In 1972, Congresswoman Patsy Mink authored an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The amendment, which was passed and signed into law, states that "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 law was called Title IX. The question now is whether this admirable idea has evolved into a law that is anti-male, and particularly anti-black male.
Before anyone jumps to conclusions, let me state for the record that I actively support Women’s college sports. Women’s softball is a fabulous and exciting game. Women’s basketball has improved dramatically, and now truly merits the coverage they receive on ESPN. Women’s volleyball, soccer, and several other sports are both well-played and competitive at the major college level. Unfortunately, there’s one thing they all have in common: they are utterly dependent upon Men’s football and basketball programs for their existence.
When Ms. Mink made her proposal, she did not suggest to the NCAA that the burden of funding Women’s sports should be placed on the backs of their male counterparts. But the NCAA saw an easy target in the rapidly-increasing revenues generated by Men’s football and basketball, and they took advantage of it. They started building bigger football stadiums and basketball arenas – every one of which was fitted with high-priced corporate boxes – to rake in more revenue in order to meet the compliance requirements of Title IX.
Instead of funding women’s sports through student fees (or other methods), the NCAA decided that money should come from athletic department budgets. The fact that male football and basketball players were creating the revenue and receiving none of the proceeds was beside the point. To the NCAA, the players were being well remunerated with a free college education, and the revenues they were generating were needed for the other sports. This policy became a shibboleth of the academic elite, and no one dared to challenge the established orthodoxy. After all, remember what happened to Lawrence Summers when he confronted the Women’s rights bloc at Harvard. Why rock the boat when the only ones being taken advantage of were the athletes, who “all” thought that they would eventually hit a big payday in professional sports. The fact that this pie-in-the-sky scenario never happened for most men playing college football or basketball didn’t matter. It covered the behinds of the NCAA.
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