Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post 36 years of Title IX

Monday June 23, 2008

Title IX is 36 years old today. For some football fans, it’s the law that is the root of all that’s wrong with the world. But without it, the Georgia campus probably never would have been graced with Teresa Edwards, the Gym Dogs, Kristy Kowal, or any of the other outstanding female student-athletes we’ve known.

The law itself is pretty simple:

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.

The current landscape of intercollegiate athletics is, for better or worse, built on the sturdy shoulders of that law. Various judicial and executive interpretations have combined to give us the current guidelines, and it’s still very much a politically active topic. Teams and scholarships have had to be added, removed, and balanced in this modern nod to the Missouri Compromise. Though the opportunites opened for women have been tremendous, Title IX hasn’t come without its costs or friction.

It’s interesting to read that "NCAA President Myles Brand (suggested) that unisex teams could be the wave of the future for intercollegiate athletics." You’re starting to see more and more of this measuring against the men, and we’re not just talking about Michelle Wie. The WNBA’s Atlanta Dream is running an ad in which a young girl in a playground game shows she belongs by throwing an elbow at a male opponent. But when it’s still big news that a 6’4" woman can dunk a basketball, the idea of unisex teams still seems a little ridiculous, doesn’t it?

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