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Review of New Book about Title IX

Discussion in 'Men's Artistic Gymnastics (MAG)' started by Madden3, Aug 4, 2018.

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  1. Hollowarchkick, sce and jenjean70 like this.
  2. The review states the author claims Title lX does not apply to club sports. It does.

    The role of Title lX in the demise of men's intercollegiate gymnastics has been grossly exaggerated. It didn't help, but it's only one part of the story. The author of the book chooses 1996 as some watershed date because of Norma Cantu's letter calling proportionality a "safe haven". The men's NCAA was already down to 28 teams in 1996.

    A good book to read to understand Title lX is "A Place on the Team: The Triumph and Tradgedy of Title lX". I would say the author supports the law, but he doesn't shy away from the negative consequences that it had on men's non revenue sports. He does a good job of describing what happened in both the legislature and the courts without taking one side or the other.
  3. OK, folks, you're in my wheelhouse now. Christina Hoff Sommers is not a policy expert, and I wouldn't trust her to take out Shep Melnick's garbage. I can elaborate at length if need be.

    Title IX does NOT apply to private club sports. It applies to state-sponsored or state-funded educational institutions.

    Here's more on the argument itself from the author: https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-strange-evolution-of-title-ix I don't entirely agree with him, and I know someone who is writing an even better and more interesting analysis of Title IX, but he has based his analysis on a careful reading of the policy history and the legal developments of administrative and judicial interpretations of the policy over time.
    sce and Mom2twingymnasts like this.
  4. I'm still trying to fully understand Title IX, so I don't have much to offer. I am wondering about the definition intended of "club sports". When I read that term in relation to colleges I assume it refers not to what my kids currently participate in (as in the private clubs/gyms that most of us pay for our kids to be on team with) but rather to school club sports, so for gymnastics primarily (I think) NAIGC. I honestly thought that even that fell outside of Title IX, but I'm now assuming that I was wrong?
    sce and jenjean70 like this.
  5. I did not use the word "private".

    The problematic sentence is ". In assessing the fairness of a school’s resource distribution, for example, why not consider the full array of athletic opportunities—from varsity, club, and intramural sports to dance, fitness, and outdoor exploration programs? " The writer is discussing school club sports, not private clubs. Title lX covers all university programs at institutions that recieve federal funds - and those programs include intramural and club sports.

    Unlike varsity sports teams, intramural and club sports usually don't have set numbers of participants, so it's harder to figure out if they are in compliance or not. The bigger reason is that particpants and others just don't bother filing Title lX complaints about intramural/club sports. Varsity sports are where the status, money, and attention are - so those get the lions share of attention when it comes to Title lX and athletics.

    This part makes no sense -

    "Melnick describes the chaos and expense that ensued (after Cantu's letter describing proportionality as a "save haven"). Colleges and universities generally have far more female than male students, yet far fewer women than men aspire to participate in varsity athletics. To keep their football teams and avoid losing even more male wrestlers, baseball players, and swimmers, most schools have opted to devote a greater share of their athletic budgets to varsity sports."

    Schools devoting a huge part of their athletic budgets to varsity sports has nothing to do with Title lX, and long predated that letter. Trying to draw some line between Nick Saban getting paid 12 million dollars and Title lX is one of the most creative things ever.
  6. OK, I read Sommers' garbled account. Her failure to realize that Title IX covers university-sponsored club sports underlines my point about her lack of policy expertise. Read the book, not her review. I will resist the temptation to revive an argument about football's place in the problem. But given Melnick's analysis, it will be interesting to see where Title IX goes in light of the expected demise of the Chevron Doctrine, which promotes judicial deference to administrative guidelines and interpretations.
  7. Doesn't Sommers speak specifically to the problem of "varsity sports" which would of course include football? I thought that would please you profmom! Oh well. She reviewed the book, she did not write it! I suspect the author is ok with having a positive review from Sommers, whether she is qualified to take out his garbage or not. She is prominent on this issue and also promoted the book (and her review) on social media, which is the only reason I know about it.

    Again, those interested can read the book. That's why I posted this here. I certainly am saving my pennies! I have previously said what I am going to say on here about Title IX except this- it is NOT just about sports. Any parent would benefit from gaining a greater understanding about title IX.
    jenjean70 likes this.
  8. Christina Hoff Sommers is prominent on this topic because she tells some people what they want to hear. She gets a lot wrong and distorts a lot of the rest.

    There is not and never was any "scorched earth campaign against men's sports" that she likes to bring up. Men's sports include football and men's basketball.

    The way she wrote this review makes it sound like neither she nor the author know their subject matter very well. And that's on her.

