Questions and answers concerning Title IX suit against Miami University of Ohio
Q: What is this suit about?
A: This suit, brought by Miami University students in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, claims that Miami violated both the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the federal civil rights statute Title IX when it eliminated its men’s wrestling, soccer, and tennis teams last April.
Q: Why was the elimination of the teams illegal?
A: Because the university eliminated the teams to satisfy gender quotas – that is, to ensure that men participate in intercollegiate athletics at no greater rate than women. Prohibiting men from participating simply because they are men is sex discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause, as well as Title IX, which states that no person shall “be excluded from participation” based on sex.
Q: What are the student plaintiffs asking for?
A: Reinstatement of the three teams, an injunction prohibiting future discrimination against male athletes, and compensatory damages.
Q: Who are the student plaintiffs?
A: The plaintiffs are: 1) former members of the Miami wrestling, tennis, and soccer teams; 2) the Miami wrestling, tennis, and soccer clubs – their current and future members have an interest in the reinstatement of the eliminated teams; and 3) the class of all Miami students, including future students, who have been or will be denied the opportunity to compete in wrestling, tennis or soccer on an intercollegiate basis, because of the elimination of the three teams.
Q: Who are the defendants?
A: Miami University; James Garland, President of the university; Joel Maturi, Miami’s Athletic Director; and all members of the Miami Board of Trustees.
Q: Hasn’t Title IX helped women?
A: Yes. The students are merely asking that Miami University obey Title IX’s guarantee of equal opportunity for both men and women, rather than using gender quotas to mandate that male and female students participate in intercollegiate athletics at identical rates, regardless of interest level.
Q: What’s wrong with requiring “proportionality,” i.e., equal participation rates by men and women?
A: Surveys show that men are substantially more likely than women to be interested in athletic participation. Thus, proportionality effectively caps male athletic participation at female interest levels. Title IX does not require equal participation rates, but does require that women’s – as well as men’s – interests be accommodated. The university’s recent addition of women’s soccer and synchronized skating teams does just that. The elimination of three men’s teams accommodated no one’s interests, and was done simply to satisfy gender quotas.
Q: Was Miami required to achieve proportionality under NCAA guidelines?
A: No. The NCAA gender equity guidelines merely attempt to interpret Title IX, which forbids discrimination against both men and women. The NCAA cannot legally require gender quotas that discriminate against men any more than it could set quotas limiting the number of black athletes.
Q: Who are the attorneys representing the students?
A: The Cincinnati firm of Furnier & Thomas, whose name partner Robert Furnier and associate Todd Flagel are alumni of Miami; the Center for Individual Rights, a non-profit, public interest law firm with expertise in civil rights and constitutional law; Chicago attorney Lou Goldstein, who has saved several Illinois college teams threatened by gender quotas. The students are being represented free of charge.