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How does Title IX apply to intercollegiate athletics?

Title IX, in relevant part, prohibits all public and private colleges and universities that receive federal funding from discriminating on the basis of sex in their intercollegiate athletics programs. Since most colleges and universities receive federal funds—most commonly through financial aid to students-nearly all must comply with Title IX.

What does it take for colleges and university athletic programs to comply with Title IX?

The regulations, issued in 1975, require that if a recipient institution operates or sponsors an athletic program, it must provide equal athletic opportunities for members of both sexes. The regulations provide a non-exhaustive list of factors to measure equal athletic opportunity, including whether an institution's selection of sports effectively accommodates the interests and abilities of students of both sexes to the extent necessary to provide equal athletic opportunity.

Does Title IX benefit only girls and women?

Title IX protects everyone-girls and boys, women and men. The law requires educational institutions to maintain policies, practices and programs that do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of sex. Elimination of discrimination against women and girls has received more attention because females historically have faced greater gender restrictions and barriers in education. However, Title IX also protects men and boys. A continued effort to prevent or stop discrimination on the basis of sex has benefited all students by moving toward the creation of school environments where all students may learn and achieve the highest standards.

Does Title IX require identical athletics programs for males and females?

Title IX does not require identical athletics programs for males and females. Under Title IX, one team is not compared to the same team in each sport. OCR examines the total program afforded to male student-athletes and the total program afforded to female student-athletes and determines whether each program meets the standards of equal treatment. Title IX does not require that each team receive exactly the same services and supplies. Rather, Title IX requires that the men and women's program receive the similar/comparable level of service, facilities, supplies and etc. Variations within the men and women's program are allowed, as long as the variations are justified on a nondiscriminatory basis.

Are revenue-producing sports excluded from Title IX?


Source: Information excerpted from U.S. Department of Education website, Q & A—Secretary's Commission on Opportunity in Athletics

Under Title IX, there are three independent ways for universities to show that they are providing their male and female students with equal opportunities to participate in sports. A school must show any one of the following:

(1) the percentages of male and female athletes are about the same as the percentages of male and female students enrolled, or

(2) the school has a history and continuing practice of expanding athletic opportunities for the underrepresented sex, or

(3) the school is fully and effectively meeting its students’ interests and abilities to participate in sports.

Source:U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Guidance: The Three-Part Test (Jan. 16, 1996)

The Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics is Erika Barnes, Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director & Senior Woman Administrator. She can be reached at (520) 621-2473 or