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Title IX Threatens At-Risk Minority Boys

June 29, 2002

In "Letting Women Athletes Soar" (Commentary, June 23), Jackie Joyner-Kersee makes the typical argument in defense of Title IX: It was needed and it worked, so it will always be needed and will always work. She trivializes the fact that the women's Title IX enforcement brigade has forced the use of quotas through bullying litigation despite the fact that the law might provide for other ways to satisfy Title IX participation tests.

In the face of litigation, college (and now high school) administrators cave in and cancel men's sports, in effect denying opportunities in many cases to our most at-risk youth: minority teenage boys. Contrast Joyner-Kersee's denial of objective reality with Diane Pucin's Sports column on the same day ("Law Did Job, Now Change It") and one easily recognizes the moral bankruptcy of Joyner-Kersee's position. Her attempt at political activism falls short of the mark and injures young minority males in the process.

Kip Dellinger

Los Angeles

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All this talk about the 30th anniversary of Title IX for women's sports. Let's see, in 1972 I was a ninth-grade girl. Some of my "women's libber" friends said, "Hey, let's go out for the boys' cross-country team!" Four of us joined the team. The coach good-naturedly let us run the course with the boys but never gave us one sentence of coaching. Our peers, the boys on the team, gave us friendly advice, like: "Make sure you close your mouth when you run or you'll 'strep' your throat [in the cold October air]."

Of course we were not issued uniforms, so we had to wear our PE outfits to races. These were one-piece shorts sets with our first names required to be home-embroidered on the front, last names on the back. I remember my first race: lined up at the start with 50 boys and the other three girls, poised for the gun. The starting ref looked at me, looked at my name on my PE uniform and quipped: "Are you sure you're ready, Kathi?" I don't know about Title IX, but I'm sure the coaches don't ignore their female athletes anymore, and I surely hope the refs don't make fun of them.

Kathi Smith

Ojai

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