07.31.2009 0

Teddys Forgotten Accomplishment

  • On: 08/28/2009 09:21:32
  • In: Hard Left
  • By Ray Wotring

    People will spend the next few weeks discussing Ted Kennedy’s various conquests and battles in the Senate. Most conservatives will shutter when several of his pet issues are discussed, but one issue, which may have done more damage to college athletics then any single piece of legislation, will likely be ignored.

    The 1972 Education Amendments included an especially destructive provision for which Kennedy fought relentlessly. It was Title IX, a measure ensuring the death of many “second tier” college sports, including wrestling. The long and short of Title IX is that any school that offers varsity sports must offer as many women’s programs as men’s. Additionally, the program is required to offer as many women’s athletic scholarships as it does men’s.

    What this meant for men’s athletics was that unless you played football, or basketball, your funding was cut drastically. College wrestling, once one of the most popular college sports, was thrown by the wayside to ensure that football and basketball programs still had their funding. Today, you are hard pressed, unless you visit a major Big 10 wrestling program, to find a team, which is adequately funded.

    Kennedy was the chief proponent of Title IX in the Senate during its passage in 1972. Then again, in 1987, after a Supreme Court ruling eliminated Title IX, it was Kennedy who brokered a bi-partisan deal in the Senate, which reenacted the Title IX death knell for second-tier men’s college athletics.

    Let me be frank; What I am referring to in men’s college athletics is not a bunch of topnotch football players from big-name universities who are preparing for future pro careers.
    I am writing about the group of 20 guys cramming themselves into two eight-passenger vans for an eight-hour drive to a match, meet, tournament, or whatever the proper term might be. The guy’s who sit through class all day, go to practice, work a job, then come back to their dorm and study till dusk, to do it all again the next day – all for the love of the game.

    These aren’t the guys with dreams of being mega-athletes making millions. These are the guys who cherish their sport and just want a few extra years of competition. And they are the ones who suffered most from Kennedy’s obsessive pandering to the NOW crowd.

    It’s true, Ted Kennedy was a college athlete of sorts. But he didn’t live this way. He played football at the well-endowed Harvard University. Teddy likely traveled from game to game on charted busses, or by air, and had special hours for privileged players in a private athletics dining hall.

    The reality of the situation was that Teddy and a group of elites acting at the behest of the feminist fringe decided that Title IX would give more women a chance to compete at the college level. However, the truth of the matter is hundreds of women’s college athletic scholarships go unfilled every year due to a lack of interest. (Ed. Note – If you have a daughter, have her take up golf. She will go to college for free).

    The NCAA cites their mission as, “The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a voluntary organization through which the nation’s colleges and universities govern their athletics programs. It is comprised of institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals committed to the best interests, education and athletics participation of student-athletes.”

    Plain and simple, college athletics is about voluntary participation. This exposes the precise problem with Title IX: a lack of interest in voluntary participation in women’s college athletics. And at what cost? Men’s athletic programs now lack funding, which means, inadequate money to pay for a trainer, equipment, transportation. And Kennedy’s political victory on the floor of the Senate has lead to the sounds of silence on the fields of sport.

    When people look back on the life of Teddy Kennedy, I know that this issue will be overlooked. And in view of some of the other more controversial issues he spearheaded, maybe it should be. All he did was rip the very heart out of a large body of men’s college athletes. And, as was so often the case his myopic vision, he wrought irreparable damage.

    Ray Wotring is the Vice President of Americans for Limited Government

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