The NCAA recently released “The State of Women in College Sports” report to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. The study notes that significantly more women participate in college sports each decade.
From 1982 to 2020, the percentage of Division I women student-athletes increased from 26 percent to 47 percent, according to the report. Diversity among women athletes has also increased in recent decades. As of 2020, women of color made up 32 percent of all women student-athletes, compared with just 29 percent in 2001.
However, the study also highlights the persistent lack of funding for women’s sports compared with men’s programs and the disproportionately low percentage of women in leadership positions, such as coaches and athletic directors.
“Though we’ve made gains in certain areas, we obviously still have work to do,” wrote Amy Wilson, the NCAA’s managing director of inclusion and the report’s author. “The 50th anniversary of Title IX is a time to celebrate all that’s been done and the accomplishments of so many important figures, but it’s also an occasion to identify where we need extra attention in the future.”
Among all Division I sports, men’s teams still received more than double the amount of total funding compared to women’s teams in 2020, despite women comprising nearly half of all student-athletes. Paradoxically, after Title IX passed, the percentage of women who coached women’s teams plummeted, dropping from 90 percent in 1972 to 43 percent in 2020. Additionally, women account for only 24 percent of athletic directors (ADs) across all NCAA schools, with White men making up 65 percent of all ADs.
“Goals have been accomplished in many areas, but more progress is needed to ensure meaningful systemic change that leads to long-term equity,” Wilson stated in the report.