    I'm no fan of the way Title lX is enforced when it comes to athletics. I'm still bitter about how the California men's gymnastics team was treated. Having to pay our own way, no scholarships - yet the women come back with 12 full rides, lots of university support - after years of Dubois running it into the ground and not lifting a finger to fundraise when there were rumors in 2010 her team would be cut. Sure is fun going up against Oklahoma with all walk ons! The word on the street is Men's Rugby was told they would have to pay for the women's teams if men's rugby wanted to be reinstated.

    Those who want the benefits should share the burdens, and because of the way Title lX is applied to athletics, that is not happening.

    I'm still mad.

    Current Title lX enforcement when it comes to athletics is as much about solving a math problem as it is about preventing discrimination. Treating male gymnasts as interchangable with football players just because they are the same sex makes no sense. The law should treat people as individuals, not simply members of a group.

    But people like Hoff Sommers are not helping. I think people like her are making things worse.
  9. Thanks for the book recommendation. This one sentence sounds pretty close to Sommer's take on Title IX so I am a little confused what is so dastardly about her that she is creating all this vitriol when it comes to this subject, but whatever. Personally, I have found her viewpoints on various issues enlightening for years. I guess I am just one of "those people."

    Like her or hate her, she just wrote the book's review. Here is another book looking at a serious problem and apparently offering some possible solutions. More voices, more info, more ideas- I guess I think that is all for the good.
  10. Spreading distorted ideas and what are at best half truth are never good things. When it comes to Title lX, that's mostly what Hoff Sommers has to offer.

    Hoff Sommers isn't the only perpatrator of this when it comes to Title lX. Many of its most vocal public supporters are every bit as guilty of spreading half truths and distortions as she is.

    If you really want to understand what's going on, read a bunch of law review articles and case law. Look at the sports participation data on the NCAA website. Listening to advocates on either side of the issue who are trying telling you what to think about it isn't the best way to understand it.
  11. I have no problem with Hoff Sommers and others like her saying whatever they think about feminism or "the culture" today or why everything is terrible and should be changed. When they get into the realm of policy analysis, however, and begin discussing the generation, legal interpretation, implementation, and/or outcomes of policy, they frequently do so with absolutely no serious empirical evidence or argumentation. People who do this kind of work spend years tracing the policy evolution and impacts to create well grounded arguments about what policy does and why it does it, often tracing out unintended effects through careful reading of interpretations and court cases and what happens on the ground when a policy begins to work. When all of that careful work is brushed aside by someone who talked to a couple of people and has an ideological axe to grind, it tends to irritate the heck out of people who do this work. It's all the more galling when said Big Thinker is situated as someone who's qualified in any way to evaluate the work of someone who has actually done the research on the ground as well as engaging with other scholars who've also done the research on the ground.

    I may have some thoughts about how to teach a Yurchenko; I've seen them taught at one gym. But that doesn't make me a good person to do a review and criticism of Coach P when he's teaching this vault, nor should anyone take my opinions about his technical progressions with any degree of seriousness. In everything I've ever seen from Hoff Sommers, her ideology comes first, her opinions come second, her chats with other people come third, and any serious engagement with meaningful evidence is a poor fourth if it comes in at all, and then only if it supports her point. I love a good argument on a theoretical level with someone in that vein, but I don't turn to them for serious discussions of policy, because that's not what they are doing. It's like when people of all stripes start bleating about the intentions of the framers of the US Constitution, when over there in the corner, there's this historian who's actually read more than just the Federalist Papers grinding her teeth and fending off an impending migraine.

    Sorry to be so crabby about this, but it's a common hot button among people who do this work.
    Flipfloppy likes this.
  12. So...Who may rightfully question policy? Who may rightfully point out any unintended (or intended) ill effects of policy? Who may dare to have a "serious discussion" about policy? Only those who make policy?

    It seems to me that "ideology" is only bad if it differs from your own ideology. After all, there would be no Title IX in the first place, if it were not for ideology. Some people with a certain ideology said "this is what is happening. This is why it is bad. We should do something about it." They said these things for a long time. And then some of them said "Here is a solution. "Government should do something about it. This is why this solution will work, here is why this solution alone is the best solution and we must do this," and some even said "you are anti-woman if you disagree that this is the only solution!"

    Those people were not "policy experts." They were philosophers. They were teachers. They were lawyers. They were scientists. They were doctors. They were artists, musicians and poets, for petes sake. They were also, ideological activists. And when the writers among them tried to persuade people to their point of view about this issue, they did not just list a bunch of facts. They used personal stories. They used anecdotes. They used emotion. Because that is how you connect readers to your writing and convince people to action. Of course, they used facts-and I assure you, so does Sommers and these mysterious "people like" Sommers. But I am willing to bet they promoted the facts that served their goals and downplayed the facts that did not.

