The Department of Education has reiterated its support for a controversial clarification of rules relating to how colleges can comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
A year ago, the department issued guidance to colleges that endorsed the use of athletic-interest surveys of students as a way to prove their programs were equitable for men and women in compliance under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination at federally funded schools.
A report from the department to the Senate Appropriations Committee shows that 34 out of 63 assessments by colleges conducted between Oct. 1, 1992, and Jan. 31, 2006—schools considered other factors besides the surveys when deciding whether to add a sport to the roster. Also, 28 teams were added irrespective of the assessment results.
Teams were added at the same rate as they were at colleges that used surveys as well as analyzing other factors, such as interviews with coaches or analyses of sports offered by feeder high schools.
The National Women’s Law Center in Washington said the report showed that the department never allowed a school to drop a sports program based on surveys alone, which proves that surveys are an insufficient means of determining interest.
A version of this article appeared in the April 05, 2006 edition of Education Week