Authors: Martha Marra, Ed. D.
DR. MARTY MARRA
201 HIGH STREET
FARMVILLE, VA 23909
Dr. Marty Marra is an Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education at Longwood University in Farmville, VA. Dr. Marra has been involved in education for 30 years and continues to research and study in the areas of pedagogy, professionalism, current trends and gender equity issues in health, physical education and athletics.
Co Authors: Fred J. Cromartie, Ed. D.
DR. FRED CROMARTIE
ONE ACADEMY DRIVE
DAPHNE, AL 36526
Dr. Fred J. Cromartie, is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the United States Sports Academy.
This study discusses the findings from research which was conducted in 2015. The researcher compared the perceptions of male and female athletic directors towards gender equity in their athletic programs using faith-based institutions of higher learning. The purpose of the study was to identify factors which predicted compliance with Title IX from athletic administrators at the collegiate level between two groups of faith-based institutions; those who belonged to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and those who did not belong to the organization (NCCCU) but were faith-based institutions. The sample comprised of 230 colleges and universities; 115 were members of the CCCU organization and 115 were not members (NCCCU). The response rate was 52.6% with 121 surveys being returned from 230 that were sent. The study included the participation of 70 men and 51 women athletic administrators. Overall findings suggested that the women athletic administrators were less satisfied with Title IX provisions and policies than were the men athletic administrators. Media coverage, practice times, and locker room facilities were also considered inequitable from the perspectives of the female athletic administrators. The men athletic administrators were satisfied overall with the provisions for both male and female athletic programs. The disproportionate number of males to females in the study raised questions about gender equity within athletic administration. Studying gender equity within collegiate athletics provides information of how gender inequity can be perpetuated in a culture where athletics are revered, at times, above academia.
Keywords: Perceptions, Faith based, Higher Learning, Title IX, Athletic Administrators, Gender Equity
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 paved the way for student-initiated litigation claiming discrimination in intercollegiate athletics. In 1972, legislators who would pass the new law called “Title IX” had no idea of its far-reaching effect on society and in athletics. Those simple but powerful words read: “No person in the United States shall, based on sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” (Title IX, 1979). Despite its overwhelming success, many of the critical issues surrounding Title IX, from its historic beginnings to its impact on changing gender roles, remain hidden in misinformation for many Americans. Lawsuits ensued at a dramatic pace and opportunities excelled for women to participate in athletics throughout the nation.
During the last 35 years, the proportion of female coaches compared to men coaches, has become smaller. Since the inception of Title IX in 1972, women’s sports have skyrocketed in participation but the proportion of women coaches has plummeted (Welch & Sigelman, 2007). Although a glass ceiling still exists in many professions, women have surpassed the number of men in academia and professional leadership positions (Welch & Sigelman, 2007). Regarding the increasing numbers in academia and professional leadership positions, in contrast, women now hold only four of 10 coaching positions in collegiate athletics (Welch & Sigelman, 2007).
Sports have been labeled “men’s work” because many sport organizations have been dominated by men including the management of those organizations (Diacin & Yup Lim, 2012). Previous and current studies conducted on intercollegiate athletics provides continued examination of Title IX issues as they relate to the equity of male/female athletic administrators, equality within athletic programs and a general perception of the respondents as it relates to Title IX implementation and job satisfaction. A study conducted by Tressel and Krotee (1993) was used to provide feedback from athletic administrators regarding their perceptions of how Title IX was implemented in their athletic programs. The gender equity survey created by Tressel and Krotee (1993) was used as a springboard in which Conran (2000) added to and developed further for her study of gender equity within two school systems. The survey used by both groups included questions about policies, procedures, provisions, and barriers to Title IX implementation within their respective athletic programs.
Another study using a similar survey was conducted by Causby (2010) in which he examined the gender equity within athletic departments at two-year community colleges. The data showed comparable results of the perceptions of gender equity on a smaller scale with regards to athletics at community colleges. Findings from these studies showed a lack of gender equity within the programs as suggested by the data collected from the surveys. In a study conducted by Marra (2015), the data collected was separated by gender and showed that female athletic administrators were less satisfied with the policies, procedures, and provisions for female athletes than for male athletes within their respective institutions (Marra, 2015). Although many studies exist on the status of four-year institutions and gender equity in athletics, little work has been done to explore two-year colleges.
