The MacNeil/Lehrer Report; Title IX Women's Sports
ROBERT MacNEIL: Good evening. The women`s rights movement may not be quite as strident or sensational as it was a few years ago, but the revolution is simmering quietly on. A blow against sex discrimination was struck yesterday by the U.S. Supreme Court. It ruled that two women had the right to sue private universities, alleging that they were denied admission to medical school because they were women. The suits were allowed, the Court said, under Title IX of the 1972 Education Act, which bars discrimination by sex.
Specifically Title IX says: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under, any educational program or activity receiving federal assistance." And the area where that little clause has created the most heat is in college sports. Since almost every college in the country receives federal assistance and most colleges have sports, it`s been argued that Title IX covers sports. Some took it as far as saying that if a college spent four million dollars on men`s football, it had to spend the same on women`s sports.The other side said colleges couldn`t possibly afford that, and if they tried they would kill off big, crowd-pleasing, moneymaking sports like football and basketball. So far the battle has raged but no school has lost a dime of federal money for failing to comply with Title IX in this area. The Department of Health, Education and Welfare has been attacked for failing to enforce the law, and last December HEW came up with new proposals for enforcement, which only made the battle rage more fiercely. Now, HEW Secretary Califano is due to announce some final rules.
We thought he was going to issue them last month, and we prepared a program with the arguments on both sides. But yesterday`s Supreme Court ruling on Title IX made us notice that they haven`t come out yet. So, while the issue is still open for public debate, we thought we`d present our report on women`s college sports tonight, with apologies to viewers in a few cities who may have seen this program early in April. Here, on videotape, is Jim Lehrer in Washington.
(Originally broadcast April 3, 1979.)
JIM LEHRER: Robin, like so many battles these days in Washington, this one revolves around a set of statistics, numbers which add up differently to different people. In this case they come from Secretary Califano`s December report....
(Program continues as originally broadcast.)
7:00 PBS Air
THE MacNEIL/LEHRER REPORT
"Title IX: Women`s Sports"
In New York
ROBERT MacNEIL Executive Editor
In Washington, D.C.
JIM LEHRER Associate Editor
FRED DAVISON President, University of Georgia
MARGUERITE BECK-REX Women`s Equity Action League
CHRISTINE GRANT HEW Consultant
JAMES FRANK Secretary-Treasurer, NCAA
Videotape Provided by NBC Sports
Producer PETER BLUFF
Reporter JOE QUINLAN
Funding for this program has been provided by this station and other Public Television Stations and by grants from Exxon Corporation, Allied Chemical Corporation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Air Date: April 3, 1979
THE MacNEIL/LEHRER REPORT
Air Date: April 3, 1979
Transcript of "Title IX: Women`s Sports"
7:00 PBS Air
Copyright 1979, Educational Broadcasting Corporation and GWETA
ROBERT MacNEIL: Last week Michigan State men`s basketball team won the NCAA national championship in Salt Lake City. But as the cheers die away, many people wonder whether glamorous, big-time, big-money college sports are threatened by the drive to give women an equal share in college athletics. Tonight, sex discrimination in sports, and the debate over a law called Title IX.
Good evening. One of the most deeply embedded stereotypes in American culture is that men are the college sports heroes and women are there to admire them. That is changing rapidly. There`s been a huge growth in organized competitive sports for women in the `70s. Part of the impetus is a small clause tacked on to the Education Act of 1972. It is called Title IX, and it says: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal assistance." Since almost every college in this country receives federal money, that was immediately taken to apply to college sports as well as everything else. Some took it as far as saying that if a college spent four million dollars on men`s football it had to spend the same on women`s sports. Critics said colleges couldn`t possibly afford such moves and would thus have to kill off or cut back on big, crowd-pleasing, moneymaking sports like football and basketball.
