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Athletic Opportunities and Benefits

Equal Athletic Opportunities for Both Sexes

The U.S. Department of Education’s Implementing Regulations 34 C.F.R 106 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance require institutions, in part 41,  “to provide equal athletic opportunity for members of both sexes.”

The following factors are considered when determining whether male and female students are provided with equivalent benefits, opportunities, and treatment: 

  • Whether the selection of sports and level of competition accommodate the interests and abilities of members of both sexes
  • Provision and maintenance of equipment and supplies
  • Scheduling of game and practice times
  • Travel and per diem allowances
  • Opportunity for coaching and academic tutoring
  • Assignment and compensation of coaches and tutors
  • Locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities
  • Medical and training facilities and services
  • Housing and dining facilities and services
  • Publicity

Additionally, the Title IX regulations specify that if schools or districts provide athletic financial assistance, they must provide reasonable opportunities for such awards for members of each sex in substantial proportion to the number of students of each sex participating in interscholastic or intercollegiate athletics. 

In the September 17, 2008 Dear Colleague Letter, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) provides additional information regarding the factors that they consider when determining whether equal athletic opportunities are available.  

Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Clarification: The Three-Part Test - Part Three

As of Tuesday, April 20, 2010, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letter to ensure that male and female students are provided equal opportunities to participate in intercollegiate and interscholastic athletics programs consistent with Title IX and its implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. Part 106. 

The Dear Colleague letter withdraws the following documents issued by OCR in 2005:

  • Additional Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy: Three Part Test – Part Three
  • User’s Guide to Student Interest Surveys under Title IX, including the prototype survey
  • The technical report  

The Dear Colleague letter reaffirms, and provides clarification of, the multiple indicators OCR evaluates to determine whether an institution is in compliance with Part Three of the Three-Part Test. The Dear Colleague letter also provides technical assistance on the non-discriminatory design and implementation of a survey as one method to assess student interest under Part Three. 

To view the Dear Colleague Letter, click here:  April 20, 2010 Dear Colleague Letter

To view Questions and Answers about the Dear Colleague Letter, click here:  Q&A--April 20, 2010 Dear Colleague Letter

To view additional documents referenced in the Questions and Answers about April 20, 2010 Dear Colleague Letter, click on the links below.

All of the Federal policies on Part Three except for the 2005 Additional Clarification, user’s guide and technical report remain in effect. Additionally, the 1979 Policy Interpretation provides more specific factors that the Office for Civil Rights reviews, beyond the Three Part Test.