Along with having the right track and field equipment, knowing the laws surrounding track and field is essential for athletic directors and coaches. With regards to high school and collegiate track and field, the most important law is Title 9. The Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, also known as Title 9, is a piece of U.S. legislation that was passed in 1972. The law states that no person shall be excluded from participating in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance on the basis of sex.
Before Title IX, the primary physical activities for girls were cheerleading and square-dancing. Only 1 of 27 girls played high school sports and there were hardly any college scholarships for female athletes. Female athletes received only two percent of athletic budgets.
Specific affects of Title IX on track and field in the Unites States include:
More Female Athletes
According to an Athletic Participation Survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations, the percentage of high school female athletes in 1972 was below 5 percent. In 1979, just 7 years after Title 9 was passed, the female participation rate was above 25 percent. These numbers suggest that Title 9 was a key factor in the rise of female sports and female athletes.
Fewer Male Participants
Although Title 9 has been a key factor in the rise of female sports and female athletes, data suggests that it has also been a factor in the decline of male track and field participants. According to the same survey mentioned above, there were nearly 650,000 high school male track and field athletes in the United States in 1971. By 2004, that number had dropped to approximately 515,000.
Fewer Collegiate Track and Field Programs
Since Title 9 was passed, more than 400 men’s athletic teams have been eliminated as a result of universities needing to become NCAA and Title 9 compliant. Unfortunately, the sports worst hit have been low revenue Olympic sports, such as wrestling, swimming, and track and field. One example is the University of Delaware who recently dropped both men’s track and cross country. UD cited “exercising fiscal responsibility and remaining in compliance with Title IX” as the reasons for the cuts. Read the full article here.
There is no doubt that Title IX has had a positive impact on women in sports like track and field. There are many more opportunities for women to compete at elite levels. Proponents also point out that women have become healthier – women playing sports are less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs. Opponents point out the negative affects of the law. These include a decrease in funding for other male sports in high school and collegiate programs.
Despite the political debates surrounding Title 9 and its effects on high school and collegiate track and field programs, track and field is still a thriving sport in the United States. For all of your track and field equipment needs, shop Everything Track & Field. We have all the equipment you need to perform your best.