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Dear Colleague Letter


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Dear Colleague Letter
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April 20, 2010

Dear Colleague:

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 19721 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities by recipients of Federal financial assistance, which include schools, colleges and universities. Since its passage, Title IX has dramatically increased academic, athletic and employment opportunities for women and girls. Title IX stands for the proposition that equality of opportunity in America is not rhetoric, but rather a guiding principle.

Although there has been indisputable progress since Title IX was enacted, notably in interscholastic and intercollegiate athletic programs, sex discrimination unfortunately continues to exist in many education programs and activities. I am committed to the vigorous enforcement of Title IX to resolve this discrimination and to provide clear policy guidance to assist a recipient institution (institution) in making the promise of Title IX a reality for all.

To that end, on behalf of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education (Department), it is my pleasure to provide you with this “Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Clarification: The Three-Part Test – Part Three.” With this letter, the Department is withdrawing the “Additional Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy: Three Part Test – Part Three” (2005 Additional Clarification) and all related documents accompanying it, including the “User’s Guide to Student Interest Surveys under Title IX” (User’s Guide) and related technical report, that were issued by the Department on March 17, 2005.

OCR enforces Title IX and its implementing regulation.2 The regulation contains specific provisions governing athletic programs3 and the awarding of athletic scholarships.4 Specifically, the Title IX regulation provides that if an institution operates or sponsors an athletic program, it must provide equal athletic opportunities for members of both sexes.5 In determining whether equal athletic opportunities are available, the regulation requires OCR to consider whether an institution is effectively accommodating the athletic interests and abilities of students of both sexes.6

1 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.

2 34 C.F.R. Part 106.

3 34 C.F.R. § 106.41.

4 34 C.F.R. § 106.37(c).

5 34 C.F.R. § 106.41(c).

6 34 C.F.R. § 106.41(c)(1). The Title IX regulation at 34 C.F.R. § 106.41(c) provides that OCR also will consider other factors when determining whether equal athletic opportunity is available at an institution. This Dear Colleague letter only addresses the regulatory requirement, at 34 C.F.R. § 106.41(c)(1), to effectively accommodate interests and abilities.

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Last Modified: 01/10/2020