Forbes Piece: Title IX Isn’t Causing Men’s NCAA Program Cuts

Forbes story this month suggest that despite a common criticism from observers, studies show that Title IX requirements are not causing schools to cut men’s sports.

Title IX is a federal law passed in 1972 that outlaws sex-based discrimination in educational programs. Despite that broad umbrella, public discussion of Title IX almost always centers on athletics, which are considered educational programs when tied to high schools or universities.

In the late 1970s, officials created a three-prong test to help enforce Title IX within the sphere of school-based athletics. An educational institution must meet at least one of the three prongs of the test. Here are the three prongs, as laid out by the Forbes piece:

  • Proportionality Test: “provides a composition of athletic opportunities to men and women that is proportional to the gender composition of the student body.”
  • Program Expansion Test: “demonstrate consistent program expansion for women.”
  • Accommodation of Interest Tests: “show accommodation of student interests or abilities”

Many fans and observers suggest that in order to have equal opportunities for men and women, schools are cutting men’s sport opportunities rather than increasing opportunities for women. But the Forbes story runs through several key studies suggesting that may not be the case.

The Forbes piece runs through the logic behind the argument that Title IX is hurting men’s sports. Women’s sports are typically lower-revenue than their men’s sport counterparts, which could cause schools to cut non-revenue men’s sports to make financial space for women’s programs. But the Forbes piece cites a study from Daniel Marburger and Nancy Hogshead-Makar (an Olympic swimmer in 1984) noting that Division III schools had actually added men’s programs, while the cuts to non-revenue men’s sports were happening at the Division I level. Another writer, Katie Lee, argues that non-revenue men’s sports are being cut to funnel more money into revenue men’s sports, not to create space for women’s sports.

The Forbes piece also suggests that even if schools are out of compliance with the first prong of the test – as many schools still are – they can still gain Title IX compliance by showing progress in expanding women’s sport opportunities or showing a lack of interest in specific women’s sports among their student body. That leaves schools a way to earn Title IX compliance without cutting men’s sports to offset women’s programs equally.

You can read the full Forbes piece here.

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The Screaming Viking!



Not sure I agree at least from a D1 analysis. To be competitive in swimming at a D1 school you need full scholarships (9.9 for men?) a good to great facility, equipment and travel budget to go to meets and invites around the country and finally 2-3 coaches plus maybe a diving coach as well. DIII no athletic scholarships, probably safe to assume a lower travel and equipment budget than a D1 school. Facility is existing, so no additional costs there. so all DIII schools need are coaches and that expense. Again going to assume DIII coaches are paid significantly less than a D1 coach. I could be dead wrong and have no data to support…but just gut feel.


I have a few disputes with your calculation. Most, if not all, DI schools with men’s swimming also have women’s swimming, therefore the facility is not an added cost. Additionally, most men and women DI programs are combined and share coaches and some travel expenses. While teams have to hire another assistant or two and/or raise the salary of the head coach, it’s not a completely additional coaching staff.

Far West

Just like Rice and UC Davis. Facts.


I tend to disagree with this statement. It is true that DIII schools can’t give athletic scholarships and sometimes have smaller staffs. However, there are other considerations. With the rise in competitiveness of DIII programs, these schools are also now under pressure to update their facilities to get the best athletes. I myself passed up one school in part because of its outdated facility and went to a school with a nicer athletic center than many of its neighboring DI schools. Our rival DIII school just built an entirely new athletic facility as well. DIII’s also typically do not receive the same amount of sponsor money, ticket revenue, or alumni donations as big schools, and are constantly under financial pressure.… Read more »


Just a bunch of crap protecting Title IX. Was a victim in the early 1980’s of program cutting for Title IX. Need to take football out of the equation. Hopefully soon with the way it is going football will take itself out of the equation.


Your statements are contradictory. If football is the problem, then the problem isn’t providing women with athletic opportunities (Title IX).


Football is the problem because in order to comply with prong 1 of title 9 and give women 85 scholarships that men get in football, it is easier to drop other sports then add 3 womens sports.


Just add women’s football and leave the rest alone. If there aren’t enough women to join then aren’t you proving that you’re providing proportionate opportunities?

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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