Most Americans Favor Cutting Men's Sports to Add Women's, Poll Finds
By WELCH SUGGS
© Chronicle of Higher Education Bulletin:
Friday, June 23, 2000
Democrat or Republican, male or female, Americans strongly support
equitable financing for men's and women's sports -- even if that means
cutting men's teams, according to a new poll commissioned by The Wall
Street Journal and NBC News.
In the poll of 2,010 adults, 79 percent said
they approved of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal
law that prohibits institutions that receive federal funds from
discriminating on the basis of sex in any program, including athletics. An
additional 14 percent said they did not approve of the law; 4 percent said
they did not know enough about it and 3 percent were not sure. In a
separate question, 76 percent of respondents said they approved of
back on men's athletics to ensure equivalent athletic opportunities for
women," while 19 percent said they disapproved of such cuts and 5 percent
were not sure.
The results did not vary much between different political
and demographic groups. Seventy percent of Republicans said they approved
of cutting men's sports, while 79 percent of Democrats did. Even men
favored making athletics programs more equal, 73 percent to 22 percent,
with the rest unsure. Women agreed, 79 percent to 16 percent.
to me that the issue is on the top of people's minds," said David Iannelli,
who with Robert Teeter conducted the poll for the Journal as part of a
special section titled "Women, Politics, and the Marketplace." Another
question on the survey asked whether women "count as much as men when it
comes to" six social issues like becoming doctors and lawyers, making
decisions about major purchases, and receiving financing for athletics
programs. Only 14 percent said they definitely believed that women were
receiving as much money as men, while 33 percent said that was sometimes
the case, and 37 said that was not the case at all.
"When you take a look
at parents and people getting used to seeing young women involved in
athletics, that makes [the question of equitable funding] a non-issue," Mr.
Iannelli said. He noted, though, that the poll did not ask specific
questions about the economics of sports, such as the fact that women's
athletics at the largest universities are often financed by revenues from
football and men's basketball.
While Title IX does not require colleges to
give the same amount of money to men's and women's sports programs or to
have equal numbers of male and female athletes, it does require them to
provide equitable resources and opportunities in a nondiscriminatory way.
The poll, conducted June 14-18, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2