Phyllis Schlafly

The Olympic games are in full swing with the finest athletes in the world. The sine qua non of the Olympics is unlimited competition that yields record-breaking feats.

Should the gold medals be divided equally among the participating countries? Of course not, nor should money be allocated equally to everyone who shows up.

Yet that is what Title IX regulations impose on our schools and colleges. Our teams suffer as a result, robbing many athletes of opportunities to develop the skills needed for great achievement.

Contrary to the intention of Congress, Title IX is used to impose gender quotas on high schools and colleges. They must equate the ratio of males and females in sports programs to their overall enrollment.

When there are more women than men in a college, as is now typical, Title IX regulations mandate that women outnumber men by the same ratio on its competitive sports teams. Consequently, across the United States at every level, schools have eliminated men's teams solely to meet the quota set by total enrollment.

This has forced, for example, Howard University to eliminate men's teams such as baseball in order to reduce the overall total of male relative to female athletes. Meanwhile, women's sports that use large squad sizes, such as rowing and horseback riding, are sprouting up at many colleges.

Title IX has compelled colleges to eliminate hundreds of teams having large male squads, such as wrestling and track. At the same time, colleges are offering full-ride scholarships to women with no experience in sports that are easy to learn, such as crew.

Despite the claim that Title IX helps women athletes, it has actually caused the elimination of traditional girls' teams such as gymnastics in favor of easy-to-recruit sports such as water polo or horseback riding. Title IX caused the reduction of women's gymnastics teams from 190 to only 90, and as a result U.S. girl gymnasts were unable to win a single medal at the 2000 Olympics.

In mandating outcomes of gender equality, Title IX violates every principle of athletic competition. Simply to meet quota targets, dedicated, hard-working male athletes are cut from their teams in favor of females who are here today and gone tomorrow.

Since Title IX was interpreted in 1979 by the Carter administration to require quotas (under the code word proportionality), our percentage of Olympic medals has repeatedly declined (not counting 1984 when top medal-winning countries boycotted the games). In 2000, our share of medals fell to its lowest ever for Olympics that the United States attended.

Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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