Athlete Support for Title IX

Submitted by James N.  Druckman, Northwestern University; Mauro Gilli, Northwestern University; Samara Klar, University of Arizona; Joshua Robison, Northwestern University.


Purpose: Few policies have been deemed as successful as Title IX, which, in theory, ensures equal educational opportunities for women.  While the language of the law makes no mention of athletics, Title IX has nonetheless become a cornerstone of equality in athletics and the basis of expansion of sports programs for female athletes.  As with any public policy, however, there is much debate about the ramifications, potential, and implementation of Title IX.  Additionally, change and interpretation can be traced back, to a large extent, to public support or opposition.  Yet, virtually no work explores public opinion about Title IX, particularly among the very issue public most affected by the law: college athletes.

Methods: A wide-scale survey of opinion and knowledge of Title IX among college athletes.

Results: The key correlates explaining support for Title IX are identified.  A key finding is that nearly half of college respondents do not fully grasp the breadth of Title IX, which potentially limits the impact of the law.

Conclusions: Much educational efforts are needed concerning Title IX.

Application in Sport: The results show what characteristics shape support for Title IX, thereby providing guidance to individuals interested in promoting (or arguing against) the law.  Perhaps most importantly, many affected student-athletes do not fully understand Title IX and thus educational efforts continue to be needed.