The Department of Health, Education and Welfare expects to issue the final rules for implementing Title 9 at the end of the month, a federal judge was told yesterday.
Mark Evans, a Justice Department attorney representing HEW in a suit brought by several educational and women's groups, told U.S. District Court Judge John H. Pratt that the regulations will be out by the end of November or shortly thereafter.
"The secretary has reviewed the draft (of the final policy) and approved it in principle," Evans said, referring to HEW Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris. "An attempt will be made to finalize the draft and issue the final product by the end of the month."
There were no disclosures about what the long-delayed final policies might be.
Evans' announcement came during a brief hearing on a suit charging HEW with failure to issure formal policies for compliance and failure to enforce the law as it applies to sports.
Title 9, which bars sex discrimination in educational programs and activities, including school sports programs, was enacted in 1972, but has not been enforced in sports cases.
Guidelines for enforcing the law were issued in 1975 and final regualations clarifying them were proposed last December, but have yet to be enacted. HEW officials have said they cannot act on Title 9 sports cases until the regulations are final.
In December 1977, Pratt ordered HEW to resolve the then-remaining hundreds of complaints no later than last September. HEW's failure to do so because the final policies are not ready led to the suit and yesterday's hearing.
Attorneys Marica D. Greenberger and Margaret A. Kohn asked Pratt either to find Harris in contempt for failing to comply with the 1977 order or to tell HEW to issue the policies and begin enforcement within five days.
"HEWhas ducked it and ducked it." Greenberger said. "The issue is obviously a very difficult one and a political one . . .
"Many schools are not making any progress until they hear from HEW. It's time for HEW to decide and give guidane so the schools will know and the children will know" what to do.
Pratt refused to find Harris in contempt and cited "significant progress" in clearing up the backlog of complaints.
The judge added that Harris, who replaced former HEW Secretary Joseph A. Califano Jr. in the Carter shakeup last July, "is new on the job" and "issuing policy guidelines is not an easy matter."
"This isn't the only problem she has," Pratt said, citing other civil rights isues before HEW.
Evans said a specific date for the release for the policies was not set so HEW "won't be held precisely" to a date should it take a few days longer.