Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bob Barr Signs Petition for Academic Sports Freedom; Presidential Candidate Urges Title IX Reform

Former Georgia Republican Congressman Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party’s Presidential candidate, has signed the College Sports Council’s petition calling for “straightforward and common-sense” reform of Title IX. On the 36th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, the CSC launched an online petition calling for reform of the unfair and inflexible regulations that govern Title IX.

“I am pleased to join the thousands of Americans including athletes, coaches, and parents and Olympic Greats who are calling for an end to Title IX’s gender quota system that has devastated so many of our collegiate sports programs,” said Congressman Barr.

Passed by Congress in 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

In 1979, the Carter Administration promulgated a three-point test of an institution’s compliance with Title IX. However, in order to avoid litigation, institutions have relied on the first prong, known as “proportionality.” In order to comply with the proportionality standard, the gender ratio of a school’s undergraduate student enrollment must mirror the gender ratio of the total number of athletes on its varsity sports. In turn, this has forced colleges and universities to either cut men’s teams or shrink their roster size in order to comply.

The Olympic sports of track and field, swimming, wrestling, and gymnastics have suffered the loss of hundreds of their collegiate teams since the passage of Title IX. These sports traditionally rank among the top medal earners for the US during the summer Olympics.

But if the Department of Education would carve a safe harbor for schools that would like to use online surveys to gauge student interest in athletics – one of the reforms called for in the petition – colleges and universities would be freed from complying with a de-facto quota system that has led to the elimination of so many men’s programs.

“As we watch our athletes compete in the Olympic games in Beijing, we can be proud not only of their tremendous athletic performances, but also of the uniquely American collegiate sports system that developed many of our Olympic competitors. It is a tragedy to see so many collegiate men’s teams that have produced Olympians for the US eliminated, like UCLA gymnastics and swimming, University of Miami diving, and Fresno State wrestling,” said Congressman Barr.

CSC President, Leo Kocher said, "Title IX reform is a big issue in the state of Georgia. There are tens of thousands of school age wrestlers in Congressman Barr's home state - but not a single NCAA wrestling program. In this case, the gender quota advocates in Washington DC, who have fought all reasonable measures to reform Title IX’s proportionality standard, are blocking the legitimate interests of the tax paying parents in Georgia. If the state’s schools were simply allowed to use online surveys to measure actual interest, they would be able to add wrestling programs without fear of running afoul of the law."

Recently the Georgia state House (House Resolution 246) and Senate (Senate Resolution 397) adopted resolutions urging the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and its member institutions to establish programs for intercollegiate wrestling.

As of earlier this week, the petition has drawn almost 4,900 signatures. The petition can be located online at:

Bob Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, where he served as a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, as Vice-Chairman of the Government Reform Committee, and as a member of the Committee on Financial Services. Prior to his congressional career, Barr was appointed by President Reagan to serve as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and also served as an official with the CIA. Since leaving Congress, Barr has been practicing law and has teamed up with groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the American Conservative Union to actively advocate every American citizens’ right to privacy and other civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Along with this, Bob is committed to helping elect leaders who will strive for smaller government, lower taxes and abundant individual freedom.
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