Athletics and Title IX

What You Should Know

Title IX 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 subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Title IX protections apply to sex-based discrimination which includes gender identity and sexual orientation.

Background. Passed in 1972 to ameliorate sex discrimination in educational settings, Title IX regulations as applied to athletics opportunities, financial aid, and student-athlete treatment are complex. Intercollegiate athletic departments are expected to maintain gender equity plans that assist them in assessing compliance and correcting discrepancies. Ultimately the university is responsible for Title  IX compliance, including efforts to provide equitable intercollegiate athletics experiences.

Athletic Requirements. Title IX’s requirements of Athletics can be divided into three basic categories:

  1. Participation
    • Men and women must be given equitable opportunities to participate in university-sponsored athletics. The number and type of sports offered for men and women don’t have to be the same but there does need to be an equitable opportunity to play.
  2. Scholarships
    • Female and male student-athletes must receive scholarship dollars proportional to their participation levels in sports.
  3. Other benefits
    • Female and male student-athletes must receive equitable treatment in other aspects of being a student-athlete. This includes, but is not limited to, access to quality equipment, game/practice schedules, travel allowances, tutoring, coaching, locker rooms, stadiums, medical/training facilities, housing/dining, marketing, support services, and recruitment.

What is Considered Equitable? A university provides “equitable opportunities to participate” if it can demonstrate compliance with one of the following tests:

  1. The university provides participation opportunities for women and men that are substantially proportionate to their respective rates in the University’s full-time undergraduate student enrollment.
  2. The university demonstrates a history and continuing practice of program expansion for the underrepresented sex.
  3. The university can demonstrate that it is fully and effectively accommodating the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex.