Despite considerable strides, women still have many hurdles to clear to reach equality in the nation's amateur athletic programs, the US Commission on Civil rights says.
While females now represent 1 in 3 high school and college athletes, average spending in college athletic programs for men is five times that for women, according to a commission report, "More Hurdles to Clear," released last week.
The typical college belonging to the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women has 102 female athletes and 238 male athletes, but on the average, $1,382 was spent for each female athlete and $3,013 for each male athlete -- 117.9 percent more for the men, the report says.
The report also disputes two arguments advanced against expanded athletic opportunities for women -- that some men's programs make money and that women's programs have gained at the expense of men.
"Many men's athletic departments lose money," it says, citing NCAA data. "In 1976-77, 66 percent of all men's athletic programs failed to generate sufficient revenues to cover their expenses," despite gate receipts and broadcast fees from football and basketball.
"Most of the decrease in the gap," it says, ". . . has occurred because of the tremendous growth in women's budgets, not because of a decline in men's budgets."