Washington — Reacting to cuts in men's sports, a Bush administration advisory commission Thursday recommended changes in a landmark gender equity law that has ignited a women's sports explosion in colleges and high schools.
The Commission on Opportunity in Athletics considered about two dozen recommendations for Title IX during two days of sometimes contentious meetings. The most sweeping recommendations failed to pass, but the panel endorsed allowing the Education Department to tinker with the ways students and athletes are counted to measure compliance with the law.
"It's very obvious that everyone recognizes that there needs to be change, and this is a great first step," said Mike Moyer, the executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Assn.
"It will certainly stem further loss of programs," said Moyer, whose organization has filed a lawsuit claiming Title IX has led to the elimination of hundreds of men's sports teams.
Title IX prohibits gender discrimination in public and private schools that receive federal funding. The commission only looked at sports, where the law's effect has been especially profound. The number of girls participating in high school sports rose from 294,000 in 1971 to 2.8 million in 2002.