Stipulated: It’s off-the-chart madness that a male won a women’s NCAA national championship in track. That another male is seeking to participate in female weight-lifting competitions. Especially that men get the opportunity to pummel women in mixed martial arts.
And then there are the Connecticut girls, excluded from New England track regionals when boys took the top two spots, who have brought a complaint under Title IX, which mandates equal participation for women in educational programs.
Said one girl, Selina Soule: “There have been countless other female athletes (affected) in the state of Connecticut, as well as my entire indoor track team. We missed out on winning the state open championship because of the team that the transgender athlete was on.”
Adds Ms. Soule’s conservative interest group attorney: “Girls like Selina should never be forced to be spectators in their own sports.”
But here’s the thing: Title IX, despite its language – “No person … shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of … any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance” – has been steeped in exclusion on the basis of sex.
Ask former student athletes on seven men’s teams at James Madison University who were abruptly eliminated in 2006 to meet Title IX requirements. Ironically, men’s indoor and outdoor track were among squads deep-sixed. The women’s teams stayed. Meaning dozens of male runners – in Ms. Soule’s words – “missed out” to create spots for females.
Or Eastern Michigan University, which, faced with an existential budget crisis in 2018, cut men’s wrestling and swimming and diving, and women’s softball and tennis. The move caused more than twice as many men as women – 58 to 25 – to “miss out.” Until a federal judge, citing Title IX, ordered EMU to find resources to reinstate both women’s teams. But not the men’s.
Bottom line: the government has made thousands of male athletes “spectators in their own sports.”
The Title IX travesty leads to other galactically absurd results. Daniel McGraw in The American Conservative reveals that to meet government-driven demand, participants in women’s college rowing exploded from 305 at 12 colleges in 1990 to 7,277 at 145 schools as of last year. Which, McGraw points out, presents a problem: Last year 74 high schools fielded only 2,094 female rowers.
McGraw quotes a 2007 report that University of Virginia female rowing coaches were “handing out scholarships like candy,” while unsubsidized male rowers lived hand-to-mouth – a phenomenon repeated nationwide as schools inflated rowing rosters to appease Title IX overseers.
And across women’s college sports: An analysis in Forbes found that the ratio of female soccer players to scholarships is 40-to-1, compared to 68-to-1 for men. Lacrosse? That would be 46-to-1 versus 85-to-1. The ratios “hold true for sports ranging from basketball to track and field to volleyball.”
All this is occurring despite the other dirty not-so-secret secret being laid bare by the complaints of the girls and others, such as tennis champ Martina Navratilova, about transgender participation. As Ms. Soule acknowledges: “There’s no way I can be competitive with someone who’s a male … It’s scientifically proven that they are bigger and stronger than women.”
Higher quality of competition. Greater male interest. Explaining rather simply why, minus the heavy hand of government, far more attendance, viewership and money flows to men’s pro and college sports. (With the possible exception of soccer, where the U.S. men’s team failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup while the women soared).
The lesson here for female sports advocates and society-at-large: When you start spinning the identity politics roulette, you never know where it is going to stop, and what the consequences are going to be.
Ms. Soule has nothing to lose in pursuing a Title IX complaint with a Trump Department of Education – although the obligatory appeal will drop the case right back into the pro-craziness federal courts. But the real solution is to get not just the thumb, but the entire rather well-fed derriere of the Nanny State, off the scale when it comes to letting humans handle their own affairs. Instead of being spectators in them.
Bob Maistros is a messaging and communications strategist and crisis specialist. He was chief writer for the Reagan-Bush ’84 campaign, a former Senate subcommittee counsel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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