Title IX keeps things fair at NKU

To help society acknowledge that women and men should have equal rights, Title IX, which grants equal opportunities to both men and women, was passed in 1972.

According to the Gender Equity Report, “Title IX is the portion of the education amendments of 1972, a federal civil rights statute that prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs that receive or benefit from federal funding.”

Title IX is best known for the changes it has brought about in sports offered to both women and men.

In 1971, the first athletic team at NKU was the men’s basketball team. Basketball became the first women’s sport in 1974.

“Yes, Title IX does affect the university. With the university being very young, we are much more in compliance than other schools,” said Nancy Winstel, women’s basketball coach.

NKU is also more compliant with Title IX than other schools because of the number of sports offered at the university.

“Not having too much or too little makes it easier to comply,” Winstel said.

Throughout the years Title IX has helped to balance the sporting teams between men and women.

Title IX does not only help women in sports; it also corrects discrimination in the university and the work force.

“I think it [Title IX] helps the university, not just athletics,” said Jane M. Meier, athletic department director. “It was passed because of issues dealing with pay salaries and access to medical and law school.”

Before Title IX became a federal statute, women were paid substantially less than men while working the same job. Meier explains that, in past years, approximately 2 percent of women who applied were accepted into medical school. Today over 5 percent of the women who apply for medical school are accepted.

“Title IX helps females and professionals,” Meier said.

The statute has also helped the university to add sports for womento their curriculum.

“NKU has added women’s soccer in 1997, golf 1998 and a softball field in 2000,” Meier said.

It was a result of Title IX that the university decided to build an intercollegiate softball field where the team could practice. Winstel said that NKU wasn’t in full compliance because the softball team practiced on the intramural fields until a new field was built. According to the Gender Equity Report, “NKU has also secured a $500,000 endowed scholarship for softball, and secured a $50,000 donation for a naming right for the softball field.”

In order for Title IX to be granted, the university must have an equal amount of sports available to both men and women. In 2001-2002, 58.6 percent of all students at NKU were women, while the male enrollment was 41.5 percent. This means the female participation in athletic teams must meet 58.5 percent.

In 2001-2002, the males were 58.8 percent participation in athletics, which means that NKU is not in compliance with the Title IX law. The university needs to increase the participation of women in sports to be in compliance with the law. If not, the sporting privileges and funding can be taken away from the university.

Meier does not believe that the percentage of female participation will violate the Title IX law, because every year the participation increases.

NKU offers athletic teams in basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, cross-country, tennis and golf for both women and men. In addition, women have a volleyball team.

Meier said that a survey was conducted in 1997 regarding athletic teams that students would like to add to NKU; track and field was at the top of everyone’s list.

“Track and Field will probably be added for both men and women,” Meier said. “But funding is not available and space is limited. The track is not in collegiate standards, it needs some adjusting.”

There is not an official date when track and field will be added to the athletic curriculum. Meier said that football was also requested by students, but for financial reasons it is not likely this sport will come to NKU. Football would also affect the equality for the female/ male ratio because of the number of players needed for a team.

Meier added that Title IX is good for the university and women have fought very hard to be equal to men.

She said the statute is important to treat men and women equally. “Sports are for men and women.”