In 1974 Congress amended Title IX, calling for reasonable provisions considering the nature of the particular sports. The next year the Department of Health, Education and Welfare published general guidelines, but did little to enforce them. No school has lost a dime of federal aid for failing to comply. Last December HEW came up with new interpretations to the guidelines, which only made the battle rage more fiercely.
Now, as HEW prepares its final rules, we join that battle in progress. Jim?
JIM LEHRER: Robin, like so many battles these days in Washington, this one revolves around a set of statistics, numbers which add up differently to different people. In this case they come from Secretary Califano`s December report. In terms of enrollment in the country`s colleges and universities, the split between men and women is roughly even; fifty-two percent men to forty-eight percent women. Of those who participate in intercollegiate sports, however, seventy-four percent are men, twenty-six percent women. But participation by women in sports is definitely on the increase. While female college enrollment has increased thirty-nine percent for the period from 1971 to 1976, female participation in sports, intramural as well as intercollegiate, is up more than one hundred percent. As I said, what those figures mean depends on who you talk to, as we`re about to find out. Robin?
MacNEIL: Last summer HEW Secretary Joseph Califano appointed a task force to draw up more specific rules for implementing Title IX. One of the outside consulting members was Dr. Christine Grant, women`s athletic director at the University of Iowa. She`s also president-elect of the governing body for women`s college sports, the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. Dr. Grant is with us in Chicago. Dr. Grant, so that we know what we`re talking about, could you briefly tell us what the main points are of the interpretations to the guidelines released in December?
CHRISTINE GRANT: Oh, gladly. It`s quite a lengthy document; I`ll summarize it as quickly as I can. In essence it`s calling for the immediate elimination of discriminatory practices against the students who are currently in intercollegiate athletic programs. And secondly, it`s calling for the elimination, over a period of time, of the effects of past discrimination and the facilitation of the growth of women`s athletics. This actually would require equal per capita expenditure in scholarship monies, equal per capita expenditure in recruitment and in all other financially measurable items, such as travel, equipment, per diem, et cetera.
MacNEIL: Now, does that mean that if a college offered a hundred athletic scholarships to men it would have to offer a hundred to women, or that the value would have to be the same?
GRANT: Well, there are very few schools that I know of where you have identical figures of men and women; in fact, the figures that we had from last fall show that seventy percent of the athletic population is male and thirty percent female. So what the guidelines would be calling for would be a seventy-thirty split in the scholarship monies.
MacNEIL: I see. And can you explain -- as I read it, the per capita means per capita expenditure not on the population of men and women in college but on the proportion that they are engaged in sport. Is that the way the guidelines read, to you?
GRANT: That`s currently true. At the moment I think it`s fiftyone percent women and forty-nine percent male across the nation; but no, the guidelines are not calling for expenditures according to those pro portions, they`re calling for the actual participation ratio.
MacNEIL: Now, from your, personal viewpoint, are these as tough as you would like, or are they the best you think that can be gotten now?
GRANT: I think it`s a reasonable document overall, extremely reasonable; and I would like to see them, personally, tightened up in several places, such as the nature of the sport. I think it`s too vague, too im precise, and leaves a very large loophole. The level of competition I think also is another large loophole. So there can be definite improvements made in it, but basically I think it`s a sound document.
MacNEIL: Do you understand the guidelines and the new interpretations to include the big competitive sports like football and basketball?
GRANT: Oh, very definitely, because -- and I think this is sometimes forgotten -- this is civil rights legislation, and I really don`t understand how we can even be considering exemptions.
MacNEIL: And do you expect Mr. Califano, when he releases his final version of these early next month, to stick pretty well to the guidelines promulgated in December with interpretations, or to make modifications?
GRANT: Perhaps there will be a few minor modifications, but I think
Mr. Califano has consistently refused to exempt revenue-producing sports, and therefore I see no large change on the horizon.
MacNEIL: Well, thank you, we`ll come back, Dr. Grant. Jim?
LEHRER: One school that is fighting hard for changes in the proposed Title IX interpretations is the University of Georgia. The University`s president is Dr. Fred Davison. Doctor, what kind of changes do you want in these proposed interpretations?
FRED DAVISON: Well, we would basically like to see them exclude the revenue-producing sports, those sports that generate the income that sponsor all of the programs we have at the university in intercollegiate athletics.
LEHRER: Why do you want them exempted?
DAVISON: Because if they`re not, we feel that we will not be able to continue to support either our men`s sports or our women`s sports in the future. We spend absolutely no appropriated funds; in fact, the only sport we have that generates any money above its own cost is football. It`s that money that we use to support all of the women`s sports plus all of the minor men`s sports. If we have to change the football situation at our school and lose income, we lose our capacity to sponsor both men`s and women`s sports.
LEHRER: How would the interpretation of these guidelines cause you to have to change the football program as it now exists?
DAVISON: If we were to -- and of course this is a point: the guidelines as they stand now do have an affirmative action clause that means that down the road you have to increase that rate of participation - if we were to have to do that, we would not be able to generate enough money out of our football program to do what we are doing now. In fact, if we had to take money from the football program today to meet that equal per capita expenditure, we would probably degrade our football program to the point that it would become a burden rather than a profit-maker for us. And consequently, when that happens, we`re out of business in men`s and women`s sports because I have no intention of spending appropriated funds on intercollegiate athletics.
LEHRER: So in other words, the end result of this would be the elimination of intercollegiate sports at the University of Georgia?
DAVISON: Men`s and women`s. That`s the problem we face in our particular situation where we spend absolutely nothing except dollars that come because our society sponsors football primarily.
LEHRER: How would you assess the progress toward involving more women in sports at the University of Georgia?
DAVISON: Oh, it`s been remarkable at the University. We were one of the charter members of the AIAW, we have followed their rules...
LEHRER: That`s the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.
DAVISON: Right. We have six intercollegiate women`s teams now, two of them at least in tennis and golf, competing well on a regional basis; we`re in the marketplace now for a full-time basketball coach for our women`s teams. We are letting them grow and encouraging them to grow as fast as we can sponsor their growth, as fast as our public says that`s what they want.
LEHRER: You heard what Dr. Grant said, that we`re basically talking here about civil rights legislation. Is it your position that you do not discriminate against women in sports at the University of Georgia?
DAVISON: Yes, that is our position. In fact, we have no case in which a woman has said, I have been discriminated against, as far as sports is concerned.
LEHRER: Finally, do you think this is the federal government`s business to do what they`re doing through Title IX? Do you think this is a legitimate function of the federal government?
DAVISON: Well, I personally feel that in this case it`s an intrusion into the operation of the institution that is unwarranted.
LEHRER: All right, thank you. A coalition of women`s and girls` groups ranging from the Girl Scouts to NOW has criticized the proposed interpretations as being too lax. A member of the coalition is the Women`s Equity Action League`s Education and Legal Defense Fund, and director of its Sports Information Project is Marguerite Beck-Rex. I got to you, and I also got the name of your organization right, did I not?
MARGUERITE BECK-REX: Thank you very much.
LEHRER: All right. Now, you have different reasons, of course, from Dr. Davison`s, for objecting to these interpretations. What are they?
BECK-REX: Yes, I do. I feel as though they are not tight enough, there are lots of loopholes in them. The loopholes are meant to make it easier to exempt some money because of sports that are extensive to field.
I also feel as though they`re not broad enough in terms of their base; I think we have to move more quickly toward an equal per capita ratio based on enrollment, not participation. Because if you base it on participation as it is now, you`re basing it on the results of past discrimination and you`re not really making a step forward. You see, there may have been one hundred percent increase over the past several years of women`s participation in college sports, but there`s been 600 percent increase on the high school level. So really that one hundred percent is a drop in the bucket compared to what could be done to accommodate women.
