quarter of a million high school wrestlers despite the relatively lower popularity levels of indoor sports in states with warmer weather. Anyhow, elsewhere we have read that that's a record high quantity for humanity's oldest (and arguably its toughest) sport.
Meanwhile, here's an article about the Bush Administration's having worked so hard to put Gerald Reynolds in charge of Title IX implementation...
A high profile feminist and former athlete who happens to be the chief
speech-writer for U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft strongly opposes
what "Title IX: proportionality" has done to wrestling. Ms. Gavora
recently spoke on Title IX: proportionality's chaotic consequences (past
& future), the subject of her brand new book. This took place
at the Independent Women's Forum in Washington D.C. on May 7th, 2002. Here
Is it a surprise that on January 16th, 2002, the National
Wrestling Coaches Association
a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education on behalf
of alumni from many universities now lacking wrestling programs?
Title IX's a good law but its surprising "proportionality"
application during recent years has destroyed many wrestling teams withOUT
really boosting athletic opportunities for women. Is this desirable?
Perhaps for the first time ever, a college wrestling team was recently invited to visit the White House. As the picture suggests, misinterpretations of Title IX are probably going to be increasingly on people's radar screens now that they're on President Bush's. Title IX is a highly worthwhile law, but interpretations of it during the 1990's were never intended by Congress, and likely don't make anyone happy as far as humanity's oldest sport is concerned.
Encouragingly enough, as the latest women's college amateur wrestling rankings from TheMat.com, as well as other news at the InterMat´s ever-expanding women´s amateur wrestling site suggest, gender equality regarding college participation in amateur wrestling is gradually starting to emerge. It stands to reason that more and more women would now consider wrestling as an athletic endeavor. After all, self-defense sports are becoming increasingly potentially useful due to the USA's record-setting $5.9 trillion dollar national debt, which is straining law enforcement budgets nationwide like never before. College wrestling already attracts among the largest crowds of any college sport except for football & basketball. With increased active female involvement, this will probably only improve. Meanwhile, though, eliminating more men's college programs until equality takes place does not seem to favor our sport for either gender. As this list of college wrestling programs dropped since 1972 demonstrates, although Title IX has very noble gender equality goals, it has nevertheless done ENOUGH damage to NCAA wrestling. Several hundred college wrestling teams have vanished since Title IX went into effect in 1972, even though amateur wrestling is among the 6 most popular sports in terms of participation at the high school level. How could women (let alone men) possibly want this outcome regarding practically the only sport that does not discriminate on the basis of blindness, deafness, amputee status, size, gender or race?
Let´s hope that Mr. Rod Paige, the Bush Administration's impressive new head of the Department of Education, will recognize the importance of sports that have been severely damaged by the new proportionality interpretation of an otherwise noble Title IX. The following February, 2001 NCAA article lays out what we can seemingly expect on the road to reform. Although we did not succeed at curtailing the Clinton Administration´s Title IX: proportionality tantrum at the U.S. Supreme Court level, fortunately one of our country´s two major political parties nevertheless seeks to help remedy the callous killing of secondary male sports. Please support political candidates willing to save college wrestling if you want today´s and tomorrow´s youth (of both genders) to be able to benefit from such a relatively equal-opportunity, and amazingly character-building sport. Our elected officials need our votes and support, and want to at least appear to be responsive too.
In the mean time, the non-profit club team league NCWA also continues to persevere and grow. Please visit the National Collegiate Wrestling Association's page at: http://www.ncwa.net and learn about the several dozen college "club teams" that are duking it out from coast to coast. If you feel up to it, please send an informative e-mail about the NCWA to some of the athletic departments at schools currently lacking wrestling teams. By doing so, you could help set off a domino effect and this Title IX article will finally become useless. Here is a free directory of college homepages: http://www.scholarstuff.com .
