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History of Title IX

History of Title IX

The Title IX of the Education Amendments was enacted by Congress and was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1972, prohibiting sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving any type of federal financial aid. For more information, check the accordion down below.
Foundations and Hearings

Title IX was enacted as a follow-up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 1964 Act was passed to end discrimination in various fields based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in the areas of employment and public accommodation. The 1964 Act did not prohibit sex discrimination against persons employed at educational institutions. A parallel law, Title VI, had also been enacted in 1964 to prohibit discrimination in federally funded private and public entities. It covered race, color, and national origin but excluded sex. Feminists during the early 1970s lobbied Congress to add sex as a protected class category. Title IX was enacted to fill this gap and prohibit discrimination in all federally funded education programs. Congressman John Tower then proposed an amendment to Title IX that would have exempted athletics departments from Title IX.

The Tower amendment was rejected, but it led to widespread misunderstanding of Title IX as a sports-equity law, rather than an anti-discrimination, civil rights law. While Title IX is best known for its impact on high school and collegiate athletics, the original statute made no explicit mention of sports. The United States Supreme Court also issued decisions in the 1980s and 1990s, making clear that sexual harassment and assault is a form of sex discrimination. In 2011, President Barack Obama issued guidance reminding schools of their obligation to redress sexual assaults as civil rights matters under Title IX. Obama also issued guidance clarifying the Title IX protections for LGBT students through Dear Colleague letters.

The precursor to Title IX was an executive order, issued in 1967 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, forbidding discrimination in federal contracts. Before these orders were issued, the National Organization for Women (NOW) had persuaded him through successful lobbying, or influencing, his aides or Members of Congress to include the addition of women. Executive Order 11375 required all entities receiving federal contracts to end discrimination based on sex in hiring and employment. In 1969, a notable example of its success was Bernice Sandler, who used the executive order to retain her job and tenure at the University of Maryland. She utilized university statistics to show how female employment at the university had plummeted as qualified women were replaced by men. Sandler then brought her complaints to the Department of Labor's Office for Federal Fair Contracts Compliance, where she was encouraged to file a formal complaint; later citing inequalities in pay, rank, and admissions, among others.

Sandler soon began to file complaints against the University of Maryland and other colleges while working with NOW and the Women's Equity Action League (WEAL). Sandler later filed 269 complaints against colleges and universities, which led to the events of 1970. In 1970, Sandler joined U.S. House Representative Edith Green's Subcommittee on Higher Education of the Education and Labor Committee, and observed corresponding congressional hearings relating to women's issues on employment and equal opportunity. In these hearings, Green and Sandler initially proposed the idea of Title IX. An early legislative draft was then authored by Representative Patsy Mink with the assistance of Representative Edith Green. At the hearing, there were mentions of athletics. The idea behind the draft was a progressive one in somewhat instituting an affirmative action for women in all aspects of American education.

Draft from Legislative Law to Public Law

Mink's initial draft of Title IX was formally introduced in Congress by Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana in 1971 who then was its chief Senate sponsor for congressional debate. At the time, Bayh was working on numerous constitutional issues related to women's employment and sex discrimination—including but not limited to the revised draft of the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA attempted to build "a powerful constitutional base from which to move forward in abolishing discriminatory differential treatment based on sex". As he was having partisan difficulty in later getting the ERA Amendment out of committee, the Higher Education Act of 1965 was on the Senate Floor for re-authorization; and on February 28, 1972, Bayh re-introduced a provision found in the original/revised ERA bill as an amendment which would become Title IX. In his remarks on the Senate Floor, Bayh stated, "we are all familiar with the stereotype [that] women [are] pretty things who go to college to find a husband, [and who] go on to graduate school because they want a more interesting husband, and finally marry, have children, and never work again”.

The desire of many schools not to waste a “man's place” on a woman stems from such stereotyped notions. But the facts contradict these myths about the”'weaker sex” and it is time to change our operating assumptions. He continued: "While the impact of this amendment would be far-reaching, it is not a panacea. It is, however, an important first step in the effort to provide for the women of America something that is rightfully theirs—an equal chance to attend the schools of their choice, to develop the skills they want, and to apply those skills with the knowledge that they will have a fair chance to secure the jobs of their choice with equal pay for equal work".

Title IX became public law on June 23, 1972. When U.S. President Nixon signed the bill, he spoke mostly about desegregation busing, and did not mention the expansion of educational access for women he had enacted.


Each institution or organization that receives federal funding must designate at least one employee as Title IX coordinator. Their duty is to oversee that Title IX is not being violated and to answer all questions pertaining to Title IX. Everyone must have access to the Title IX coordinator's name, address, and telephone number. In order to ensure compliance with Title IX, programs of both male and females must display no discrimination. This applies to athletics participation numbers, scholarships, program budgets, expenditures, and coaching salaries by gender.