I`ve a little bit of trouble answering some of this in terms of money, because -- I agree with Dr. Grant -- this is a civil rights issue. HEW`s job in this particular instance is to lead toward opening access to athletics for women and to lead in the area of civil rights. Its job is not to accommodate the various interests of the groups involved, which are the NCAA, AIAW and the college presidents. Now, these groups all have to respond to HEW`s leadership when it says, This is what we need for sex equity; they have to make the accommodations. I don`t think HEW should make any changes based on a plea that says, "We can`t afford it."
LEHRER: In other words, what you want is equity based on enrollment, a per capita enrollment.
BECK-REX: That`s the direction I think that we need to go in. I also think this is an equal per capita ratio, which means like a budget amount. The men`s budget is paired against the women`s budget, and you decide about equity on the basis of that. Well, budgets don`t tell everything, and I think that`s just the beginning. Once you`ve said the budgets are equivalent for the number of players involved, I think you also have to build in something so that individuals or teams can file complaints based on what`s happening in their sport. What this does, basing it on budgets, is leave it open, leave it possible for the director of a men`s or women`s program to field a very different kind of program for the other sex.
LEHRER: But with the same amount of money basically available.
BECK-REX: Right, the same amount of money. Well, supposing the money`s headed into soccer and there are women who want basketball and who want to be on a high level such as the men are playing?
LEHRER: But what about the argument that Dr. Davison uses that at least in his case, the University of Georgia, it would mean possibly the elimination of all intercollegiate sports, not only for men but for women as well?
BECK-REX: Well, first of all, I think that the adjustments to the regulations have to be made by the schools, not the other way around. In addition, eight-one percent of the schools with football programs in NCAA don`t make enough money to cover their programs, much less to field anything else. Dr. Davison`s very fortunate if he`s at a school at which football really makes enough money to support itself and other programs. And if you look at school athletic budgets, as I`ve seen in the Atlanta Constitution, I think that -- correct me if I`m wrong, Dr. Davison -last year`s budget was $3,300,000 for men and $200,000 for women...
DAVISON: No, that`s three hundred total. Excuse me...
LEHRER: We`ll get a chance to thresh that out in a moment.
LEHRER: Thank you very much. Robin?
MacNEIL: The body governing men`s intercollegiate sports is the NCAA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association. It has lobbied hard against the HEW proposals. The NCAA`s secretary-treasurer is Dr. James Frank, president of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, and he`s also with us tonight in Chicago. Dr. Frank, your organization has been lobbying against these interpretations. What are your basic objections to them?
JAMES FRANK: Well, the first objection, in the NCAA`s position, is that HEW does not have jurisdiction in this area, simply because the intercollegiate athletics do not receive financial assistance from the fed eral government. As you`re probably aware, there is a lawsuit that is being tested in the court. But the other major objection is the equal per capita expenditure factor. Dr. Davison has already spoken to this point, and this is crucial to the colleges and universities in this country.
MacNEIL: What would it do to your college, Lincoln University, if you had to be in compliance with that?
FRANK: Well, next year we`ve calculated that it would cost us an additional $26,000, and then in subsequent years it would cost us approximately $150,000 annually to be in compliance with the proposed legislation.
MacNEIL: And what proportion is that of your present sports budget?
FRANK: That would be approximately forty percent of our present sports budget.
MacNEIL: The twenty-six or the hundred and fifty?
FRANK: Hundred and fifty.
MacNEIL: Your present sports budget being what, sir?
FRANK: The amount of money?
FRANK: Oh, it`s about $250,000.
MacNEIL: Has your organization calculated what it would cost colleges nationally to be in compliance?
FRANK: Yes. There was a study done by a Professor Rayburn, and this is included in the NCAA`s response to HEW, and it is calculated for about 726 NCAA schools it would cost $60 million if the present rate of participation is kept at its present rate. And with increased participation it is calculated that it would cost about $326 million annually for the 726 schools that are members of the NCAA.