Moving along, the disproportionate damage that Title IX has caused to men's athletics is remarkable, as the July 30th, 1997 report issued by the Joint Task Force to Protect Wrestling demonstrates. Indeed, as stated by Clay McEldowney, former chairperson of the Friends of Princeton Wrestling organization, the NCAA released a survey of 742 NCAA schools revealing that from 1992 until April of ´97, such schools have gained 5,009 female varsity athletes while having simultaneously lost 17,009 male ones. Why should the USA continue losing 3.4 male athletic positions (not necessarily scholarship-related ones, either) every time it ads merely ONE female athletic position in its collective roster?
One need not look any farther than the hundreds of men's wrestling teams that have been exterminated since 1972 to realize that something really sad is happening. As the Washington Post's page exclusively dedicated to Title IX suggests, these are very difficult times for men's amateur sports at the college level.
The Clinton Administration's bureaucrats' clarification (i.e. dictation) regarding the otherwise noble Title IX of the 1972 Higher Education Act states that a school is in compliance with gender equity laws only if the percentage of women participating in athletics is equal [within 5%] to the percentage of women making up the student body. This test is known as "proportionality". It is unlike the former interpretation of Title IX that the pre-Clinton Department of Education applied. The new test:
1) calls for the use of primarily quotas to determine if colleges (and soon
even high schools) are in violation of Title IX. Such quotas are not
related to female interest in sports at a particular institution. They
also don´t consider the fact that of the high school seniors who
choose to participate in varsity athletics, 64% are male and 36% are female.
These quotas are based merely on the percentage of each gender in a college's
(and soon a high school's) student body. The two genders' comparative
interest in participating in sports is essentially ignored;
2) ignores the 1972 congressional intent, which was to provide equal opportunity for both men and women who are interested in participating in college athletics. The goal was always to expand opportunities for females, BUT NOT by destroying the athletic opportunities of males just because females at their particular school choose not to fill up the existing (but vacant) female varsity roster positions. There are ALREADY about 7,000 male teams and 7,000 female teams at the college level, and males walk-on at twice the percentage of females. Why don't females choose to first fill the existing rosters before asking for STILL MORE teams to be established at the expense of male walk-ons?;
3) TOTALLY IGNORES:
a) recent Supreme Court precedents, as well as lower federal court ones, saying that arbitrary quotas are not sufficient to prove the existence of discrimination. (Hopefully schools interested in appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court won't be discouraged by The Court's refusal to hear the Ivy League's Brown University appeal of its hotly-contested Cohen case. The Court only has time to hear about 1% of the appeals put before it, and it is typical for the Supreme Court to want to wait for more than one lower court case to come before them. They want to choose a factually clear cut case which generalizes a national problem or trend that is CLEARLY bugging a LOT of people. While the Supreme Court's decision not to become involved in the Cohen case seemed to send a signal of approval of the gender-equity law, it did NOT establish a legal precedent. Other universities, therefore, may continue interpreting the law as in previous years. Meanwhile, if we organize at the grassroots level we'll eventually be more likely to get an audience in Washington D.C. Please click here if you're willing to put forth just 15 minutes of your time to help save wrestling.)
As future appeals to The Court will surely state, why should school enrollment ratios be used as the primary test for discrimination, instead of participation ratios? Females have spent lots of money conducting lots of Title IX studies but not one shows that there is any relationship between a school's enrollment ratios and its comparative interest in participating among the two genders. The most obvious reason why there is no relationship is because almost all athletes, even at the Division III level, are recruited from the high school ranks (where sports are more popular among boys than girls). Should men's opportunities be eliminated just because they're more than twice as likely to walk-on to college teams? If somebody can truly demonstrate a relationship between these two ratios, then PLEASE show us the study. Otherwise, though, isn't the test unconstitutional?
b) requests by Deputy Whip Congressman Dennis Hastert (IL) to:
1) count unused roster spots on female teams as participation opportunities for women when complying with (now former) U.S. Dept. of Educaion director Norma Cantu's quota; and
2) specify acceptable surveys to measure the athletic interests and abilities on a campus.