In a study conducted by Parks, Russell, Wood, Robertson, and Shewokis (1995), the researchers focused on the paradox of women in athletic administration as it related to job satisfaction. Their findings suggested that even though the women athletic administrators were making far less in salaries than the men and had less advancement opportunities, they still rated high on job satisfaction. Findings suggested that the women holding the roles primarily for men, were quite satisfied with their jobs because of the pride in their pioneering spirit in breaking the glass ceiling (Parks et al., 1995). Another study conducted by Diacin and Yup Lim (2012), suggested that women are scarce in the field of athletic administration due to several factors which include familial responsibilities, gender ideologies, and informal social networks such as the good old boys club that have negatively influenced female representation within athletics.
(information in this section is replicated from the following article previously published by the researcher: Marra, 2016).
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to identify factors which predict compliance with Title IX between male and female athletic administrators at the collegiate level of faith-based institutions, using a gender equity survey. The objective of this study was to examine the perceptions between male and female athletic administrators regardless if they were members of the CCCU organization or not, to predict compliance through the general provisions, policies, and procedures established in Title IX legislation as well as barriers to compliance. The study also explored whether factors associated with male and female athletic administrators could predict how the provisions, policies, and procedures established to measure Title IX compliance through a gender equity survey are monitored and applied. Lastly, the study explored the perceived barriers that inhibit Title IX compliance within universities and colleges within the faith-based community. The following terms are defined for this study:
Barriers to Compliance: Any obstacle that is in the way of meeting compliance of Title IX mandates.
CCCU: Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; Intentionally Christian Institutions (CCCU, 2014).
Faith-based non-CCCU (NCCCU): Colleges and Universities that are faith-based and similar in admissions, enrollment, sport offerings, programs, and religious affiliation to CCCU schools but are not members of the CCCU organization.
Policies and Procedures: The guidelines or methods established for each institution which determine how issues relating to Title IX compliance are governed, monitored, and regulated (Conran, 2000).
Provisions of Title IX: The provisions established by the Office of Civil Rights, which determine if equal opportunities are provided in athletic programs offered by educational institutions. Provisions refer to equipment and supplies, scheduling of practice times and games, travel and accommodations, coaching salaries and responsibilities, training for coaches, locker room and training facilities, media coverage, enrollment proportionality, compliance to Title IX, a history of continued program expansion, and interest and abilities of under-represented gender is represented (O’Brien & O’Brien, 1995).
The focus of this quantitative study was to collect descriptive data relating the perceptions regarding Title IX compliance items from men and women athletic administrators at the collegiate level regardless if they were members of the CCCU or not, and from athletic administrators at the collegiate level. The objective of the study was to determine if there were differences in the perceptions between men and women athletic administrators in the three areas of compliance, and to determine if there were differences in the perceptions between athletic administrators who represented faith-based institutions, in the three areas of compliance.
The goal of the gender equity survey was to examine the athletic administrators’ responses to the questions, to examine the variability in the responses between the two groups, and to study the responses primarily from the similar groups being studied. From the data, the researcher used the findings to generalize about perceived gender equity as it related to Title IX compliance from the responses given in the survey.
The sample consisted of Athletic Administrators (Athletic Director, Assistant/Associate Athletic Director, Senior Woman Administrator, and Compliance Officer) who were members of the CCCU organization and those who were not, but who belonged to similar, faith-based institutions. The institutions involved in the study were in the United States specifically chosen for their faith-based mission statements. A description of the study, an invitation to participate, and an embedded link for the survey using Google Forms, was sent to a distribution email list to the specific athletic administrators whose schools were in the United States. The demographic summaries for CCCU and NCCCU participants are shown in Table 1.
A web-based survey was administered using Google Forms. The survey used direct questioning with a Likert scale format to obtain athletic administrators’ perceptions related to the provisions and perceived barriers to Title IX implementation for their respective programs. The survey asked participants to respond with a “yes” or “no” or a “no answer” to a series of questions designed to assess how they perceived policies and procedures within their respective athletic programs according to Title IX mandates (Conran, 2000). Specific demographic information was asked to include key institutional variables for this researcher for further study. The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) report was also examined and information from the reports were included for further study. The researcher was pleased with the response rate from the respondents selected. Table 2 presents the response rates from the groups included in the study.