MacNEIL: Are you aware that your protests have caused Mr. Califano to modify these interpretations in any way?
FRANK: Well, not yet. I met with Secretary Califano last Friday with some other college presidents. He listened, but we have no indication that he`s going to modify them at this point.
MacNEIL: What do you think would happen to major competitive public attracting college sports like basketball and football if these guidelines and interpretations were put into effect?
FRANK: See, most of the talk is about the big-time college sports, that is, in your major institutions. And what people forget is that the majority of the institutions that are members of the NCAA, and even the non-members, football or basketball does not support the entire intercollegiate athletic program. It is supported out of student fees. And even though there are greater amounts of money involved with your major colleges, the effect would be just as severe on small colleges. And $50,000 or $75,000 to a school like Lincoln University is a very great amount; and there are literally hundreds of schools throughout the country that would be affected that way. And the problem is, we support our intercollegiate program out of student fees. It would mean that we would have to try to increase fees for our students, and this would not be a very popular nor would it be a wise move to make.
MacNEIL: Thank you. Let`s turn to Dr. Grant, who`s there beside you. Dr. Grant, what do you say to this argument we`ve heard now from both the gentlemen that they just couldn`t afford it, most colleges simply could not afford to be in compliance?
GRANT: Well, I`ve never yet heard where lack of money was a legitimate defense for failure to comply with civil rights. I have a great deal of difficulty in accepting that.
MacNEIL: Do you recognize from your own experience at the University of Iowa that this would be very painful -- I should ask you, would it be very painful financially for the universities to comply?
GRANT: I think we`ll have to do a great deal of investigation into both men`s and women`s budgets in order to do it, but it can be done. And I think, too, with regard to statistics, at the current time, through a study done last year, the women are actually halfway there toward compliance, and it`s really interesting. If indeed the seventy-thirty ratio is correct on a nationwide basis, we are already twenty-one percent of the scholarship budget. Twenty-two percent of the scholarship budget at NCAA Division One schools. We`re nineteen percent with regard to salaries and wages, and fourteen percent with regard to operating budgets. We`re halfway there already. And what is just fascinating is, in the last five years, between 1973 and 1978, men`s budgets, according to the NCAA report of 1978, increased by thirty-six percent for scholarships, thirty-six percent for operating budgets, and forty-three percent for salaries and wages.
MacNEIL: While all this growth in women`s participation was going on.
GRANT: That is absolutely correct.
MacNEIL: Can I put your point of a moment ago to Dr. Davison in Washington: Dr. Davison, what do you say to Dr. Grant`s argument that money has never been an excuse for not complying with civil rights?
DAVISON: Well, of course one of the things that does concern me ,about this goes back to the question of the Tate theory and indeed whether this is a question of civil rights. And this same title, when HEW at tempted to apply it to employment in universities, it`s been struck down by at least six federal courts. I`m not sure that it really does apply, that this is a question. Now, if indeed it was a case of discrimination, proven discrimination at one of our institutions, this would be one thing, but we don`t have that case either. We have a situation at our school in which we have always tried to accommodate our sponsoring society, not confound it. We have the kind of program we have at the University of Georgia because it`s what our society has asked us to do and has indeed financed us to do outside those funds that come to our educational programs. It has not asked us to do this other yet, and in fact the compliance part, the affirmative action part of these regulations, as I read them, would almost require us at the University to manufacture a whole set of programs that we`re not being asked at the present time to have.
MacNEIL: Ms. Beck-Rex, is that what you believe compliance would force colleges to do, to artificially create sports programs beyond the appetite of the women students for them?
BECK-REX: Oh, hardly. When football first started it was not something that everybody enrolled in; in fact, I think if you today were to survey college students and ask them what they want to participate in, you find very few men who want to participate in football. I don`t think it`s artificial at all to build a program. I think the reason we have revenue-producing sports at the level we have them today is because they have been deliberately built; top-flight athletes have been recruited from all over the country and promotion`s been put into it. That`s artificial. The very same sort of thing can be done for women`s sports if that`s what we want to do. I don`t see it the least bit as artificial.
