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Title IX Shifts Gender Balance in Sports Recruiting

Constance Chien ’10 & Jesse Heussner ’11
Features Editors

Thirty -eight years after the enactment of Title IX, which sought to ensure equality in educational opportunities, the act continues to be relevant in the process of recruitment that affects Staples students every year.

Some teachers believe that the act has been effective.

“I’d say their recruiting process was pretty much on par,” girls varsity basketball coach and guidance counselor Ed Huydic said, referring to the recruitment of male and female athletes. “And depending on what kind of sport they play, there is always an opportunity for a student athlete to be seen somewhere at some point so that they can show their schools.”

Huydic, who advises both male and female athletes, has seen a significant improvement in the female recruitment process throughout the years.

Thanks to Title IX, or the Equal Opportunity in Education Act, colleges are required to provide the same opportunities for both boys and girls in recruiting. While the law has been in effect since 1972, questions regarding this so-called “equality” have been raised for a number of years.

“The basic paradigm of sports in America favors male sports,” girls lacrosse coach and history teacher Cathy Schager said. “You can legislate things, but that isn’t actually going to trickle out.”

On the other hand, when the statute was enacted, it appeared that female sports were favored. This was so due to the number of scholarships that had to be provided to females in a short amount of time to ensure compliance with the law.

Boys track and cross country coach Laddie Lawrence observed this tilting of the balance towards female athletes during the 1970s, and he said he had seen less than spectacular females being recruited from Staples. He has also seen colleges cut or redirect funds from male sports in order to ensure that male and female sports had equal amounts of funding.

“Football has no female equivalent,” Lawrence said, commenting on the fact that because of this fact, one male sport will often have to be under-funded in order to provide equal funds to both genders.

However, other students believe that these measures have indeed ensured equality in collegiate sports.

“Title IX has done a great job in providing equal opportunities for men and women in NCAA sports,” Rachel Upton ’10, who was recruited for rowing, said.

“At Staples, there simply are less female athletes who are at the D1 collegiate level, or less who are interested in playing a competitive collegiate sport,” Upton said.

Recruited athletes Paul Chandler ’10, Jack Ambrose ’10, and David Speer ’10 agreed.

“For the most part, the sports offered at colleges have both a men’s and a women’s team,” baseball recruit Speer said. “I don’t think there would be any reason for a discrepancy.

However, Schager expressed a different opinion.

 While she agrees that there is “more egalitarianism at the college level,” she concludes that “March Madness for men just isn’t the same as March Madness for girls.”

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