Essentially, here is what would need to happen before colleges could obtain the "proportionality" between men's and women's athletics programs at the college level....Presently there are about 190,000 male athletes and 110,000 female athletes, participating on a nevertheless equal quantity of teams. In the wake of budget cuts, proportionality with the 14 female sports (and their corresponding 110,000 participants) would essentially have to be obtained by completely eliminating nearly a dozen MALE programs on the national level. Those programs include: Wrestling (6,500 participants), Swimming (7,500), Soccer (15,000), Track O (16,000), Track I (18,000), Gymnastics (500 participants), Fencing (800), Lacrosse (5,000), Ice Hockey (3,500) and Volleyball (1,000). Eliminating these men's programs would leave five male sports (Baseball, Tennis, Golf, Basketball and Football) along with a little over 100,000 male participants. Then there would finally be the so-called "equity" between men's programs and the comparable quantity of females who opted to go out for a sports team. (Please remember that males "walk-on" at twice the rate as females.).
If these numbers have to be the same under the Ed. Dept.'s new proportionality quota interpretation of Title IX, how do college wrestling's 6,000 or so participants get spared from extinction? Illustrating the injustice, amateur wrestling is very popular at the high school level, but also disproportionately endangered because female interest in the sport is so relatively low. Wrestling suffers at the feet of social engineers in Washington D.C. even though it is apparently the only sport that doesn't discriminate against people on the basis of blindness, deafness, amputee status, size, or gender. Nevertheless, even though back during the early 1970s there were nearly 9,000 wrestlers on 400 college teams (according to an Associated Press article), participation in the sport has since declined substantially.
Wrestling should be treated as a "sacred cow" for its inspirational non-discriminatory nature, and not punished for its relative health and popularity among males at the high school level. Such popularity is substantial, by the way. At least during the late 1990's, more than 220,000 high school wrestlers compete on 8,500 teams, making wrestling the sixth most popular sport at the high school level. The above figure represents an increase of almost 2,000 high schools since the early 1970s, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. Its popularity is probably increasing more than ever in this new age of rugged individualism and law enforcement budget cuts, too. Of those 220,000 high school wrestlers, 1,000 are female.
We really would be wise to SUPPORT WOMEN'S WRESTLING PROGRAMS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Nothing would be better than to have more women willing to identify with our loyalty to humanity's oldest (and best?) sport. However, although women's amateur wrestling is finally catching on at the college levels, please keep in mind that female wrestling programs likely won't reach the level of participation and female-interest that would be required before we could finally salvage and replenish jeopardized (and already destroyed) men's wrestling programs. It's well worth a try, though, and it's encouraging to see the many advances that are taking place, as noted on the ever-expanding InterMat´s women´s wrestling site. Meanwhile, praise is warranted each time we notice a significant female wrestling breakthrough such as that of Collegiate High School's female 119 pounder (Sunny Clemons ), who became the first female ever to win a match in Virginia's independent high schools state tournament.
Meanwhile, in returning to the quotas issue, please keep in mind that capping rosters of the equilibrium-tilting sport of men's football would merely prompt affected coaches to simply dump ambitious walk-ons. Not one penny would consequently be saved for helping the females. Would anyone care to dispute any of these claims? This article's author is very much a feminist, but nevertheless disagrees with some women's callous "OH WELL!!!" responses to wrestling's forced decline. Indeed, even the feminist academician Camille Paglia fairly recently stated at a Princeton sports debate that the Ed. Dept.'s latest efforts are a misguided interpretation of feminism. "It does not do feminism any good to create this kind of backlash. Women's liberation cannot be achieved upon the smoking ruins of men's traditions." Nevertheless, some still reply with question-begging (i.e. assuming what they're trying to prove) by saying existing (but un-used) places on female rosters would be occupied IF only women had more role models. An interesting assertion......
