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October 27, 2005 - Image 24

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-27

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Title IX, 3 a.m. swim practice and the changing face of college athletics
By Megan Kolodgy I Daily Sports Editor

he min- mer athlete who wrote her doctoral disserta-
tion on women's athletics at Michigan, said.
utes wound "After that, women's games always followed
down as the the men's."
This episode occurred just before Michi-
members of gan fully instituted Title IX, a federal educa-
tion amendment to the Civil Rights Act of
Michigan's 1964 that requires gender equality in aca-
demic institutions that receive government
first varsity funding. But the revolution - which allows
today's female Wolverines equal scholarship
women's opportunities and equal access to practice
basketball facilities, uniforms and equipment that are
undoubtedly as high-quality as the men's

team clawed their way to
the finish against Louisville.
With just five points sepa-
rating the two teams, every
moment was critical.
But unfortunately for this
pack of pioneering women,
the clock wasn't winding
quite fast enough.
This game in early December of 1977 was
the first of a doubleheader at Crisler Arena,
in which the men's team was to take the floor
after their female counterparts. The experi-
ment, which was meant to drum up support
for the women's squad, did just that, but not
in the way that those who planned the event
had originally hoped.
With approximately 8:38 remaining in the
contest, athletic administrators realized that
the televised men's game could not start on
time if the women continued at their current
pace. They told the referees to speed the game
up. Five minutes later, they did what anyone
steeped in the then-male-dominated tradition
of Michigan athletics would have done.
They ran the clock.
Both teams made substitutions, took free
throws and swatted the ball out of bounds, yet
the seconds ticked by without a single pause.
The men's game began punctually, and all
was well.
"It was apparent to everyone that this was
not a good thing," said Sheryl Szady, a for-

- hardly happened as soon as the law was

Deconstructing Title IX

of Title IX.

itle IX was initially passed in
1972, and most aspects of the
legislation - including equal-
ity in college admissions and
hiring - were put into practice
without a great deal of protest.
There are several components
It addresses issues of sexual

the underrepresented sex. The third prong is
that the university must "fully and effective-
ly" accommodate the interest and abilities of
the underrepresented sex.
The loophole that the department creat-
ed this year stated that an institution could
create a survey to gauge the interest and
abilities of the underrepresented sex at the
institution and then dole out scholarships
based on the results. This was supported
by President Bush who was critical of the
"system of quotas" involved in Title IX.
Furthermore, the survey could be admin-
istered via e-mail.
Those who support Title IX were furious
at the suggestion, and quickly mobilized to
quash the clarification before it took effect.
"It's disconcerting," USA Today colum-
nist and Title IX advocate Christine Bren-
nan said. "I don't know why they tried to
do it. The good thing is that no one has ever
heard of anyone actually trying to use it.
Myles Brand, the president of the NCAA,
told universities not to use it."
According to the Women's Sports Foun-
dation, the problem with the survey method
is that it "fails to provide a valid measure of
women's interest in sports and, instead, insti-
tutionalizes the very discrimination that is
and has been the basis for women's lack of
opportunity to participate in sports."
Currently, the law remains intact and quite
similar to its original wording, which has
been controversial from its nascence.
School ties
he cast of characters in the
story of Title IX is replete with
Michigan connections, with
the lead role played by Presi-
dent Gerald Ford, a Michigan
alum and former Wolverine
football player. The support-
ing cast included such pillars of University
athletic tradition as Don Canham, a famed
former athletic director, and renowned foot-
ball coach Bo Schembechler.
Although Ford signed the bill putting Title
IX into effect in 1972, all schools were given
until July of 1978 to create a varsity athletics
program for women. Several schools in the
Big Ten - including Northwestern, Michi-
gan State, and Ohio State - managed to
put their respective programs into place well

before the deadline. In contrast, t
department at Michigan waited un
was mere months away.
It was no accident that Mic
one of the last institutions to co
Title IX. Canham, who was a
in supporting black student pa
in sports, was wholeheartedly c
providing significant, let alone eq
ing for women's athletics. His rea
at least somewhat financial, an
that, from a monetary perspec
IX would be "an absolute disast
men's and women's intercollegi
ics." He knew that women's spc
probably not bring in enough
even support themselves.
Some hypothesize that anott
Michigan was slow to support Ti
that its tradition of men's sports v
deeper, richer and more extensive
Big Ten counterparts.
"The programs that were the
succeed were the ones that had
men's teams - Northwestern,
Minnesota," former women's
coach Stu Isaac said.
It should be noted
that women's
sports at Mich-
igan existed
long before
the law2 '

harassment, equality in math and the scienc-
es, career education, access to higher educa-
tion, education for pregnant and parenting
students, learning environment, standardized
testing and technology.
But it was the bit that asked for equal
spending on athletic benefits, opportunities
and particularly scholarships that had athletic
directors around the nation begging their
senators and representatives to take a stand
against what they believed to be a ruinous
Title IX has come under more than 20
legal attacks in its 33-year history. The
most recent, and perhaps most significant,
occurred early this year, when the Depart-
ment of Education issued an "additional clar-
ification" regarding schools' compliance with
Title IX. As it previously stood, the law had.
a three-pronged test to see if the university
was fulfilling its participation requirement.
The first prong states that the institution must
have athletic opportunities for women and
men that are "substantially proportionate to
its full-time student enrollment." The second
part of the test requires "a history and con-
tinuing practice of program expansion" for

8B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 27, 2005

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