Fewer Women Pursue Sports at 2-Year Colleges Than at Calif. Public High Schools, Universities

Times Staff Writer

The state’s community colleges have far lower participation rates for women in athletics than the state’s public universities and high schools, according to a report adopted Tuesday by the California Postsecondary Education Commission.

The study found that only 8% of the state’s two-year colleges that responded to a survey were in compliance last year with Title IX, the federal law that requires gender equity in school sports. By comparison, the study found 26% of high schools and 57% of four-year universities had satisfactory participation rates for women in athletics.

These rates are measured by comparing male and female enrollments with their rate of participation in campus sports. If those ratios are way out of kilter for either gender, schools could face legal challenges.

Robert L. Moore, the outgoing executive director of the commission, said that community colleges had made progress, but that the loosely connected system of 109 colleges lacked the “institutional awareness” about women’s athletics that the UC and CSU systems had.


“I don’t think anyone is going to see it as the highest budget priority, but the question is, how much can be done to create greater awareness of what is expected and what is required?” Moore said.

In a time of tight budgets, there is no money to promote gender equity in the colleges’ sports programs at the statewide level, said Ed Connolly, state dean of student services at community colleges.

The report, “Title IX Athletics Compliance at California’s Public High Schools, Community Colleges, and Universities,” was made at the request of the Legislature.

It specifically recommends that the Legislature provide resources to the community college chancellor’s office to promote Title IX compliance.


No specific campuses were named in the study, and rates were examined only at the 91 community colleges that responded to the survey.

Some community college officials agreed that more could be done for women’s sports.

On the other hand, Joanne A. Fortunato of the colleges’ Commission on Athletics said the study had not painted a complete picture.

“Our athletic directors are trying very hard to come into compliance, but they don’t have the support of the colleges overall to do that,” Fortunato said.