succumbing to peer pressure

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Since a handful of people have landed here by searching for John Tierney, I thought I'd provide an updated post on his past two editorials. The earlier one, about Title IX, can be found here, along with quite a few comments in response. Essentially his point seems to be that since women are excelling in every single other area of education, why not shut up and let the boys be 'better' at sports? He claims that sports teams at universities attempting to comply with Title IX have a hard time recruiting female athletes, despite promises of scholarships and all sorts of other perks. I don't have any hard data to refute this claim, but personally and anecdotally, it just rings very false to me. As usual, at least one of the commenters trots out the old argument against Title IX that it's used to cut poorly performing men's athetic teams. This is, unfortunately, true (as a former gymnast I am keenly aware of this problem as men's gymnastics teams were inevitably among the first on the chopping block). But as another commenter responds, "Title IX became an easy out for many administrations to cut men's programs that weren't revenue producers. Blaming the girls and the feds was just an easy out...Overall to our culture title IX has been a good thing. The fact that some college administrators saw it as an opportunity to thin the ranks isn't the act's fault." Indeed. As usual, it's all about money*, and and if a particular team (male or female) isn't bringing in the revenue, it's going to become a target for the administration, regardless of whether or how much it's benefitting the student body in less tangible ways.

*Of course, I'm not saying athletics come before academics. When school budgets are tight of course I'd rather see teacher pay increases and new textbooks rather than a bigger stadium and new weight machines.


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