    So what is so wrong with someone else, with perhaps a slightly different ideology, saying "Ok, yes, some of that was good. Very good. But now look at what else is happening. (The facts) Here is why it is bad. (the personal stories, the anecdotes.) Why did this happen and what can we do about it?"
    Hollowarchkick likes this.
  13. From a partisan or political standpoint, questioning policy is fine! And believe me, if the people who made policy paid a little more attention to the people who study it, we'd get fewer policies with crappy unintended consequences. My point is not that broad. It's simply that if you are interested in knowing about, as I said above, "the generation, legal interpretation, implementation, and/or outcomes of policy," opinion should stand far behind clear, carefully executed analysis.

    There's nothing wrong with ideology. Ideology can be a very important factor in the initiation of policy, and one that is, by my lights, relatively understudied. Many policy scholars get so tied up in identifying institutional policy windows and resources that they don't attend closely enough to how engaged individuals and groups are able to mobilize and use them effectively. For instance, I don't think you can come up with any kind of satisfying explanation for women's successful activism in the Progressive Era, before they even had the right to vote, without some account of ideology and culture. However, it's important to recognize that ideology is not this free-floating thing in the world that goes around doing things all by itself. That's where institutions come in, and that's where a lot of the people who write in popular media about this stuff tend to stop thinking and start shouting. I am no more a fan of Wendy Murphy than I am of Christina Hoff Summers.

    I happen to believe that ideology makes its way into all research, even if only at the point of the selection of the topic and framing of the question. However, there's a big difference between ideology driving those sorts of things and ideology blinding a person to a meaningful and honest analysis. If you ask a question to which you already know the answer, that's not research and should not be treated as such. Hoff Sommers is free to say all the reasons she thinks Title IX is bad, but she's not doing meaningful research on the topic. Melnick is. If you happen to agree with her opinions, that is cool. Just recognize that you are agreeing with her opinions.

    Let's take your question: "So what is so wrong with someone else, with perhaps a slightly different ideology, saying 'Ok, yes, some of that was good. Very good. But now look at what else is happening. (The facts) Here is why it is bad. (the personal stories, the anecdotes.) Why did this happen and what can we do about it?'" As you frame it, it could be a good start toward framing a research question. I could imagine it serving as the foundation for a good dissertation once the student worked back to identify a solid research question. The first step would be to determine what exactly is meant by "what else is happening." One or two personal stories does not mean that a policy itself is bad -- you need a way to determine whether the personal stories are representative of a broader range of bad effects that can be measured and understood. The scholars with whom I associate would try to trace back the genesis of these effects to figure out their source and how they have become entwined with the policy itself. But that work has to be done, and done well, before you get to the policy prescription stage.
    Flipfloppy likes this.
  14. Thank you for your thoughtful reply profmom. I still find your attitude a tad, well, dismissive. But I also see lots of room for common ground.

    My point exactly is that ideologues set the stage for social and political change. For better and for ill. (And whether something is better or worse is always going to be to be a matter of opinion-name the worst policy you can think off, including polices of or those resulting in slavery or genocide, and someone, somewhere, will defend it.) As far as it being free floating, well, certainly, sometimes it begins that way, and then it coalesces into an organized effort. Other times a particular ideology is pushed by an already existing entity or multiple entities with power and money seeking self serving policy changes. Sometimes it takes a very long time- centuries- for an ideology to begin to take root and begin to have money and power behind it, other times it happens very quickly, and of course, other times, an ideology simply fades away (sometimes temporarily) when it cannot get power or money behind it.

    Also, I find it interesting that you wonder that there was any progress for women before their ability to vote- I see it as the other way around- progress for women resulted in suffrage for women (in most western democracies) but suffrage in and of itself, while a watershed moment in policy for women's rights, and I think vitally important in and of itself, did little to improve women's lives directly at least in anything close to the immediate. Anyway, we could discuss these subjects endlessly. So I will return to the original subject for a few points.

    QUOTE="profmom, post: 565613, member: 11006"]One or two personal stories does not mean that a policy itself is bad -[/QUOTE] I would strongly disagree that problems linked to Title IX implementation involve one or two personal stories!

