At its final meeting last week, Secretary of Education Rod Paige’s 15-member Commission on Opportunity in Athletics adopted 23 recommendations on Title IX, split evenly on one recommendation, and rejected another. Those recommendations include:
- The Department of Education should initiate programs to promote high school interest in sports and possibly start a pilot program to encourage participation in sports. (Passed by consensus.)
- The department’s office for civil rights should make clear that cutting teams to demonstrate compliance with Title IX is a disfavored practice. (Passed by consensus).
- The office for civil rights should allow schools to conduct interest surveys both on high school seniors bound for college and college students to use in demonstrating compliance with Title IX. (Approved 10-5.)
- In demonstrating “proportionality,” colleges and universities should exclude “nontraditional” students (typically students over age 23) when calculating male-female enrollment ratios. (Approved 9-4.)
- In demonstrating proportionality, walk-on athletes (team members who are not attending school on athletic scholarships) should not be included in the calculations of enrollment and apportioning of scholarships between men’s and women’s teams. (Approved 8-5.)
The panel deadlocked 7-7 on a proposal to allot 50 percent of participation opportunities for men and 50 percent for women, but allow a variance in compliance of 2 or 3 percentage points. And the panel unanimously voted down a recommendation to use regional numbers on male-female participation in high school sports as a basis for calculating what those numbers should be at colleges and universities.