The data strongly suggests that sufficient seeds have already been sewn to ensure the appropriate level of prosperity of women's athletics. IF women REALLY WANT such programs to do well, they possess the power to actively control their destinies. First, equity between the quantity of roster opportunities ALREADY exists. The potential financial support is there, too. In fact, today nearly half the U.S. businesses are owned by women, and the rate of female ownership is growing 3 times faster than male ownership (Source: John Naisbitt, author of best sellers such as Megatrends 2000, and Global Paradox). These impressive, energetic and non-fatalistic female entrepreneurs are productive individuals who tend to view micro-managing civil rights efforts as not only degrading to women, but also as tax-wasting, and self-perpetuating for D.C. bureaucrats. Impressively enough, they also couldn't care less about the rather irrelevant "glass ceiling" that the D.C. bureaucrats cite when trying to keep the tax dollars flowing into their parasitic paycheck fund. The significance of this pet "glass ceiling" is greatly diminished by the fact that the Fortune 500 accounts for far less than a mere 10% of the U.S.A.'s Gross Domestic Product. Over 90% of the U.S. GDP is produced OUTSIDE of the Fortune 500, and female-owned businesses are already doing their part to put the Fortune 500 in its less-prominent place (without demeaning, and divisive, quotas).
The U.S.A.'s recent Olympic success demonstrates just how much parity between men's and women's athletics already exists. In Sydney, like in Atlanta, women accomplished a GREAT deal to help the U.S. pull ahead of the rest of the entire world. This is the case despite the fact that even today in the divisive "politically correct" era which has also encouraged women to ignore virtually all gender barriers, 64% of the HIGH SCHOOL seniors who CHOOSE to participate in varsity athletics are male, while merely 36% are female. Men still "walk-on" to college sports teams at over twice the rate as women. Does the Ed. Dept. think that the "Nature versus Nurture" debate has suddenly been resolved? Does anyone really think that further social engineering by D.C. bureaucrats will produce anything other than a net loss in the amateur sports movement?
We can effect positive changes, but expect no e-mail reply from militant people working to perpetuate (and continue profiting from) the status quo. Instead, everybody PLEASE e-mail your local member of Congress and persuasively ask for their position regarding the Dept. of Education´s "proportionality" approach to Title IX. Find out if they're in favor of the Ed. Dept.'s "proportionality test" that's killing amateur wrestling (etc.) across the U.S.A. If that doesn't get you a response, then feel free to call them. You can find all sorts of information about your elected officials at either www.Senate.gov or www.House.gov.
Signs of progress already exist. The Ed. Dept.'s micro-managing helped the opposition party Republicans maintain control of the House and the rest of Congress for the first time in nearly a century. Additionally, thanks to hundreds of phone calls and letters, and an impressive cyber-rally, the University of Massachusetts: Lowell and the University of Massachusetts: Bridgewater were at least temporarily spared from the Title IX "anti-discrimination" guillotine. Also, Federal Courts in both California and Texas (the two largest states) have fairly recently ruled against the use of quota-based discrimination. California residents have also overwhelmingly voted for a Constitutionally-sound measure ending quota-based discrimination. Nevertheless, the onslaught against wrestling is far from over. Even men's baseball (Wisconsin, and Colgate), football (San Francisco State, etc.), lacrosse (Michigan State) and swimming (UCLA) have suffered the same destiny as many now extinct wrestling programs.
Additional future steps should probably include collaboration with the the non-profit National Collegiate Wrestling Association. The rapidly-growing NCWA facilitates intercollegiate competition at the club level. Each regular season culminates with an N.I.T. (National Invitational Tournament) tourney which could eventually feed its most successful competitors into each year's NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, the NCWA's page documents the progress we're making in converting club teams into NCAA-sanctioned ones. It's reassuring, but it's also frustrating having to keep worrying about Title IX´s new proportionality interpretation along the road to recovery.
Meanwhile, it couldn't hurt to seek the NCAA's official sanctioning of dance and aerobics as NCAA regulated sports. We already consider activities like figure skating, gymnastics, ski jumping and diving to be sports, rating performances with numbers. Why not dance, and aerobics (which attract women in droves)? Please don't assume your pleas to women involved in these activities will necessarily fall upon deaf ears, because lots of women resent the proportionality interpretation of Title IX too.
In conclusion, any victim of gang violence can attest to the dangers that can result from eliminating youth sports programs, but now there's serious talk of doing so even at the high school level, in the name of Title IX´s new proportionality interpretation. The Ed. Dept. has to obey the president, so please always vote to save college wrestling if you want today´s and tomorrow´s youth to continue being able to benefit from the only sport that does not discriminate on the basis of blindness, deafness, amputee status, size, gender or race.
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