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The NCAA is Not Subject to Title IX Discrimination

Title IX By Binnall Law Group - 2021/06/30 at 08:56pm

Work With an Experienced Title IX Attorney

Though the NCAA is fundamentally associated with college athletics, the general public is mostly unaware that they are not always subject to the same regulations as member universities — for example, Title IX.

On the surface, one might think that Title IX protects student-athletes from gender inequity and discrimination in the form of disparate programs, sexual assault, and more.  In reality, however, Title IX does not legally bind the NCAA.

In fact, case decisions in the 1990s established a regulatory disconnect between the NCAA and Title IX, making it possible for the NCAA to engage in ostensibly discriminatory behavior while avoiding a Title IX lawsuit.  This is obviously quite beneficial to those who manage and are involved in NCAA programs.

Let’s take a closer look.

Title IX and the NCAA — a Disconnect

The NCAA is not a state actor or educational institution, nor does it receive federal funding.  It is a voluntary association of member universities.  Title IX gender equity concerns only apply to those educational programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.  As the NCAA does not directly receive federal financial assistance (it works with institutions that do so), Title IX does not apply.  This was established by the landmark US Supreme Court case, NCAA v. Smith.

Increasingly, there has been criticism of this “disconnect” from a number of different quarters.  Critics argue that the NCAA is a necessary part of many school athletics programs (i.e., that large-scale tournaments could not be run without the NCAA’s assistance), and as such, the NCAA should be subject to Title IX given its true, tightly-integrated role.

Still, despite these criticisms, the NCAA continues to be protected from Title IX gender inequity lawsuits.  Men’s and women’s programs with substantially different experiences (i.e., the women’s program has fewer resources available for workouts, etc.) cannot expose the NCAA to liability under Title IX.  Instead, the NCAA has re-directed blame at member institutions that have failed to administer these programs in an equitable way.

Member universities “can” be held liable under Title IX, as they directly receive federal financial assistance.  As such, student-athletes who feel discriminated against have a path to recovery through a university-directed lawsuit.

Speak to a Title IX Attorney at Binnall Law Group for Assistance

Here at Binnall Law Group, our attorneys boast decades of experience representing clients in a wide range of high-stakes disputes, including those that center around Title IX sexual misconduct and gender discrimination claims.  We regularly advocate on behalf of the accused in Title IX disputes.

We understand the unique burdens that are associated with Title IX allegations — to that end, we work closely with the accused to help them make sense of their case and navigate the dispute effectively.  It is our intention to secure a favorable result no matter how difficult the circumstances appear at first glance.

Ready to speak to an experienced Title IX attorney at our firm?  Call us at 703-888-1943 or complete an online intake form to schedule a consultation.