UNINTENDED consequences of Title IX

Temple alumnus Law student Jeff Shearer published a paper on Title IX and Men’s Gymnastics in the Pace Intellectual Property, Sports & Entertainment Law Forum.


I wrote this paper because of my passion for gymnastics and the fact that the sport has seen a numerical decline in varsity programs over the years.

I demonstrate how Title IX and the commercialization of college sports are—in my opinion—the cause of this problem.

I close with an argument that the binary application of Title IX will only cause more challenges for transgender athletes and sports programs. …

Title IX is pretty complicated and I attempt to break it down for a non-legal audience with my writing.

Please share this paper throughout the gymnastics community so that people can be educated about why the sport has lost so many programs over the years. I am hoping it can help any program that is currently struggling to survive.

You can read or download that paper here:

Good Initiative, Bad Judgement: The Unintended Consequences of Title IX’s Proportionality Standard on NCAA Men’s Gymnastics and the Transgender Athlete

Thanks Jesse.

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

3 thoughts on “UNINTENDED consequences of Title IX”

  1. A few years back I heard this argument from a gym owner and mom (same person) of a freshman athlete on the Navy team when we sat next to each other at a Navy meet. This was when Navy was scoring 399-402. I believe that title IX has had SOME effect on gymnastics, but specifically at the college level. It does not explain the lower numbers at the club level. That’s a whole other problem. We have to remove the stigma that gymnastics is a sport for men and women and that your sexual preference plays no part in whether you’ll be a gymnast. As a gay man who is in love with the sport, it is both hurtful and understanding to hear many male gymnasts be so oppositional and at times homophobic in their words and behavior because they feel they have to prove their sexuality and compensate for the opinion that non-gymnasts in society have about men’s gymnastics. I hear it from adult men at gymnastics and dance competitions, I heard it as a kid in gymnastics, and I hear it from growing young men as they try to shirk this stereotype. I don’t blame the 16-year olds. They live in a tough world of needing to be all sorts of things to fit in. I blame their role models outside the gym for allowing this to continue. Maybe I’m wrong and the world in 2020 is not the world of 1995, in which I’d hear adult men around me making jokes about gymnastics – knowing full well I was a gymnast. The sport has enrollment issues and a branding problem that have done far more damage than Title IX. If you’re mad at Title IX, be mad at college football and baseball – they’re the ones taking all the spots … but football usually funds these other sports as well.
    Without Title IX, would the US still be leading the Olympic medal count? Our current gold-medal leaders come from women in sport. The US is a leader, a positive example, of inclusion of women in sport. Women’s gymnastics should never be part of the argument about why men’s gymnastics is on e decline. We need to celebrate the relative success of women in the sport we love and be thankful that somehow they’ve missed more of the chopping blocks than we have. For there to be one or two sports in which women are more popular than the men shouldn’t be complained about. Despite the successes of Title IX for women in sport, women across the board still face challenges. Women’s gymnastics fought a hard fight for a place at the table. We cannot bring them into our saltiness (Jon Horton!). Sport should be open to everyone, but since we live in a market economy, we cannot just ask gym owners to work for pennants so that the sport could be free and open to all. What we can do is promote the sport, keep sexual orientation out of our comments, keep it about what it is: training the body and the mind for ultimate balance and control … and of course how amazing it is to learn to fly! Socially, it will take a lot to rebrand, but financially that might be the biggest challenge to growing the sport. It is expensive and we cannot expect people to work for free. So complaints and too little in the way of solutions. But, I’ve heard this Title IX Argument before, and in most cases people attack women’s gymnastics, which is ridiculous. Little girls still think sport isn’t for them, but what would the world or US be had we not mandated that change can happen? Would there have been now several generations of women who chose sport? Sport doesn’t know gender. The fact that now and before people thought it was only for boys is a travesty. I think we have a long way to go in changing gender stereotypes about sport, but were it not for Title IX, we would still be farther back than we are today.


    1. … just a sport for women*
      Work for pennies, sorry!
      Yet again, I have been reminded to edit before posting …


    2. Thanks for your feedback.

      COVID-19 tends to accelerate existing trends. My guess is that College sport 3 years from now will look much different than last season.


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