Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, renamed in 2002 the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in honor of its principal author, but more commonly known simply as Title IX, is a United States law enacted on June 23, 1972. The law states: "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..."
Although the most prominent aspect of Title IX is its impact on high school and collegiate athletics, the original statute made no explicit mention of athletics.
Although the Civil Rights Act was originally written in order to end discrimination based on color, the act tremendously helped to energize the Women’s Rights movement which had somewhat slowed after women’s suffrage in 1920.
Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says that any institution receiving federal or state funding may not discriminate against anyone based on sex. The act was passed in 1972 as a result of combining acts VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act. Title VI states that, “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Title VII forbids discrimination in hiring and employment based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. In the context of Title IX and women’s rights it is important to note that Title VI includes no mention of gender bias whereas Title VII does.
After signing the Civil Rights act a few years earlier, in 1967, President Johnson issued a series of executive orders in order to make some clarifications. Before these clarifications were made, the National Organization for Women (NOW) persuaded President Johnson to include women in his executive orders. The most notable order was Order 11246 which required all entities receiving federal contracts to end discrimination in hiring. In 1969, emerging activist, Bernice Sandler used the executive order to help her fight for her job a the University of Maryland. She used university stats showing how female employment at the university had plummeted as qualified women were replaced by men. Sandler brought her grievance to the Department of Labor’s Office for Federal Contract Compliance where she was encouraged to file a formal complaint. Citing inequalities in pay, rank, admissions and much more, Sandler began to file complaints not only against the University of Maryland but numerous other colleges as well. Working in conjunction with NOW and Women’s Equity Action League (WEAL), Sandler filed 250 complaints against colleges and universities.
In 1970, Sandler joined Representative Edith Green’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and sat in on the congressional hearings where women’s rights were discussed. It was in the congressional hearings that Green and Sandler first proposed Title IX. Title IX was drafted and introduced by Congresswoman Patsy T. Mink, with the assistance of Congresswoman Green. In the hearing there was very little mention of athletics. Their focus was more specifically on the hiring and employment practices of federally financed institutions. The proposed Title IX created much buzz and gained a lot of support. Title IX was passed into law on June 23, 1972. The wording of Title IX is very brief so specific language and clarifications on the implementation were very important. President Johnson charged the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) with this important task. It wasn’t until this step that everyone truly understood the ramifications of Title IX as it would apply to college athletics.
Worried about how it would affect men’s athletics, many people became concerned and looked for ways to limit the influence of Title IX. One such attempt was by Senator John Tower who introduced an amendment to exempt revenue producing sports from Title IX compliance. Later that year the Tower amendment was rejected and the Javits amendment was put in its place. The Javits amendment, proposed by Senator Jacob Javits, stated that the HEW must include “reasonable provisions considering the nature of particular sports.”
After nearly two years of debate, in June 1975, HEW published the final regulations as to how Title IX would be enforced. The regulations specify things like how many female athletes a college needs to have, which sports to offer, and the level of competition each is expected to have. The regulations do qualify that the budgets of men's and women's sports do not have to be equal but should be comparable. Universities were given 3 years to comply with these standards.
The NCAA and many universities were not happy about the decisions made by the HEW. The NCAA tried unsuccessfully to claim that the implementation of Title IX was illegal. A revised Tower amendment was proposed and many debates were had but Title IX stood. A few years later, in 1979, the HEW issued further clarifications which broke down compliance into three sections. This became known as the three-pronged test for compliance. The three prong test has been highly controversial throughout its conception. In 1980 the Department of Education (DOE) was established and given oversight over title IX through the Office for Civil Rights.