Fifty-one years ago this week, Congress passed Title IX, a law ensuring equal access for men and women to the lessons, life skills, and opportunities that come from sports. It’s been one of the most successful pieces of legislation to come out of Congress in my lifetime.
I saw its impact firsthand during 40 years of coaching. One of my first jobs out of college was coaching junior girls’ basketball. Title IX was just being implemented when I took that job, and I saw the immediate difference it made.
I saw these hardworking young women go on to earn college scholarships, start careers, and become leaders in their communities. I still keep in touch with them. I’m deeply proud of them.
Looking back, I wonder if they would have had the same opportunities without Title IX. Would they have had the same success if they had to compete against biological males? Obviously not.
Before Title IX, there was no such thing as college women’s athletics at a lot of schools. Few college championships for women’s sports existed. There were more than 10 times as many male athletes in college as female athletes before Title IX.
That quickly changed after Title IX. Over the last 51 years, female participation in college sports has risen sevenfold.
This change had a real impact on Alabama’s women, including athletes like Rachel Argent of Thorsby High School in Chilton County. Rachel credits sports for teaching her many valuable lessons, such as time management, discipline, and being a team player. Rachel earned a basketball scholarship to Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette. After completing her two-year degree, she got a softball scholarship at Samford University.
After college, Rachel returned to Thorsby High School as a teacher and coach. She taught health and physical education for grades K-12. She coached girls’ softball, basketball, track, and volleyball, impacting hundreds of girls in Alabama. And it was all made possible by Title IX.
Rachel’s daughter Adi played softball, tennis, golf, and basketball at Chilton County High School. She got a golf scholarship to the University of Mobile, where she recently graduated with a nursing degree. Now she’s using the skills she developed as a competitive athlete to help kids at Children’s Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham.
There are countless young women like Adi and Rachel across Alabama and the country. More than 50,000 young women in Alabama competed in high school sports this year. Every one of them deserves the full benefits of fair athletic competition.
The Biden administration doesn’t seem to agree and is taking a sledgehammer to Title IX. The Department of Education now says schools cannot ban boys from participating in women’s sports — or else they’ll lose their funding. This spring, the Department issued rules on this so vague that schools don’t know how to follow them.
Vague rules lead to selective enforcement. They will also force schools to let biological males compete against girls for fear of a government lawsuit. This is essentially a backdoor national mandate to force schools to allow biological males to play in women’s sports.
It’s unfair. It’s unsafe. And it’s wrong.
As a former coach, I can tell you: coaches do what it takes to win, so coaches will start recruiting biological males to play in women’s sports. They’re only a very small percentage today (one study showed trans athletes make up about .00025 percent of athletes in women’s college sports), but if Biden’s new rules go into effect, that number will go way up. We’ve got to act fast before this gets worse.
That’s why I introduced legislation called the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act. My bill does the opposite of what Biden’s rules would do: it says that if you let biological boys compete against girls, then you lose your federal funding. It preserves the 51-year meaning of Title IX. It would save women’s sports.
Taxpayers do not want to foot the bill for an extremist policy forcing girls to compete against biological males. Poll after poll shows that Americans agree with this idea—and those poll numbers are only going up. People are waking up to the extremism of the Democrats on this issue.
As we mark the anniversary of Title IX, we celebrate our female athletes and all they have accomplished. But we also should commit ourselves to taking action.
It’s time to save Title IX and save women’s sports.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.
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