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Jewish World Review July 31, 2001 / 11 Menachem-Av, 5761

Ann Coulter

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Title IX defeats male athletes -- STEPHEN NEAL, a world champion wrestler, was captain of the wrestling team at California State University-Bakersfield when the school cut the team. It wasn't a question of resources. There were just too many male athletes. Federal law made CSU do it.

Between 1981 and 1999, NCAA and NAIA colleges eliminated 40% of their wrestling teams. In a related development, at the 2000 Olympics in Australia, U.S. freestyle wrestlers failed to win a single gold medal for the first time since 1968.

Men's teams are being decimated in pursuit of an insane feminist dream that has morphed into federal policy: to make women's sports equal to men's.

It's impossible, of course. Competitive sports are ritualized forms of fighting, and boys like to fight. The bulk of participants in intramural college sports, which are entirely voluntary, are men. Meanwhile, women are overrepresented in many other extracurricular activities, such as drama and music.

But to state that women are not as interested in competitive sports as men is heresy. So federal policy causes colleges to eliminate men's teams or face expensive litigation that the colleges will probably lose. According to Congress' General Accounting Office, colleges eliminated 171 men's wrestling teams, 84 men's tennis teams and 56 men's gymnastics teams between 1981 and 1999.

It is astonishing that the American people haven't caught on. Proud collegiate traditions are being destroyed, and athletes such as Neal are being hurt, all in pursuit of the feminists' grand scheme to change nature. Any civilized society would think it's a joke, but the average American is unaware of the federally driven elimination of men's teams.

Not enthusiastic enough?

The underlying law, known as Title IX, may soon be put on trial. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., has ominously stated that he has "serious concerns" about President Bush's nominee to the federal office responsible for enforcing this law. The nominee, Gerald Reynolds, served as president of the Center for New Black Leadership. Kennedy and his feminist backers have made clear that they believe Reynolds is insufficiently dedicated to Title IX.

Ironically, the current interpretation of Title IX actually violates the law's own language (to say nothing of the Constitution), which forbids gender discrimination in college programs. Cutting men's teams in the name of gender parity is gender discrimination.

Title IX is the only area of law where illegal discrimination is assumed. Any college that deviates from the feminist ideal of how the world ought to look must cut men's teams to come into line. Not only is the burden of proof inverted, but also no evidence of non-discrimination can ever suffice - only forced quotas.

Equal news coverage, too?

The perpetrators of imagined discrimination against female athletes are unusual suspects. The same American colleges that have elevated feminist studies to college majors are said to be invidiously and hatefully discriminating against female athletes. Even The New York Times has been blamed for the lack of interest in female sports. A 1999 study out of DePauw University pointedly noted that only 6.7% of the newspaper's sports stories covered female athletes. It seems that until the day when women's basketball gets as many column inches as the New York Knicks, men's college teams must be cut.

Title IX represents the ultimate totalitarian folly. You cannot force women to take up boxing or force men to watch it. There is no vast market for women's sports outside of Sable of the World Wrestling Federation --- and the less said about that the better.

More ought to be said, however, about Title IX. Perhaps the Reynolds nomination will open the door. The law -- the real law, and not the federal policy enforcing it -- simply prohibits gender discrimination. It is not a charter for crazed feminist social engineering.

JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton. You may visit the Ann Coulter Fan Club by clicking here.

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