The NeW Review Policy Edition: The History of Title IX

Although it is the application of Title IX to athletics that has gained the greatest public visibility, the law applies to all aspects of education, including course offerings, counseling and counseling materials, financial assistance, student health and insurance benefits and/or other services, housing, marital and parental status of students, physical education and athletics, education programs and activities, and employment. 


Title IX states that, “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.” 

History of Title IX 

Title IX was enacted in 1972 as a follow up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964; in that Act, race, color, religion, sex, and national origin were covered as protected classes, but only in areas of employment and public accommodation. Title VI, also enacted in 1964, prohibits discrimination in federally funded private and public entities. It covers race, color, and national origin, but excluded sex.  

During the early 1970s, feminists lobbied Congress to add sex as a protected class category. Title IX was enacted to fill this gap and prohibit discrimination in all federally funded education programs. 

Title IX and Sports 

A focus of Title IX has been around athletic programs, which are considered educational programs and activities. According to the NCAA, there are three basic parts of Title IX as it applies to athletics:  

Participation: Title IX requires that women and men be provided equitable opportunities to participate in sports. Title IX does not require institutions to offer identical sports but an equal opportunity to play;                           

Scholarships: Title IX requires that female and male student-athletes receive athletics scholarship dollars proportional to their participation; and                           

Other benefits to women athletes: Title IX requires the equal treatment of female and male student-athletes in the provisions of: (a) equipment and supplies; (b) scheduling of games and practice times; (c) travel and daily allowance/per diem; (d) access to tutoring; (e) coaching, (f) locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities; (g) medical and training facilities and services; (h) housing and dining facilities and services; (i) publicity and promotions; (j) support services and (k) recruitment of student-athletes. 

Unintended consequences: There have also been some negative, unintended consequences from the policy. Prior to Title IX, women held the vast majority (90%) of head coaching positions for women’s college teams. After Title IX, money was poured into women’s sports programs, and many male coaches followed. According to a 2021 report from The Institute For Diversity And Ethics In Sport (TIDES), women now hold only 41.1% of coaching positions for female collegiate sports.  

Title IX is also often blamed for the cutting of male collegiate sports programs, as it’s proven to be difficult for schools to equally allocate resources across genders and sports when the budgets (and revenues) from football and basketball are considered. 

Additionally, Title IX has hindered programs aimed at bringing more women into STEM fields. Scholarships or programs that were traditionally intended solely for women were deemed “discriminatory” against men under Title IX.  

This post gives you an overview of the history of Title IX. Stay tuned for our next post on the impact of Title IX more recently.  



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