    Sommers and her qualifications: I am not sure what you have read by Sommers- in her books, she cites sources for the facts she presents therein like any other "scholar." Marginalizing her as a intellectual lightweight is a common tactic by those who disagree with her, but her education and backround as a "scholar" is solid but I am pretty sure she never claimed to be a "policy expert." My experience of her writing is that it is thoughtful, sympathetic and often humorous, and yes, at times, passionate. But she is not some ideological activist screaming slogans- (Although some activists like to scream slogans at her from time to time.) I do not pretend to have read every word she ever wrote of course. But I first read The War Against Boys (a book people mischaracterize all the time) about 15 years ago as a new mother of a boy searching for answers about some concerns I had about our education system. I only stumbled across her articles on Title IX when researching the issue of disappearing college mag teams.

    I have not read the book my OP was about actually yet. I have not even purchased it. (It's expensive.) But judging from this description: https://www.brookings.edu/book/the-transformation-of-title-ix/ it is bound to be chock full of facts, at least as much as a "good dissertation."
  15. Where is the evidence that Title lX destroyed men's college gymnastics?

    I would really like to know how people came to that conclusion.
    jamieintexas likes this.
  16. Neither agreeing nor disagreeing with any thing said thus far.....just have some articles related to this. They are old, but they provide some insight. I have not vetted these articles, just read them...


    I think in some cases Title IX is the scapegoat, but in the earlier articles, it may have helped start the decline..
    GymDad23 likes this.
  17. Huh? That is exactly what the book I posted about is about. If you really want to know, I guess read the book? I have to admit, I am confused by your posts. On the one hand you complain about Title IX and how it is enforced in athletics, on the other, you cannot conceive how anyone might suggest that the decimation of some men's sports including gymnastics could have had anything to do with Title IX.
    Hollowarchkick and GymDad23 like this.
  18. That book doesn't seem to have anything to do with the evidence that Title lX destroyed men's gymnastics. It's about the policy in general. As I pointed out above, the book makes a big deal of Norma Cantu's 1996 letter about the proportionality prong being a "safe haven" - by that time men's NCAA gymnastics was down to 28 teams.

    As for the second part or your question, the issue of a matter of degree. It's one thing to say Title lX had a some negative effect on a sport. It's another thing to say Title lX decimated or destroyed a sport. Quote were I said I believed Title lX had no effect at all on men's gymnastics. For the record, that is not what I believe. Men's gymnastics is likely worse off because of Title lX than it would have been if the "three part test" didn't exist. How much worse off is the question.

    It's complicated.

    I'll just have to read the book.
  19. Well yes, the book has a much wider scope than only one sport...I imagine a book only about the demise of Men's gymnastics would be a pretty poor seller.

    Amazon look inside tells me the book is in four parts. The two central portions cover the two areas of concern with Title IX. These are Athletics in part 2 and Sexual Harassment in part 4. So part 2 (4 chapters) apparently deals specifically with Title IX and athletics.

    You are correct, of course, you did not say "no effect" but you wondered how people could "come to the conclusion" that Title IX "destroyed" gymnastics, which to me sounded like you thought Title IX could have nothing to do with the 80% reduction in MAG college teams since passage. I am sorry for misinterpreting what you said.
  20. I don’t know the specifics of the law and I’m sure that will bring many conflicting opinions. I realize a law shouldn’t have anything to do with opinion but this topic and law seems to create that.
    Some things I know to have occurred...
    I had a friend that did gymnastics from childhood through high school. She didn’t receive a scholarship offer and was not a very high level gymnast. She went to a very good college and read an ad that was offering women’s scholarships for rowing. She’d never done the sport but was able to pay for her schooling with that opportunity. That was great for her.
    As a side...there was actually a school in the southwest that dug a waterway to offer women’s rowing to help with Title IX compliance.
    I don’t remember seeing these kind of opportunities.
    I did receive a division 1 scholarship for gymnastics. I was very fortunate as a male gymnast. I went to a top ranked school that also had a women’s program (not a top ranked program). The women, who I considered teammates and friends, went to Cancun a week early for spring break for a meet...”to get acclimated to the climate” the men took a three hour bus ride to a nearby school for our meet and drove back.
    I have coached men and women. I currently coach women and we have a very strong program. I’m incredibly proud of my kids and their accomplishments. However, there is no debating that girls have a much smoother route to a scholarship in this sport than the young men.
    Like I said, I’m not a policy expert but I have seen results over a long period of time. I believe that Title IX has been very good for the female athlete and that’s wonderful. But I can also see how it has had a negative effect on the young men who have put in the same hours, commitment, effort and struggle. I don’t know the answer but saying there isn’t anything concerning with the policy or at least the results is hard to reconcile.
    Jard.the.gymnast likes this.
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