While sports have long played an important role in educating boys and young men in leadership, physical fitness and competitive skills, only recent- ly have girls and young women had the chance to benefit from athletic opportunities. Over two decades of experience with a federal statute pro- hibiting sex discrimination in school sports programs have brought important successes in opening doors for female athletes. However, enforcement of equal opportunity in this area has encountered strong resistance from the athletic establishment, which has fought efforts to equalize resources and opportunities for young women. Heightened enforcement of equal athletic opportunity in the 1990s has rekindled old opposition to basic notions of gender fairness in sports. React- ing to the recent successes of female athletes in the courts, both college foot- ball and other men's sports advocates have taken the offensive in challeng- ing the law's requirements, arguing that men are more interested in sports than women and therefore deserve the lion's share of resources and opportu- nities. While such challenges have not succeeded, future progress toward gender equity in sports requires a renewed commitment to the underlying principle that female athletes are as deserving of sports opportunities as their male counterparts. This Article discusses the recent backlash against the legal requirements governing sex discrimination in intercollegiate athletic programs in the con- text of the history and enforcement of the law. Part I discusses the require- ments of the law, its legislative and interpretive history, and recent advances in enforcement. Part ...

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