From testimony by Norma V. Cantu, assistant secretary for civil rights of the Department of Education, before a House Education and the Workforce subcommittee last week:

The Office for Civil Rights is responsible for enforcing Title IX . . . which prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs receiving federal financial assistance. . . . A college or school may comply [with athletic rules] by applying any of the three approaches: (1) substantial proportionality between the enrollment and participation rates of the underrepresented sex; (2) a history and continuing practice of program expansion for the underrepresented sex; or (3) full and effective accommodation of the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex. . . . OCR also [has] encouraged colleges to avoid the cutting of men's sports as a means for coming into compliance with the participation test. . . .

During the 1996-97 academic year, more than 329,000 student-athletes (200,627 men and 128,209 women) participated in intercollegiate athletics at National Collegiate Athletic Association institutions, . . . the highest number of total student-athletes ever.

More than 25 years after the passage of Title IX, women college athletes, as a whole, still receive fewer athletic opportunities and less support from their institutions than male athletes. Although men athletes represent about 60 percent of the student-athletes nationwide, they receive more than 76 percent of college sports' operating budgets [and] more than 82 percent of college recruiting money.