The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The facts about Title IX in athletics

Photo by © Chuck Zovko / Zovko Photograp for The Lafayette
Title IX legislation has been in effect since 1972. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette College Communications)

The phrase “Title IX” is often thrown around with regard to higher education and collegiate athletics. What is it exactly, and how is it implemented?

Title IX, which was implemented in the Education Amendments Act of 1972, states, “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 education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

While Title IX applies to all educational institutions that receive federal funds and encompasses admissions, financial aid, sex-based harassment and treatment of LGBTQ+ students, the application of Title IX in athletics is frequently publicized.

The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education is responsible for enforcing Title IX in all of its applications.

Lafayette’s Director of Educational Equity and Title IX coordinator Amanda Hanincik wrote in an email that the Office of Educational Equity is in frequent contact with the athletic department on matters of compliance.

“The College seeks to ensure the equitable treatment of all members of its community by implementing policies, procedures and practices that are compliant with the law and standing by its mission and values,” Hanincik wrote.

Complying with Title IX does not mean that athletic departments need to roster equal numbers of male and female athletes. According to a resource released by the Office for Civil Rights, athletic departments have three ways to comply with Title IX: “substantial proportionality,” “history and continuing practice” and “interests and abilities of students.”

Substantial proportionality is the most common way to comply with Title IX. The rate of participation for male and female athletes must be “substantially proportionate” to their rate of enrollment at the institution.

Athletic departments around the country are mandated to report and disclose Title IX data and compliance through the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act. The latest reported data for Lafayette on the Equity in Athletics website is from the 2021-22 academic year.

That year, the male-female ratio for the entire student body was 51.1-to-48.9 while the male-female participation ratio in athletics was 53.4-to-46.6.

“Lafayette takes its Title IX obligations seriously,” senior associate athletic director for compliance and student-athlete development Mike Chamberlain wrote in an email. “As an Athletic Department, equitable treatment of all of our student-athletes is a top priority.”

Schools can also comply with Title IX by demonstrating a history and continuing practice of expanding athletic opportunities for the underrepresented sex — historically women.

Finally, schools can comply with Title IX if they do not meet the substantial proportionality standards by demonstrating that all demand, skill and talent among women at the school are represented in the athletic department.

In addition, female and male student-athletes must receive scholarships proportional to participation and equal treatment in equipment and supplies, scheduling games and practice times, travel, coaching, facilities, publicity, support services and recruitment.

While the responsibility to comply with Title IX falls on the institution, conferences like the NCAA and the Patriot League still serve in support roles for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, commonly known by the acronym DEI.

Patriot League commissioner Jennifer Heppel noted that, since the NCAA and Patriot League do not receive federal funding, they are not in a “regulatory space” surrounding Title IX. 

“That being said, what I can say for the Patriot League and every other conference I’ve worked in, we’re committed to assisting our institutions to follow Title IX,” Heppel said. “When we think about activities that we engage in from the league office, obviously equity is front and center in how we approach our decision-making.”

She noted that the Patriot League facilitated a DEI review for each member institution last year that allowed the league to “pull some common themes from across the league.”

“I think initiatives in that regard to work need to really be embraced by each individual campus,” Heppel said. “What we’re able to do across the league is to facilitate the conversations and the commitment, but then how it is implemented on each campus will vary.”

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Grace Sanborn
Grace Sanborn, Assistant Sports Editor
Thinks hitting a ball with a stick outside for four hours is fun.

Comments (0)

If you wish for your response to an article to be submitted as a letter to the editor, please email [email protected].
All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *