Two of the three female athletes on a government commission that reviewed Title IX, the landmark law that bans sex discrimination in school sports programs, are disappointed with the panel's final recommendations and will send a minority report to Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige, one said yesterday.
Julie Foudy, captain of the U.S. national women's soccer team, said she and Olympic swimming gold medalist Donna de Varona believe the report does not present a balanced view of the issues involving the 31-year-old law.
The report "does not acknowledge the very important issues on the women's side," said Foudy, president of the Women's Sports Foundation, an advocacy group. It also does not "acknowledge that women are still being discriminated against, and that over 80 percent of schools are still not in compliance."
Foudy said the commission failed to hear testimony from legal experts, civil rights activists and others who could have given different views of the law and its enforcement.
"We talked about it being an open and balanced approach, but I felt it was never balanced," she said. She said that Ted Leland, the commission's co-chairman and athletic director at Stanford University, agreed in conversations over the past week to make some changes, but that they were inadequate and not substantive.
Title IX bars sex discrimination in all aspects of federally funded education, but is best known for expanding opportunities for women and girls in sports. It requires institutions to offer male and female students equal opportunities to participate in sports, to allocate scholarship dollars equitably and to treat male and female students fairly in all aspects of athletics.
President Bush appointed the panel to suggest changes after expressing concern that the law had promoted women's sports at the expense of some lower-profile men's teams.
The nonbinding final report will be sent to Paige Wednesday and is expected to include recommendations designed to clarify the way schools can comply with Title IX. In voting last month, the commission did not endorse some of the most dramatic proposals for altering enforcement of the allocation of sports team opportunities between men and women.
Leland and co-chairman Cynthia Cooper, a former basketball star, were not available to comment yesterday.
Susan Aspey, deputy press secretary at the Department of Education, said officials there were disappointed Foudy and de Varona, co-founders of the advocacy group, saw the need for a minority report.
"It's somewhat surprising, given that this has been an eight-month-long process," Aspey said. Leland and Cooper "believed they tried very hard to accommodate all of the commissioners, including Ms. Foudy and Ms. de Varona," she said.