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Gender Equity in Athletics: The Gap Narrows

The debate over athletics is a difficult one for Congress to settle. It has the features of what political scientists call redistributive policy. Such policies require that for some groups to get resources, others must be deprived of them. Thus, for women to gain opportunity, in the absence of infinite funding, money must be redirected from men’s sports. The question is, which men’s sports will take the hit? Will football and basketball be protected, while other men’s sports suffer? Or will the solution be to cut back on opportunities for women? In the One Hundred and Fourth Congress (1995-1997), with its new Republican majority, football advocates saw an opportunity to weaken Title IX; proposals circulated to require the Department of Education to issue new,“specific” guidelines on meeting the interests and abilities requirement.