August 23, 2006, - 5:23 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Football player Eric Butler may be America’s new sex symbol.
But don’t look for him in People Magazine or in provocative poses on pin-up posters. Butler is a symbol of equal rights for the male sex in college and high school sports.
Or, more accurately, he’s a stark example that Title IX–the measure for gender equality in education–doesn’t really mean equal rights in sports. Instead, the federal measure is just a gender-specific katyusha rocket for feminists in the war against men.
Butler’s fight and another case about high school sports in Michigan put the lie to the notion that Title IX has anything to do with equality.
Instead, it’s the “Animal Farm” version of fairness, where all animals in the barn are equal. But some are more equal than others.
Title IX is routinely used to make sure that there are “equal opportunities” for girls and women in sports at colleges and public schools. The Title IX orthodoxy is so strict that the funding, player spots, and even locker room luxuries for women must match to the exact digit those for the men.
But when the shoe is on the other foot–as in Butler’s case–things aren’t exactly equal.
Butler, a former University of Kansas football player, took a year off from college football to take care of his daughter after she was born in 2001. In a day and age when pro and college athletes wantonly father so many children out of wedlock with groupies and girlfriends, it’s admirable that Butler didn’t abandon his child.
But that’s not how Title IX sees it. Under Title IX, female college athletes who become pregnant can take time off and gain up to an extra, sixth year of eligibility for college sports.
But when Butler applied for the same thing, he couldn’t get it. He was told that, under Title IX, only female college athletes get this benefit. Even though he took a year off to take care of his newly-born daughter, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) says that rule only applies to female athletes. And a federal court won’t issue an injunction to allow him to continue playing this season, while the case is being decided.
So much for equality.
But for a tersely-worded statement, the NCAA isn’t talking or making the tiniest attempt to justify its sexist policies. In the statement the organization said:
The pregnancy exception is explicitly written for female students whose physical condition due to pregnancy prevents their participation in intercollegiate athletics, and therefore is not applicable in this case.
It’s not exactly a way to encourage college athletes who father children to get involved in their lives, instead of abandoning them. And, regardless of the social implications, it’s flat out discriminatory.
But don’t look for Donna Lopiano, head of the Women’s Sports Foundation, to cry over Eric Butler–even though his Mr. Mom act in the midst of a college football career is exactly the type of move feminists swoon over.
Lopiano, the Gloria Steinem of “equality” in women’s sports and a warrior for Title IX orthodoxy, is nowhere to be found on the Eric Butler case. For this usually vociferous “equal rights” whiner, suddenly mum’s the word.
Then there’s the Title IX jihad being fought in the Michigan judicial system, regarding scheduling of boys and girls sports seasons in Michigan public schools. The case against the Michigan High School Athletic Association has implications for every state in the Union and is destined for the Supreme Court.
Feminist sports activists are mad that girls and boys sports don’t play the same sports during the same seasons, each year.
But that’s not a matter of sexism. It’s logic.
Soccer is played on a grassy field that gets muddy and beaten with repeated use. Ditto for men’s baseball and women’s softball. It would hardly serve the interests of high school boys and girls to be playing on these fields at the same time. It would just require more upkeep for overused ground beneath them. And much more expense for school districts that are already overburdened with underfunded budgets.
And there is the question of scheduling. Most schools only have one soccer field and one diamond that serves baseball and softball. How will they schedule after-school practice for both men and women at the same time during the same season? It simply can’t be done.
But logic and logistics, so far, are the big losers in this costly legal fight in the courts. State and federal courts in Michigan have ruled for the feminist sports litigation artists. And Michigan high schools are perplexed on how to comply with this new logistical nightmare as brought to you by Title IX.
Is Title IX really about true equality and fairness in sports?
Eric Butler and Michigan High School athletes can tell you otherwise. To them, it’s just organized sports as run by The Dixie Chicks.
Tags: America, athletics, baseball, boys sports, Butler, college sports, Debbie Schlussel Football player, Donna Lopiano, Eric Butler, Feminist sports activists, feminist sports litigation artists, football, football player, girls sports seasons, head, high school sports, Kansas, Michigan, Michigan High School, Michigan High School Athletic Association, National Collegiate Athletic Association, NCAA, organized sports, player, soccer, softball, Supreme Court, University of Kansas, Women's Sports Foundation