Title 9, a federal law barring sex discrimination by colleges and school systems receiving federal aid, was enacted in 1972. Ever since, athletic departments at America's universities have been trying to deal with the complicated law.
Title 9 has had a major impact on the growth of women's sports on the collegiate level and also has been a constant source of controversy.
Athletic programs at three area scools and UCLA were recently examined to see how they are coping with Title 9.
Taking a visitor around Howard University's Burr Gymnasium, Athletic Director Leo Miles was anxious to stop by the equipment room to show off the women's volleyball uniforms.
The uniforms, which have short, pinstriped sleeves, have become somewhat of a cause celebre for Miles since some of the team members complained they were really baseball uniforms, purchased without consulting the women.
For more reasons than the uniform flap, the women's volleyball coach-the former coach-filed a Title 9 complaint plaint against the athletic department last spring alleging that Howard discriminates against women in sports.
Miles views her action as a vendetta for his firing her and ticks off a list of relatively minor beefs he says she complained about: the only two (part-time) women coaches having to share a phone with a physcial education instructor, the failure to tape female atheletes' names on lockers as is done for male atheletes.
Jackie Cody, the coach, laughed at Miles' summation of the women's complaints.
"The uniforms were no great problem, there have been worse things in life," Cody said, adding that the number was on the back of the uniform a la softball instead of on the front where it should be in volleyball.
"Howard can't call itself the mecca of black freedom, it's not that way there," she said. "When you talk about a black school which should know what discrimination is like and it's treating women like that . . ."
Cody cites entirely different reasons for filing the complaint after two years of coaching the volleyball team to 17-3 and 13-3 seasons.
"For two years, (the team) was denied a chance to go to the regional playoffs because of administrative goofups," Cody said. "There were administrative blunders because there was no one there to consider the women's program. The men haven't been denied a chance to go to a tournament because of administrative blunders."
In 1976, Howard was shut out of AIAW regional play because the proper documents were not sent in with the application to compete; in 1977, the application was lost in an administrative shuffle.
Miles confirmed this and said the incidents will not recur because he has taken personal charge of such matters.
Cody also recalled a hassle for office space and a telephone. At first, the women were told there was no available space, she said, but space soon was found for the men's basketball coach and his assistants.
The two women eventually moved into a two-desk room with the p.e. instructor. Miles said the move came after they rejected an office he found for them in the basement.
Cody also said the college failed to provide meals for the women after home games last year as it had done in the past, citing economy measures.
But, she continued, "Two days later, I found the men's basketball team receiving food after a practice. Not a game-a practice."
Miles said the department did not provide meals to the women in the past and that the men were fed because of a special arrangement they had with the caterer because practice conflicted with normal meal hours.
Additionally, he said, the men were on full scholarships that entitled them to the meals.
(Cody said there were only two volleyball players getting financial aid from nondepartment resources.Miles says there are eight full volleyball scholarship now.)
Cody also remembers finding locked gyms when the women were scheduled to practice and the frantic searches to find someone with keys to open the doors. The men's coaches, she said, have keys.
Miles flatly denies anyone has a key and adds that merely announcing an intended practice does not mean it will necessarily take place since he has to determine the use of the facilities.
There were no full time coaches for the women, Cody also noted, and the pay is meager. Her annual stipend: $2,000.
"We have part-time coaches for everything you can think of, except basketball and football," Miles said.
There are, of course, other accusations from Cody and answers from Miles.
"I told my coaches, 'Don't give me a lot of stuff about what you don't have." I know what they don't have. We have to use what we have to our best ability," Miles said, Buys for Anybody
"As far as I'm concerned, we are already in compliance," Miles said, adding that he takes "pains to get everything right" to assure compliance.
"When I buy equipment, I buy for anybody or any team," he said, poring over boxes of new athletic shoes and equipment. "I purchase from the same manufacturer so no one can say one's better than the other."
There have been improvements, Miles said. The training facilities are now coed, the men's locker room has been partitioned to make one for the women and the women get an equal crack at leased team buses.
Under the Title 9 proposals, colleges do not have to match funds for both sexes, but overall opportunities and benefits must be equal.
A college would be presumed to be in compliance with the law if it spends substantially equal average per capita amounts for male and female participants for scholarships, recruiting and other financially measureable items.
Mile does not like the proposed formula for compliance.
"I don't think it's the answer to their (HEW's) original intent, which was to provide women with equal opportunity to participate in intercollegiate athletics," he says. "The amount of money is not necessarily the key factor in reaching the goals they set forward."
Miles, who also runs the women's program, said he has a total budget of about $900,000, but has no idea how much of that is spent on the women's program.
If he were forced to keep a separate tally, he said, he would "have to abandon my principal of how I operate . . . I don't buy for men or women. My philosophy is to provide for whatever the programs need."
Miles estimates there are 200 men and 40 women in varsity sports. The men have six sports and the women three; two other sports are coed. There are 118 full scholarships for the men and 31 for the women; there are 11 in the coed sports (swimming and tennis).
Miles estimates that $400,000 of his budget goes to scholarships and, again, he has no breakdown of how that is apportioned between the sexes. Cody said approximately $21,000 was spent on women last year. He says almost everyone is getting some kind of aid.
"But if (HEW investigators) say I need to spend X number of dollars on something, it may have a serious impact on our program. We may have to reduce the number of sports or scholarships. That would be a severe curtailment of our program . . . The university will have to find additional funds in order to maintain the present level." CAPTION: Illustration, No Caption, By William Coulter for The Washington Post