At least two members of the Bush Commission on Opportunity in Athletics reviewing Title IX plan to submit a minority report, charging that the Commission’s recommendations to the Department of Education could negatively impact millions of women and girls. The minority report will be submitted by commissioners Julie Foudy, captain of the US National Women’s Soccer Team, and Donna de Varona, an Olympic gold medallist in swimming, though other commissioners may join them, according to the Associated Press. Foudy especially criticized the recommendation to use interest surveys to determine the levels of opportunity on a given college for men and women, saying that these surveys would effectively “freeze discrimination in place” and reduce access to athletic opportunities for women, the AP reports. Judith Sweet, a National Collegiate Athletic Association vice president, told the Times that “some of the recommendations on the table have the potential of institutionalizing discrimination against women. I think it’s very unclear to all of us what’s going to happen with the report, and how it is going to be used.”
A draft of the Commission’s report on Title IX, published in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, ignores the continuing lack of participation opportunities and funding that women’s and girls’ athletics face in favor of recommendations that will increase males’ participation in athletics. Title IX is the 1972 law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education, including athletic programs. The Commission suggested several sweeping changes to Title IX enforcement that could effectively eviscerate the gains women and girls have made in athletics.
The Commission will present its final report to the Department of Education tomorrow. The report submitted by Foudy and de Varona will not be part of the group’s official report in the public record, Education Secretary Rod Paige told the New York Times.
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