World Cup win also a victory for Title IX
July 12, 1999
From Correspondent Jeff Flock
CHICAGO (CNN) -- Team USA's dramatic victory in the women's soccer World Cup might never have been if not for Title IX, a 1972 law barring sex discrimination in school sports and academics.
"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of 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," the law reads.
The U.S. Department of Education says that before Title IX, 26 percent of men and 18 percent of women earned college degrees. By 1995, the gap had closed to 27 percent of both men and women finishing college.
Larger gains have been made on the playing field. Fewer than 300,000 girls played high school sports before the 1972 law; by 1995, a record 2.2 million girls were suiting up.
Saturday's 5-4 sudden death victory over China has many in Congress hailing Title IX.
But others say Title IX has made only a dent in gender inequality.
According to a study of NCAA Division I colleges, there are fewer male undergraduates than females, but 63 percent of student athletes are male. And men's sports get 77 percent of athletic budgets.
Some schools are working to even out those percentages, by cutting men's budgets and even eliminating some sports.
A decision by Illinois State University to drop men's soccer prompted a lawsuit from a student who hoped to one day play as a professional.
"I was never under the impression that to provide women with opportunities was going to actually take away from men's," Jamie Burton said.
Female athletes argue that all they want is a chance to play.
Under Title IX, Sarah Tueting honed her hockey skills playing on boy's high school teams.
She later earned a gold medal as a goalie with the U.S. women's team at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
"If you have a dream and you want to go after that, then change the laws or take it to court," she said. "Stand up for yourself."
Soccer celebration moves to New York
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