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At 50 Title IX Not Quite There; Rugby Can Help

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At 50 Title IX Not Quite There; Rugby Can Help

Harvard vs Sacred Heart at the R7CC. These teams are NCAA varsity programs; activism by more student-athletes using the mandate of Title IX can help grow those numbers.

Today is the 50th Anniversary of Title IX being signed into law.

The law essentially ensures equality of sports opportunities (or opportunities in other activities) in educational settings. Since the Title IX bill was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972, the number of girls playing sports in high school has risen more than 1,000% (source Women’s Sports Foundation). The growth of girls in high school sports has outstripped that of boys by two-and-a-half times. 

In college, the percentage of college athletes being women has tripled since 1972.

Title IX, in short, has worked, and remains important.

But that doesn’t mean we’ve arrived.

The Work Continues on the Field

In the coming weeks we will look more closely at Title IX compliance and how many universities still fall short. We will talk about what that means for rugby, a high-participation, low-cost sport that seems a no-brainer pick for varsity status but is not yet a full NCAA championship sport. 

And we will talk in more detail about what women student-athletes in college and parents in high school can, and should, do to further the Title IX cause.

A study by shows that about 90% of colleges are not in compliance of Title IX. They are failing at attaining proportional sports participation, and they are failing in terms of scholarship money.

But, according to this article by USA Today, much of the reason for that is because of hit-and-miss oversight. The NCAA does not enforce Title IX compliance. The Department of Education has Title IX enforcement ability, but the US Senate’s Commerce Committee oversees college sports. So who should hold colleges’ feet to the fire?

Rugby, a high-participation, low-cost sport that seems a no-brainer pick for varsity status, is not yet a full NCAA championship sport. 

The answer may well be you, the high school sports parents, and you, the college student-athletes. While Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker has sent a letter to the NCAA asking for details on how the collegiate sports body ensured Title IX compliance, there’s an increasing feeling that it’s all going to take some squeaky wheels.

Litigation, or the threat of litigation, is what has often made colleges change their tune. Motivated and passionate student-athletes who are brave enough to take a stand and demand equal facilities and equal opportunities are what move the needle. 

The Iron is Hot

The iron might well be hot for rugby, then. But it won’t take just a dedicated belief that rugby is the best sport ever. It takes showing, teaching, and cajoling school administrations into realizing that non-compliance will get them in hot water, and the way out is a high-participation, low-cost, popular sport—rugby.