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Title IX report shows gains in female participation, though still lagging

(Mercedes Oliver/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

On the anniversary of Title IX, the NCAA has released a report that states female student-athlete participation is at a record high.

From 2002 to 2020, the NCAA’s Title IX at 50 report states that women gained over 67,000 opportunities in NCAA athletics. The highest participation rates are in Division I, where 47 percent of student-athletes are female.

But the increases fall a little behind the men’s, which saw an increase in participation opportunities by nearly 73,000 during the same time period.

“Now is an important time to take inventory on where we’ve seen progress across college sports,” said Amy Wilson, NCAA managing director of inclusion and the author of the NCAA’s Title IX at 50 report. “Though we’ve made gains in certain areas, we obviously still have work to do. The 50th anniversary of Title IX is a time to celebrate all that’s been done and the accomplishments of so many important figures, but it’s also an occasion to identify where we need extra attention in the future.”

As for leadership positions, approximately 25 percent of all head coaching and athletics director positions are held by women while 30 percent of conference commissioner positions are women-held.

The report comes as a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll states that while two-thirds of Americans say they know little to nothing about Title IX, there is broad support for it. Of 1,503 people polled on May 4 across the United States, 85 percent said they “believe colleges and universities should be required to award the same number of athletic scholarships for women as they do men.”

More than half (55 percent) “strongly support” the idea that colleges and universities are required to provide equal athletic scholarships.

Of the women polled, 66 percent “strongly” supported, while 44 percent of men held the same feelings.

When looking at how far universities and colleges have gone, 54 percent said they haven’t done enough, while 37 percent say it has been “about right.”