Jenn Kepka explains the Bush administration’s efforts to gut Title IX:
The Bush administration in 2005 issued a clarification to that third prong, saying that schools could use online surveys of their college population or just the underrepresented group to determine whether skills and interest in a given sport existed. Based on those results, they could then choose not to fund a new or existing sport and still be in compliance with Title IX.
That’s controversial for a number of reasons. One of the big flaws of this method was that non-response was interpreted as no interest. Anyone who’s been in college recently knows that the flood of administrative e-mails students receive often go ignored.
I would say that in general, American colleges and universities put way too much emphasis on fielding sports teams. But Title IX is one of the few good things to emerge from this idiosyncratic cultural tradition. Promoting women’s sports appears to do a fair amount of social good and its doubtful that the women’s sports infrastructure that Title IX has brought into existence could be supported on a purely commercial basis.