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Athletic Equity Success Stories

Boys' and Girls' Sports Teams: A True Win-Win Example

When OCR's New York enforcement office began investigating a complaint alleging sex discrimination in athletics, it learned that only one-third of female high school students were members of interscholastic athletic teams. In addition, only 38 percent of teams were girls' teams. As a result of OCR's work, the city's Board of Education added more than 300 girls' teams, bringing the total number of female high school teams to 1,030 or 45 percent of all teams. As a result of OCR's intervention, the Board also increased the number of boys' teams by 46, bringing their total number to 1,246. It is too soon to tell the exact number of girls who joined these additional teams last fall, but we expect that the number of girls now involved in high school sports will rise. This story is an example of how OCR's activities result in more opportunities for both boys and girls.

ROTC Program Discriminated Against Female Cadets

A female cadet in a United States Army/District Cadet Junior ROTC program that was administered by a local school district was denied promotion to the battalion commander rank due to her sex, suffered discriminatory remarks by her ROTC instructor and was threatened by his assistant. The student filed a complaint based on sex discrimination with OCR because of its jurisdiction over the district's programs and activities. As a result, the district enhanced its nondiscrimination policy and sensitized the ROTC instructors to their obligations under Title IX, focusing on sex discrimination and sexual harassment. After the agreement was implemented, the girl's parents called their local OCR office and informed the staff of their daughter's promotion to battalion commander, the first time a girl had held this position in the history of the school's ROTC program.

Community College Expands Women's Athletic Opportunities And Helps Men, Too

To bring its intercollegiate athletics program into compliance with Title IX, one community college expanded opportunities for women by proposing to add athletic teams. By doing this, the college was meeting the requirements of the OCR's three-part test on intercollegiate athletics, which states that a college provides nondiscriminatory opportunities for men and women if it meets any one part of this test. The three parts are:

  • providing athletic opportunities in numbers substantially proportionate to enrollment by sex;
  • establishing a history and continuing practice of program expansion for members of the under-represented sex-which, in the case of this college, was women; and
  • fully and effectively accommodating the interests and abilities of the under-represented sex

About two-thirds of colleges chose to comply with Title IX by deciding to fully and effectively accommodate the interest and abilities of the under-represented sex. This story is a good example of a college using this method. Although not all colleges are able to add men's teams as this one did, never would the OCR mandate a college to drop a men's team to comply with Title IX. With assistance from the OCR, the college determined the interest and ability of women students and, as a result, has nearly doubled participation opportunities for women. During its discussions with the OCR, the college saw that by adding golf, swimming and tennis teams for women, it could also add men's teams in these same sports for little additional cost.

State-Of-The-Art Field For Boys; Inadequate Field For Girls

A brand-new high school included a state-of-the-art baseball facility for boys, including dugouts, generous seating, lockers, a storage room and PA system. In addition, the field was large enough for both the junior and senior players to practice and play. In contrast, the girls were told there was no softball field for them: instead, the school had made arrangements with a local church to share their field. This field had no seating, locker room, dugout, storage room or PA system, and the field itself was not comparable in quality or size to the one provided to boys. After OCR's intervention, the school district not only built a comparable softball facility for girls but it also reviewed facilities for girls at other schools to determine any needed upgrades.

Quarter-Million In Women's Scholarships

A complaint filed by a national advocacy group against a university alleged that it discriminated against women athletes in awarding scholarships. Title IX provides that when a college or university awards athletic scholarships, these scholarship awards must be granted to "members of each sex in proportion to the number of students of each sex participating in intercollegiate athletics." In this case, the OCR's investigation concluded that the university was not awarding substantially equal amounts of scholarship dollars to the men's and women's programs, and it initiated settlement discussions. Working voluntarily with the OCR, the university will ensure that both the male and female athletic programs receive an equitable share of scholarship monies. As an immediate remedy to the identified disparity, the women's athletic program will receive an increase of about $269,000 over the next two years.

Last Modified: 01/10/2020