The Scrapbook believes that -everybody’s little girl should have an opportunity to play soccer and strongly favors women’s athletics, in all its myriad forms, in America’s colleges and universities. As supporters of Title IX like to point out, fewer than 30,000 women participated in college sports when Title IX was enacted nearly 40 years ago, and that number has since increased sixfold. The Scrapbook thinks this is great—but that is not what Title IX is really about. And a news story and editorial in last week’s New York Times illustrate a problem that seems to be a political third rail.
Here’s the money quote from the Times editorial: “As women have become a majority on many campuses, some schools are trying to evade Title IX and undermine the goal of gender equality [Scrapbook’s emphasis] by cooking the books when they report statistics to Washington.” The example is given of the University of South Florida, which established a 100-man football team in 1997 and, in the words of the Times, “in an effort to comply with Title IX,” increased “the number of women on its cross country running team . . . from 21 to 75. . . . In 2009, when the school reported 71 members, records showed that only 28 women had ever competed.” Such practices, concludes the Times, “are cynical and might be illegal. Congress clearly needs to tighten the reporting standards, so that schools are required [to] tell the whole truth about their athletic teams and their efforts to ensure gender equality.”
Once again, The Scrapbook emphasizes that the operative word here is “equality,” not “opportunity.” For there is no evidence, offered in the Times or elsewhere, that any woman anywhere in American higher education is being denied the right to participate in sports because of sex discrimination. What Title IX and Congress and the New York Times are demanding is not equality of opportunity but equality of numbers—an artificial numerical parity between men and women. This is required by the federal government even though men participate in college sports at significantly higher rates than women, and even as women now outnumber men on American campuses.
And the consequence, of course, is sex discrimination—against men. Because schools have to report statistics that reflect “equality,” hundreds of colleges have abolished various men’s sports—wrestling, diving, crew, swimming, and innumerable others—in order to reduce the number of male athletes to “equality” with their female classmates. At some institutions, for example, there may be women’s diving teams but not men’s diving teams—thanks to Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination.
If this strikes readers as bordering on lunacy, fear not: It is as crazy as it sounds and has resulted in taxpayer-subsidized federal lawsuits against such consciously progressive institutions as Brown University, where they have desperately sought to comply with Title IX’s bizarre requirements. And to avoid public excoriation by the likes of the New York Times when they seek (as the University of South Florida seems to have done in good faith) to expand athletic opportunities for all students.
The problem, of course, is twofold: Women resolutely refuse to be as interested in sports as men—despite every effort, including legal coercion, to alter human nature—and even the mildest criticism of Title IX results in loud accusations that the critic would gleefully deny little girls the chance to play soccer or tee ball. Well, enough of that. The Scrapbook believes that every woman should be able to play whatever sport she wants to play—and that Title IX, in its present incarnation, is precisely the sort of federally mandated craziness that undermines public confidence in government.
Charlie Sheen doesn’t often prompt The Scrapbook to quote Latin aphorisms, but his recent appearance in Washington, D.C.—a stop on his nationwide Violent Torpedo of Truth tour—reminded us of the ancient question, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (Who will guard the guardians)? Charlie, you see, was late arriving at Dulles airport in Virginia for his show at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, and so Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department provided him and his entourage with a multivehicle/flashing-lights/80-mile-an-hour escort for the 26-mile journey into town.