The purpose of the study was to compare and analyze the perceptions of men and women athletic administrators and all athletic administrators from faith-based institutions, through the gender equity survey which included specific variables which align with Title IX compliance. The analysis identified the perceived level of institutional compliance and the barriers that athletic administrators face when attempting to fully comply with Title IX mandates. A concern for this study was the difficulty in controlling the threat to internal validity of the survey. Respondents who completed the survey were in multiple locations under uncontrolled situations. The participant was asked to answer confidentially without any assistance from others. Information was given on how to access the survey and who the expected participant was to be.
The researcher’s primary source for data as it relates to gender equity in participation was the Equity and Athletic Disclosure Act (EADA). The second source for data used by this researcher was a gender equity survey created by Conran (2000). The data analysis from this study contributes to the overall understanding and application of gender equity with regards to Title IX compliance within the CCCU athletic programs. Until now, studies conducted examining gender equity in athletics for the CCCU schools had never been pursued. The data allowed for comparisons between the perceptions of men and women athletic administrators at faith-based institutions through responses on a gender equity survey. The data also allowed the summaries from the findings to provide pertinent information to athletic administrators which can be used to evaluate and elevate their progress with regards to Title IX compliance and gender equity in a quality athletic program. The study analyzed and compared the data collected to determine if significant differences existed between the respondents’ answers who were members of the CCCU and those who were not. In addition, the researcher was interested in examining if significant differences existed between the perceptions of men and women athletic administrators towards the three areas of questioning in the gender equity survey. The findings from the differences between the men and women administrators are shared below.
The comparison study of the perceptions of male and female athletic administrators towards gender equity in collegiate athletics showed a consistent trend of lower ratings from female participants than male participants in the areas of provisions, policies, and procedures of Title IX compliance, but no significance in the barriers to compliance. The differences between the male and female athletic administrators were more significant in policies and procedures (p = 0.006). Barriers did not have significance in relation to the genders.
The men athletic administrators responded with higher numbers, thus indicating a positive view of provisions, policies, and procedures whereas the women administrators responded with lower numbers indicating a negative view or inequality in the overall gender equity of policies and procedures (Table 3).
The overall data indicated that both genders scored relatively high on the questions relating to provisions and barriers, which indicated agreement in the overall provisions associated with their athletic programs, but further examination showed women scored lower on provisions than the men.
Provisions include equipment and supplies, scheduling of practice times and games, travel and accommodations, coaching salaries and responsibilities, locker room and training facilities, media coverage and enrollment proportionality. Although the two groups of administrators felt that both genders were treated equally in provisions when comparing men and women administrators’ overall responses, further investigation into the data suggested that the women administrators were less satisfied with the provisions, policies, and procedures and therefore, had lower scores on this portion of the survey. The comparison data between men and women athletic administrators’ perceptions toward provisions showed significant differences in specific areas. Women administrators scored lower, meaning less satisfaction, in the provision of supplies, coaching positions per athlete, publicity, and recruitment of student athletes. The policies and procedures are the guidelines or methods established for each institution which determines how issues relating to Title IX compliance are governed, monitored, and regulated (Conran, 2000). Women administrators scored lower on this portion of the survey, suggesting that the policies and procedures were not well publicized nor properly communicated at their institutions.
Despite the overall agreement in the data comparing the perceptions between men and women administrators on barriers to compliance, some significant differences were found with further data testing in specific responses from women in the following areas: administrations’ attitudes limit growth, insufficient coaches for the under-represented gender, and the lack of respect towards athletes. It was unclear if the lack of respect was from men to women so further study is needed to pursue this data (Marra, 2016).
Table 3 presents the results of the Mann-Whitney U test regarding the perceptions between the genders towards the provisions, policies and procedures, and barriers regarding Title IX compliance.
The gender differences showed a consistent trend of lower ratings from female participants (as indicated by negative Z statistics; male was coded as 1, and female coded as 2). However, this difference was only significant (Z=-2.74, p<.01) for the policies and procedures section. Men responded with higher numbers in agreement towards policies and procedures than did the women indicating that the men were more satisfied with the policies and procedures at their institutions. Women were less satisfied with the policies and procedures and therefore, they had lower scores on this portion of the survey. The data also indicated that both genders scored relatively high on the questions relating to provisions and barriers, which indicated that they agreed that the overall provisions associated with their athletic programs were equally provided for in their programs.
