The Bush administration announced yesterday the creation of a 15-member panel to reevaluate Title IX. The administration claims that the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics was formed to ensure that Title IX allows fairness for both sexes, while the Feminist Majority and other leading women’s groups are calling the commission the newest attempt to weaken a landmark federal law that eliminated gender discrimination in education.
Title IX, which was passed in 1972, requires federally-funded educational institutions to grant male and female students equal opportunities in academics, athletics, funding and resources. Critics claim that it has done so in the athletic realm at the expense of men’s sports. “This is quite a 30th birthday present for a law that opened numerous doors for women,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “This is law does not sacrifice one gender at the expense of another. Rather, it ensures that women and girls are afforded equal opportunities as men and boys.”
The commission will be co-chaired by former WNBA star Cynthia Cooper and Ted Leland, director of athletics at Stanford University. Other members include Donna De Varona and Julie Foudy – co-founders of the Women’s Sports Foundation – and Deborah Yow, director of athletics at the University of Maryland.