Commission set to ease Title IX gender equity rule

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration's Title IX commission appears set to recommend that the 30-year-old gender equity law in sports be made less rigid, a commission member said Monday.

The commissioner, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the "directions they are moving toward" include a less restrictive interpretation of the law's proportionality test. It also is expected to call for new surveys to gauge sports interest among student bodies.

"The majority seem to be in favor of some form of change," the commissioner said.

The Department of Education's 15-member Commission on Opportunity in Athletics will debate and vote on recommendations during public meetings Wednesday and Thursday. It must submit its final report to Education Secretary Rod Paige by Jan. 31.

The debate promises to be a lively one.

Some members, including U.S. national soccer team player Julie Foudy, are expected to argue for little change among the current standards. Others, notably Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow, are likely to urge substantial change that would make it easier for schools to comply.

A draft copy of the report, obtained Monday by The Associated Press, lists 24 recommendations culled from five public hearings across the country over the last five months.

The most controversial proposal was made by Yow. It would allow schools to have a 50-50 split of male and female athletes, regardless of the makeup of the student body.

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