When comparing the two groups without regard to gender, the CCCU and the NCCCU groups did not demonstrate significant differences in provisions (Marra, 2016). The findings between the genders of athletic administrators’ perceptions of policies and procedures were significantly different in that the men scored higher in policies and procedures than the women. This indicated that the men administrators agreed with the information about Title IX being accessible and sufficiently presented to their colleagues as well as their athletes (Marra, 2016). Women administrators scored lower in policies and procedures indicating that they were not as satisfied as the men that the necessary information regarding Title IX was accessible or sufficiently presented to their colleagues or their athletes (Marra, 2016).
Title IX has been perceived as an undesirable challenge by some athletic administrators and the candidates who participated in this study when separated by gender, indicated that they perceived the provisions, policies and procedures were not necessarily provided for equally within their athletic programs as perceived by the two genders of athletic administrators. Regarding the same data generated on the survey, the CCCU and NCCCU institution respondents indicated that their perceptions of the provisions, policies and procedures were provided for equally within their athletic programs (Marra, 2016).
Men vs. Women in Perceptions of Gender Equity in Athletics
This study focused on four year institutions and did not consider using two year institutions at any time. The literature about gender equity and athletic participation from community colleges is minimal, however, more research in this area needs to be conducted. In Thornton’s, The Community Junior College (1972), community college athletes were identified as a special student population. Most students who attend community colleges enjoy a brief period of college life which includes them as spectators rather than participants in sporting events (Thornton, 1972). Graduation rates appear low from community colleges but one must consider that most students attend to reach a certain status in their program and transfer elsewhere to finish their degree. In Cohen and Brawer’s “The American Community College” (2003) “athletics” is only mentioned two times. While in community college, classes and events are typically planned around academics so students can participate fully in classes as well as attend or participate in athletic events. With lower numbers of athletes involved in community colleges, the case for allowing students to compete is important. Thornton noted that intercollegiate athletic participation in community colleges benefits students who might not otherwise attend college at all (1972). With this information, gender equity is not fully represented in studies conducted and therefore, data is minimal in this area. In a study completed by Stokes (1979), it was concluded that junior college athletics develops pride in their students as well as teaches appropriate social skills. Offering athletics at the community college level also increases and encourages enrollment from students who might not attend for academics alone (Stokes, 1979). More studies must be conducted on 2-year institutions in the area of gender equity in order to examine how athletic departments are implementing Title IX mandates.
Overall, the results from this study indicated that both the CCCU and the NCCCU institutions’ athletic administrators similarly perceived that their schools followed Title IX legislation and provided equally for both genders in the athletic programs (Marra, 2016).
The data from the male and female respondents indicated that the provisions to support both men and women athletics were not provided for equally. Women administrators scored lower noting less satisfaction than men in the areas of supplies, coaching positions per athletes, publicity, facilities and recruitment of student athletes (Marra, 2016). When comparing the policies and procedures between men and women athletic administrators, the data indicated that the amount of Title IX information provided by professional associations was adequate. The findings indicated that the scores for men were higher, suggesting that they were more satisfied with the communication of the policies and procedures than the women administrators. Women administrators scored lower in the Title IX self-evaluation and had fewer “yes” answers overall than the men administrators on that portion of the survey. This is a significant finding in the study as it demonstrates the importance of how current information of the policies and procedures of Title IX compliance is disseminated and how athletic administrators’ understanding could improve if given the proper information in a timely manner (Marra, 2016).
There were some differences in perceptions between the men and women athletic administrators towards the barriers to Title IX compliance. Both genders agreed that barriers do exist in their respective programs, but women scored lower (less satisfaction) on specific questions than the men. The areas where women were not in agreement with the men regarding barriers were administrators’ attitudes toward growth, insufficient coaches for under-represented gender and lack of respect from others. It was unclear to the researcher if the lack of respect was between male/female athletic administrators or between male/female administrators and athletes of different genders. Further research is needed to specifically define these findings.
Overall scores throughout the study indicated that both genders as well as both the CCCU and NCCCU schools agreed that genders were provided for equally in their respective athletic programs. However, when this researcher examined more closely the relationships of the data within the genders of the administrators, differences were noted and the need for further examination to clearly identify those differences is suggested.
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