MacNEIL: Thank you. Jim?
LEHRER: Dr. Grant, first back to you on this question of whether or not you would be interested in making women`s sports -- let`s say making all sports, both men`s and women`s, the same level. In other words, bring men`s sports down to where they`re "small-time", like, say, women`s sports are now, or elevate women`s sports up to where it`s also big-time. Is that the leveling process that you`re interested in?
GRANT: Personally, I would be interested in a happy medium, but that`s strictly personally. I think an institution has a choice right now. They can either elevate their women`s programs up to the level of men`s programs or come to a compromise between or decrease the men`s programs down to the women`s. I would not recommend the latter at all.
LEHRER: Do you think that there is enough interest -- fan interest, student interest, all those other kinds of interest -- that could make women`s sports as big-time, say, as men`s sports is now, particularly in the area of football and basketball?
GRANT: Probably not in the area of football; I really honestly can`t foresee that. But...
LEHRER: (Laughing.) No, I`m sorry, I don`t mean women playing football, but elevating women`s sports to that level, whatever the sport is.
GRANT: I would see it in basketball and some other women`s snorts, yes. And I think this week we had the NCAA national, basketball championship; we also had the AIAW national basketball championship. And I don`t know if you watched or not, but that was fascinating and very, very encouraging to see the fan support for that game, to watched highly skilled young female athletes participate at that level. The societal support will come; it will just take a little bit of time.
LEHRE R: Dr. Frank, what`s your view of that?
FRANK: Let me address the question of civil rights. I would disagree with the two ladies also, and this is a question as to whether or not this is a civil rights issue in the sense that past discrimination has taken place in women`s intercollegiate sports. I would disagree with that notion. Having a background in health, physical education and athletics, this is what the women wanted. And I would also point out that the National Association of Land Grant Colleges, also the American Council on Education, the Association of State Colleges and Universities -all of these organizations are composed of college presidents. I`ve talked to hundreds of college presidents, and I don`t know of a one that is against equal opportunity for women in sports. Tremendous efforts have been made to upgrade sports. I believe, and nobody`s against -- you ask about the level of competition -- I believe colleges and universities in this country would try to upgrade their basketball programs and other women`s sports to the level of the men`s sports. I think the problem is this per capita expenditure, and we would not be in compliance by September or within a reasonable period of time. Title IX states that you would provide equal opportunity; and I think colleges and universities would do this in good faith, the money will be spent on the women`s program, I believe everybody would be happy. But it`s the one factor, and that`s the per capita expenditure, and it is contrary to Title IX regulation and it`s contrary to the law.
LEHRER: Ms. Beck-Rex, would you be happy with the voluntary compliance, on their own?
BECK-REX: Oh, I don`t believe it would ever happen. I think the beginning of Title IX, with the beginning of growth in women`s sports; I don`t believe that there`d be this tremendous rush to begin to bill women`s programs and to put money in if it hadn`t been for Title IX. Most of the schools that have had growth have had complaints filed or perhaps even lawsuits, and when I think of complaints, that includes the University of Georgia, as I remember, in the Athletic Department.
LEHRER: All right, we have to leave it there. Robin?
MacNEIL: Yes; in Chicago, Dr. Grant and Dr. Frank, thank you very much for joining us. And thank you, Dr. Davison and Ms. Beck-Rex in Washington. Good night, Jim.
LEHRER: Good night, Robin.
MacNEIL: That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow night. I`m Robert MacNeil. Good night.
- The MacNeil/Lehrer Report
- Title IX Women's Sports
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- The main topic of this episode is Title IX Women's Sports. The guests are Fred Davison, Marguerite Beck-Rex, Christine Grant James Frank. Byline: Robert MacNeil, Jim Lehrer
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