Title IX and Intercollegiate Athletics: When Schools Cut Men's Athletic Teams
Charles P. Beveridge   |   1996 U. Ill. L. Rev.

After Congress enacted Title IX in 1972, colleges and universities began to offer comparable facilities and programs to women interested in intercollegiate athletics. Women's athletic participation more than doubled in the fifteen years following the enactment of Title IX. Beginning in the 1990s, however, colleges and universities have faced serious budget constraints that have forced them to cut athletic funding. In the face of Title IX requirements prohibiting discrimination in school athletic programs, many schools have chosen to eliminate men's sports programs while sparing women's sports programs. Although most lower courts have supported athletic departments which have made such choices, the author contends that such an approach conflicts with Congress' intent when it enacted Title IX and violates Supreme Court precedent regarding equal protection. The author argues that courts should interpret Title IX in a manner that focuses on whether opportunities available to female athletes in a given college or university reflect the proportion of female students willing and able to participate in intercollegiate athletics. This interpretive approach would more fully accommodate the interests of both men and women, while simultaneously satisfying the requirements of the Equal Protection Clause.