Interests in sport, athletics and physical activity have expanded dramatically since the 1960s. In recent years, this interest has been influenced by social, economic, cultural, and technological issues. For example, many influential sociological studies have focused on the impact of globalization and the economic power of sport industries. They have also explored the intersection of sport and national identity. And, for those interested in physical activity, there are also many opportunities for personal development and enjoyment.
University representatives should make statements about the role of athletics in the institution, and how it fits in with the institution’s mission. These statements should be a standard part of public communications, particularly during major athletic events. In addition, institutions should emphasize the welfare of student-athletes in their decision-making processes.
Athletics leaders should treat student-athletes equally with other students who have extracurricular commitments. This means that academic advising should take into account athletic participation, and athletic participation should not restrict student-athletes’ choices in majors or electives. Finally, athletic leaders should integrate student athletes into campus-wide life-skills programs.
In addition, institutions should make sure that their participation opportunities match enrollment. If enrollments grow rapidly, a new program should not only offer more athletic opportunities to more students, but also ensure that they are equally competitive and enjoyable. Similarly, institutions should not require students to participate in the same sport as male athletes.
The Athletics Director and the Office of Institutional Research should consider whether women’s interests in athletics are present at a particular time. This interest can arise through the existing intramural or club sports or from periodic surveys conducted by student affairs staff. Students may also initiate requests for new club sports. However, students must follow the university’s rules for starting a recognized student organization.
The Department of Education (DOE) has implemented a process called Title IX, which has significantly increased the involvement of women and girls in athletics at all levels. The OCR works with institutions to help them comply with Title IX. It offers technical assistance to schools that have implemented the policy. And, in many cases, the results are positive for the athletics enterprise. The federal government has a strong interest in women’s participation in athletics.
Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs. This means that schools must offer athletic programs that are equivalent for both sexes. Typically, courts look at three criteria when evaluating whether a school accommodates athletic interests of both genders. They include:
If a member has a specific athletic interest at a particular college, they can file a complaint against the university. It is important to note that they have not made a complaint regarding the school’s athletics department, however, as the complaint does not name female athletes. Thus, the organization’s claim of proportionality must be rejected.