Background

Congress enacted Title IX to serve as a catalyst against sex discrimination at federally funded academic institutions, to encourage the development of athletic programs for female student athletes, and to stimulate female participation in school sports. Within eleven years of Title IX’s enactment, statistics revealed that progress was being made toward these goals. In 1983, more than 150,000 women were participating in college sports, compared with 32,000 in 1972, while the number of colleges and universities offering athletics scholarships to women increased from 60 in 1974 to 500 in 1981. By 2000, about 151,000 women engaged in athletics in the NCAA and 2.8 million females engaged in high school sports.

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE), acting through the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), is primarily responsible for implementing Title IX. The OCR promulgates regulations to enforce Title IX, initiating administrative proceedings against alleged violators, and terminating federal funding for proven violators. Although neither Title IX nor any of its amendments expressly authorizes an individual to bring a lawsuit against a violator independent of an action brought by the DOE or OCR, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Title IX implies a private cause of action pursuant to which aggrieved individuals may seek redress for sex discrimination in federal court without first having exhausted their administrative remedies. Cannon v. University of Chicago (1979).


Inside Background