Title IX's statutory language is brief. U.S. President Nixon therefore directed the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) to carry publish regulations clarifying the law's application. In 1974, U.S. Senator John Tower introduced the Tower Amendment which would have exempted revenue-producing sports from Title IX compliance Later that year, Congress rejected the Tower Amendment and passed an amendment proposed by U.S. Senator Jacob Javits directing HEW to include "reasonable provisions considering the nature of particular sports" adopted in its place In June 1975, HEW published the final regulations detailing how Title IX would be enforced. These regulations were codified in the Federal Register in the Code of Federal Regulations Volume 34, Part 106 (34 CFR 106). Since 1975, the federal government has issued guidance clarifying how it interprets and enforces those regulations


June 23, 1972
Title IX of the Education Amendments is enacted by Congress and is signed into law by Richard Nixon. The sponsors of Title IX are Birch Bayh (Senate) and Edith Green (House of Representatives). Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving any type of federal financial aid.

May 20, 1974
Senator Tower proposes the “Tower Amendment,” which would exempt revenue-producing sports from determinations of Title IX compliance. The amendment is rejected.

July 1974
In the spirit of Senator Tower’s failed amendment, Senator Javits submits an amendment directing HEW to issue regulations that provide for “reasonable provisions considering the nature of particular sports” (e.g., event-management needs, etc.) that clarifies that event and uniform expenditures on sports with larger crowds or more expensive equipment do not have to be matched in sports without similar needs.

May 27, 1975
President Ford signs the Title IX athletics regulations and submits them for congressional review (pursuant to Section 431(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act).

June 1975
Rep. O’Hara introduces House Bill 8394, which proposes that sports revenues first be used to offset the cost of that sport, and only then to support other sports. The proposed change would effectively alter Title IX’s coverage in athletics. This bill dies in committee before reaching the House floor.

July 21, 1975
Congress reviews and approves Title IX regulations and rejects the following resolutions advanced to disapprove the athletics regulations:

  • June 4, 1975: Title IX was presented to Congress in its present form
  • June 5, 1975, and June 17, 1975: Senator Helms (S. Con. Res. 46) and Rep. Martin (H. Con. Res. 310) condemn Title IX in its entirety
  • June 17, 1975: Rep. Martin (H. Con. Res. 311) disapproves of Title IX only as it pertains to intercollegiate athletics
  • July 16, 1975: Sens. Laxalt, Curtis and Fannin (S. Con. Res. 52) disapprove of the application of Title IX to intercollegiate athletics
  • July 21, 1975: Sen. Helms introduces S. 2146 in an attempt to prohibit the application of Title IX regulations to athletics in situations in which participation in those athletic activities are not a required part of the institution’s curriculum (Sen. Helms re-introduced S. 2146 as S. 535 in 1977)

Title IX federal regulations are issued in the area of athletics. High schools and colleges are given three years, and elementary schools one year, to comply.

February 17, 1976
NCAA challenges the legality of Title IX.

July 15, 1977
Senators Tower, Bartlett, and Hruska introduce Senate Bill (S. 2106), proposing to exclude revenue-producing sports from Title IX coverage. The bill dies in committee before reaching the Senate floor.

HEW issues proposed policy “Title IX and Intercollegiate Athletics” for notice and comment.

July 21, 1978
Deadline for high schools and colleges to comply with Title IX athletics requirements.

December 11, 1979
HEW issues final policy interpretation on “Title IX and Intercollegiate Athletics.” Rather than relying exclusively on a presumption of compliance standard, the final policy focuses on each institution’s obligation to provide equal opportunity and details the factors to be considered in assessing actual compliance (Participation requirements are currently referred to as the “3-Prong-Test”).

Department of Education is established and given oversight of Title IX through the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

February 28, 1984
Grove City v. Bell limits the scope of Title IX, effectively taking away coverage of athletics except for athletic scholarships. The Supreme Court concludes that Title IX only applies to specific programs (i.e. Office of Student Financial Aid) that receive federal funds. Under this interpretation, athletic departments are not necessarily covered.

March 22, 1988
The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 is enacted into law over the veto of President Ronald Reagan. This act reverses Grove City, restoring Title IX’s institution-wide coverage. If any program or activity in an educational institution receives federal funds, all of the institution’s programs and activities must comply with Title IX.

September 6, 1988
Haffer v. Temple University Title IX athletics lawsuit won by plaintiff female athletes gives new direction to athletic departments regarding their budgets, scholarships, and participation rates of male and female athletes.

April 2, 1990
Valerie M. Bonnette and Lamar Daniel author A Title IX Athletics Investigator’s Manual, issued by the Office for Civil Rights.

