10 Sep 23

Title IX Athletics Lawyers

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Last Updated on: 10th September 2023, 07:58 pm

There are also detailed Title IX regulations and guidance documents that provide specifics on how schools should comply with these broad Title IX athletic requirements.

Title IX Defenses and Legal Standards

When facing a Title IX athletics complaint or lawsuit, schools often turn to common defenses and legal tests to argue they are complying with the law’s athletic participation and treatment requirements:

  • Substantial proportionality: A school is considered Title IX compliant if the gender breakdown of athletic participation opportunities is “substantially proportionate” to full-time undergraduate enrollment. There is no set percentage, but within 5% is often deemed proportional.
  • History and continuing practice: A school can show it is meeting interests and abilities if it has a history of expanding opportunities for the underrepresented sex.
  • Full accommodation of interests and abilities: Here, the key question is whether there is unmet athletic interest among the underrepresented sex that isn’t being accommodated.

Courts also use legal tests like the “Three-Part Test” and factors like the quality of competition offered to male and female athletes to determine if a school complies with Title IX.

Having an attorney who understands these defenses, legal tests, and ways schools try to claim Title IX compliance can be critical to successfully challenging discrimination in athletics.

Key Title IX Athletics Cases

There have been many notable Title IX legal cases that have helped define the law’s athletic requirements and expand opportunities for female athletes. Understanding key cases can provide insight into Title IX athletic compliance:

  • Cohen v. Brown University (1996) – This case established that schools have an obligation to accommodate the athletic interests and abilities of female students and cannot use budget cuts as a reason to limit women’s opportunities.
  • Haffer v. Temple University (1988) – The court ruled that schools must provide men and women with equal access to athletic scholarships proportional to their participation rates.
  • Mansourian v. UC Regents (2003) – Here, added roster spots, not just new teams, were deemed a legitimate way to accommodate athletic interests and abilities.
  • Biediger v. Quinnipiac Univ. (2010) – The court ruled competitive cheerleading did not qualify as a varsity sport under Title IX, preventing its manipulation to boost participation numbers.

Having a firm grasp of Title IX case law helps inform legal strategies when pursuing or defending against an athletic equity complaint.

Finding an Attorney

If you need legal help with a Title IX athletics issue, here are some tips for finding an attorney:

  • Look for a lawyer that specializes in Title IX litigation and has handled athletic equity cases.
  • Contact advocacy groups like the National Women’s Law Center or ACLU Women’s Rights Project for referrals.
  • Search attorney directories like the Title IX Group Litigation website.
  • Ask for recommendations from athletic associations, women’s sports foundations, or campus groups.
  • Meet with lawyers to ask about their Title IX experience, legal approach, and record of success.

Having an attorney well-versed in Title IX’s legal requirements and experienced in athletic gender equity cases can make all the difference in the outcome of your dispute.

Costs of a Title IX Lawyer

Hiring a private Title IX attorney typically costs:

  • Initial consultation: $200 – $400 per hour
  • Retainer fee: $2,000 – $5,000 or more
  • Hourly fee: $200 – $500+ per hour

Factors that affect costs include location, attorney experience, size of firm, and complexity of case. Total costs for a Title IX athletics case can range from a few thousand dollars for basic legal advice to tens of thousands for extensive litigation. However, you may be able to negotiate lower rates or ask about payment plans.

Note that you do not need to hire a private attorney to file an administrative complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which is free. But for active litigation or negotiations with schools, an attorney is recommended.

Pros of Hiring a Title IX Athletics Lawyer

Some key pros of having legal representation for Title IX athletics matters include:

  • In-depth knowledge of Title IX law, cases, and compliance tests.
  • Experience negotiating with universities to increase athletic opportunities.
  • Resources and ability to conduct extensive pre-litigation discovery.
  • Understanding of strategies to secure settlements or favorable rulings.
  • Dedicated advocate fighting for your interests and rights.
  • Reduced stress during otherwise complex legal processes.
  • Higher likelihood of achieving participation goals and policy changes.

Having an attorney levels the playing field when challenging resource-rich colleges and universities on compliance issues.

Cons of Hiring an Attorney

Potential downsides of retaining legal counsel include:

  • Significant legal fees and costs, especially for litigation.
  • Loss of control over case strategy and decisions.
  • More adversarial relations with school administrators.
  • Lengthy litigation taking years to resolve.
  • No guarantee of the desired outcome.

However, in many cases the benefits of having an experienced Title IX lawyer outweigh these risks.

Alternatives to Hiring a Lawyer

Options to explore before or instead of retaining counsel include:

  • Filing an Office for Civil Rights complaint requesting an administrative investigation.
  • Using campus Title IX procedures to report discrimination concerns.
  • Advocacy and mediation by Title IX coordinator or ombuds office.
  • Petitioning school administrators directly for participation opportunities.
  • Organizing student protests, social media campaigns, and demands.
  • Contacting advocacy groups for strategic advice and support.

However, complex or high-stakes cases still often benefit from experienced legal representation.

Key Takeaways

  • Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education, including in athletic programs.
  • Students may need a lawyer to combat violations of Title IX athletic requirements by their school.
  • Experienced attorneys can provide guidance during Title IX investigations, negotiations, and litigation.
  • Hiring a lawyer has pros like expertise and advocacy, but also costs that must be carefully weighed.
  • Talk to Title IX specialists when considering legal action over athletics discrimination.

Having strong legal representation can help students, athletes, coaches, and others seeking equal opportunities and treatment guaranteed by Title IX.

Title IX Athletics Resources

For more information on Title IX athletics, consult these valuable resources: