Title IX changed the United States sports landscape when it passed 50-plus years ago, mandating equal support (financial and otherwise) for publicly-funded schools’ women’s sports programs. Now U.S. Representatives Mikie Sherrill (Dem, NJ) and Maria Salazar (Rep, FL) have introduced a bipartisan bill to further strengthen support of women’s sports at the collegiate level.
The proposed bill
The Women In Sports (WINS) reaches its goal by establishing a 16-member congressional commission to look at how the NCAA handles tournaments and other sports programs where men and women compete in separate divisions while competing in the same sport. The commission would then present its findings to the NCAA, which should then adopt to improve its oversight of equality.
- The commission will look at such tournaments as March Madeness, the Frozen Four and others and determine if the venues, training equipment, lodging and transportation, and overall budget are on equal footing. It will also look at licensing, media contracts and sponsors, although these are influenced by market value.
- Review the NCAA constitution and policies to ensure that policies strive for equality.
- Review the federal government’s support to ensure there is equality for both.
The makeup of the panel
The commission would be members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives chosen by each body’s leadership. Special consideration would be given to those with a professional background in college sports as athletes, coaches or administrators. There also be members who are strong advocates of Title IX compliance and gender equality.
The NCAA has made many improvements in the last few years, so it will be interesting to see what the commission would find. Watch this space for further developments.