February 26, 1992
In Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, the Supreme Court rules that monetary damages are available under Title IX. Previously, only injunctive relief was available (i.e., the institution would be enjoined from discriminating in the future).

Shortly after the Franklin decision, the NCAA completes and publishes a landmark Gender-Equity Study of its member institutions.

Sen. Mosley-Braun (S. 1468) and Rep. Collins (H.R. 921) sponsor the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA), requiring that any co-educational institution of higher education that participates in any federal student financial aid program and that sponsors an intercollegiate athletics program must disclose certain information concerning its intercollegiate athletics program. Under the EADA, annual reports are required.

January 16, 1996
OCR issues a clarification of the three-part “Effective Accommodation Test” that reiterates the requirements of the policy interpretation that institutions may choose any one of three independent tests to demonstrate that they are effectively accommodating the participation needs of the underrepresented gender.

October 1, 1996
All institutions of higher education must make available, to all who inquire, specific information on their intercollegiate athletics department, as required by the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act.

November 21, 1996
A federal appeals court upholds a lower court’s ruling in Cohen v. Brown University, holding that Brown University illegally discriminated against female athletes. Brown argues that it did not violate Title IX because women are less interested in sports than men. Both the district court and the court of appeals rejects Brown’s argument. Many of the arguments offered by Brown are similar to those relied upon by colleges and universities all over the country.

June 23, 1997
Twenty-fifth anniversary of the passage of Title IX.

February 20, 2001
The Supreme Court issues a decision in Brentwood v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, holding that a high school athletic association is a “state actor” and thus subject to the Constitution. This means, for example, that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment applies to athletic associations in gender equity suits.

December 17, 2001
Communities for Equity v. Michigan High School Athletic Association is decided, holding a state athletic association liable under Title IX, the Equal Protection Clause, and Michigan state law for discriminating against girls by forcing six girls’ sports, but no boys’ sports, teams to compete in nontraditional and/or disadvantageous seasons.

February 2002
The National Wrestling Coaches Association, College Gymnastics Association, and the U.S. Track Coaches Association, along with several other groups representing male athletes and alumni of wrestling programs at Bucknell, Marquette, and Yale, filed suit alleging that Title IX regulations and policies are unconstitutional.

May 29, 2002
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a motion to dismiss on narrow procedural grounds a complaint filed in federal court against the U.S. Department of Education attacking the three-prong test developed for schools to determine their compliance with Title IX in women’s athletics programs.

June 23, 2002
Thirtieth anniversary of the passage of Title IX.

June 27, 2002
The U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced the establishment of a Commission on Opportunities in Athletics. The stated purpose of the Commission is “to collect information, analyze issues and obtain broad public input directed at improving the application of current Federal standards for measuring equal opportunity for men and women and boys and girls to participate in athletics under Title IX. The Commission will recommend to the Secretary, in a written report, whether those standards should be revised, and if so, how the standards should be revised. The Commission will also recommend other steps that might be taken to improve the effectiveness of Title IX and to maintain and build upon the extraordinary progress that has resulted from its passage 30 years ago.

July 11, 2003
The Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education issued a “Further Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Guidance Regarding Title IX Compliance.” The Further Clarification reaffirms the validity and effectiveness of long-standing administrative regulations and policies governing this application.7

March 17, 2005
The Department of Education issued a policy guidance (“the Additional Clarification”) that significantly weakens Title IX. Schools can now simply send out an e-mail survey to their female students, asking them what additional sports they might have the interest and ability in playing. And if the survey responses do not show enough interest or ability, they do not have to add any sports – and are presumed in compliance with Title IX.

June 23, 2007
Thirty-fifth anniversary of the passage of Title IX.

April 20, 2010
The Department of Education issued a policy guidance which rescinded the aforementioned “Additional Clarification” and all related documents including the recommended survey.

April 4, 2011
The Department of Education issued a policy guidance which made clear that Title IX’s protections against sexual harassment and sexual violence apply to all students, including athletes. It addresses athletics departments in particular when it requires schools to use the same procedures that apply to all students to resolve sexual violence complaints involving student athletes.

June 23, 2012
Fortieth anniversary of the passage of Title IX.


The Department of Education issues a policy guidance which makes clear that Title IX’s protections against sexual harassment and sexual violence apply to all students, including athletes. It addresses athletics departments in particular when it requires schools to use the same procedures that apply to all students to resolve sexual violence complaints involving student athletes. President Barack Obama issues a “Dear Colleague” letter, mandating that schools begin using a preponderance of the evidence standard when investigating sexual harassment or violence accusations.

September 22, 2017

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced she was formally rescinding Obama-era guidance on how schools should handle sexual assaults under Title IX, saying previous guidance issued in 2011 under Obama denied proper due process to those accused. She said additional rule changes would come after the department received public input.

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