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When political correctnesses collide

Ha. Title IX mandates that schools spend money on sports via the quota system; they must spend as much on women as on men, regardless of the relative interest levels of women and men. (That's a slight oversimplification of the law, but it essentially captures the way the law is enforced.) This has led to the slashing of many men's sports teams in an attempt to achieve parity in spending. Now the University of Maryland has found a loophole in the rules:

Early this season, Maryland became the first university in the nation to grant its cheerleading squad status as a varsity sport. It is a distinction that helps Maryland comply with the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX.

You can tell from reading the story that women's sports advocates are itching to complain that this is a cheap stunt to increase Title IX compliance without actually creating women's sports:

"Maryland had other existing alternatives with demonstrated student interest," Donna Lopiano, executive director of the Women's Sports Foundation, said. "To try and manufacture a sport and put a round peg in a square hole is disingenuous. I am not demeaning cheerleading skills, but is it a bona fide athletic opportunity for women or a convenient one for the athletic department?"
Mary Jo Kane, a professor of sports sociology and a director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota, called Maryland's decision "a Title IX end-around."

"If this was an all-male cheerleading team, would they make a decision to prioritize cheerleading over a traditional sport like men's hockey?" Kane said. "Advocates of Title IX have every right to be suspicious of this. We've had to fight and claw for every women's tennis or golf scholarship, but now all of a sudden there's been a conversion and people think cheerleading is the answer? Come on now."

But they can't really bash the decision, because women's sports advocates have been complaining for years that cheerleading is a legitimate athletic institution and that it doesn't get the respect it deserves only because it's a women's sport.

What's a feminist to do?


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