Steve Forbes Weighs in on Title IX

By Steve Forbes

NEW YORK, November 21. THE Bush administration should reconsider its capitulation on reforming the enforcement of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

This law was intended to ensure equal opportunity for women in higher education, and it did. But in the area of athletics, alas, Washington bureaucrats perverted the original intent and, instead, promulgated rigid and ridiculous quotas. Thus, if a college's enrollment is 55% female, the proportion of students in its athletic programs must also be 55% female. If it's less, the feds will come after the institution with sexual discrimination lawsuits.

This is an utter perversion of equal opportunity. It matters not a whit that at the college level men are more apt to go out for competitive sports than are women. If 50 guys wish to play baseball and only 25 women wish to, then Washington's gender-quota police will say: Shrink the men's baseball program. The result has been a wholesale cutting of men's sports programs. Wrestling has been especially hard hit, but men's baseball, tennis and track, among other sports, have been as well.

Not so long ago the Administration indicated that it would bring common sense back to Title IX. After all, most Americans understand the difference between equal opportunity and equal results. What they want is fairness, not preordained outcomes. But fearful of being labeled antiwoman by radical feminists, the White House caved in and left the unacceptable status quo in place. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, it exhibited "no more backbone than a chocolate éclair."

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