March 10, 2008

Cashing in on Title IX

The NYT article "Expectations Lose to Reality of Sports Scholarships" has a fascinating table reporting the value of Division I college athletic scholarships per sport and the number of students playing each sport in high school. Yet, whether due to innumeracy or political correctness, they fail to divide the scholarship dollars by the high school athletes, which would tell you the expected value of playing a high school sport.

For example, over a million boys each year play high school football, and $367 million in college football scholarships are consumed, so the "expected value" of being a high school football player is $358 in college athletic scholarships. In contrast, only $22 in women's golf scholarships are awarded each year, but only 54,000 girls play high school golf, so the expected value of being a girl golfer in high school is $413. So, being a girl golfer only pays a little better than being a boy football player, but, on the other hand, you compete by strolling around on manicured lawns and nobody slams you to the turf. And the football players more than earn their keep, competing in front of 80,000 people each weekend, while college women golfers might get 80 people to come watch a tournament. In contrast, the expected value of being on the boy's high school golf team is only $140.

Due to Title IX, which outlaws "discrimination" against females, especially in sports females don't like to play, colleges pay absurd amounts to bribe enough women to play certain sports.

I typed in the numbers for a few of the sports. Here they are, sorted by college scholarship dollars per female high school athlete, beginning with $9,453 of college scholarship money available for every girl who rows in high school!

HS Boys $/HS Boy HS Girls $/HS Girl Sex Ratio
Rowing 2,186 NA 2,359 $ 9,453 NA
Fencing 777 $ 1,802 641 $ 3,276 0.55
Ice Hockey 32,166 $ 926 4,245 $ 2,568 0.36
Riflery 2,274 $ 132 775 $ 1,419 0.09
Lacrosse 35,266 $ 423 26,677 $ 637 0.66
Golf 165,857 $ 140 54,720 $ 413 0.34
Field Hockey 213 NA 58,372 $ 302 NA
Water Polo 13,871 $ 159 11,856 $ 295 0.54
Basketball 541,130 $ 233 451,600 $ 272 0.85
Track/CC 713,305 $ 77 602,930 $ 133 0.58
Football 1,025,762 $ 358


Even in sports that high school girls like, such as track and cross-country, which is great for staying slender, the bias is striking: the average high school girl runner can expect $133 in college scholarship money, versus only $77 for the average high school boy.

And, the "Sex Ratio" column understates the degree of anti-male bias because this table is based on high school team members, but there are a lot more boys than girls in high school who aren't good enough to make the school team.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


TGGP said...

I have a female cousin who hit the rowing jackpot at an Ivy League school. She doesn't do it anymore (she's graduated), but it was a good deal while it lasted.

Anonymous said...


If you want to write about Title IX, you should look at the HBCU's. US News always rates them at the botton of compliance with Title IX because most HBCU's are overwhelmingly female while still having a football team but lacking the women's lacrosse, field hockey, softball, swimming, or crew teams to make up the difference like the BCS schools do.

One of the odd impacts of Title IX is that many HBCU's have established women's bowling programs because they are cheap and they can be competitive in them. The odd thing is that many of the HBCU's recruit white females for their bowling teams.

Unknown said...

I wonder if lack of opportunity in sports has anything to do with the obesity epidemic.

Anonymous said...

Women's rowing is an effective way for colleges to comply with Title IX. They can offer large numbers of rowing scholarships, thereby helping to offset all the men's football scholarships.

Anonymous said...

the men's participation numbers match up pretty closely with my experience, except for golf. where are all those golfers? i just don't see them.

this chart says there are twice as many high school golfers as swimmers, but that's the exact opposite from my experience. swim teams are bigger than golf teams.

i don't know how the NCAA calculated that, but i'd want to see literally 100 high school golf teams with more than 20 guys before i'm buying it. 20 guys would be completely normal for a swim team, yet i've never seen one high school golf team with 20 guys.

i'm going to run quick numbers on a few NCAA conferences to show how out of whack the golf figures are. i'll do the big 10, the SEC, and the pac 10.

Anonymous said...

I really don't care much about this discrimination since I was too fat in HS to have any chance of an athletic scholarship. I truely was the one discriminated against. Oh wait I got a full (nonathletic) scholarship.

Also this isn't such a big deal to me as a male since I am equally likely to have male and female children.

Other than the clear morale boosting and financial benefits of sports like football and basketball, what is the point of having these scholarships? Does having a top riflery team really help a school?

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, but you're wrong in dividing the *annual* amount of scholarship money by the total number of players in HS. You should have only used HS seniors who are the only ones eligible to receive the benefits in a given year. That said, your main point still stands, of course.

Anonymous said...

The article leaves out a key fact about girls and scholarships.

For many girls in white-dominated sports such as soccer, the athletic scholarship is often supplemented by academic scholarships because so many young women athletes are also high-achievers who have excellent grades and a ton of other extra-curricular activities on their application.

In other words, the coaches might not be able to offer a full ride but they can often add to the "split" athletic scholarship with academic dollars if the athlete is also a real student.

This is impossible for many athletes in the revenue-generating sports such as football and basketball because they aren't really students ... just hired hands brought on campus to play games.

Half Sigma said...

It sure pays for a girl to row!

But how many high schools have girl crew teams?

Steve Sailer said...

Jody asks:

"where are all those golfers? i just don't see them."

Out on the golf course, perhaps?

To have a swim team, you really need to have a big pool on campus, so there's lots of splashing around to attract attention, but for a golf team, you just need an alumnus who belongs to a country club, so the golfers get in a van after school and disappear, so the whole thing flies under the radar.

Anonymous said...

i think i figured out what happened. NCAA probably did not count club sports. this would lead to big undercount in swimming, and a moderate undercount in ice hockey and gymnastics. it would exclude boxing completely. for instance, the high school athletic commission in virginia, a big state, did not sanction swimming until a few years ago, so even though there are thousands of swimmers there, NCAA counts virginia as having 0 swimmers.

i checked NCAA teams in the big 10, sec, pac 10, and big 12. swim teams were about 3 times bigger than golf teams, as they are in high school. but i noticed that title 9 was having a major negative effect on men's sports. many schools had dissolved the teams for men's swimming, wrestling and tennis. this makes sense from a money perspective. these sports do not make money, and it costs less to field 10 golfers than 20 wrestlers or 30 swimmers, so guess who got cut in favor of women.

US club swimming is very big, which is why american swimming thrives under title 9 while american wrestling and tennis, which depend more on the NCAA version of the sport, have declined. US club boxing, the only kind of boxing since it is not sanctioned in high school or NCAA, is in the worst shape, and operates with an annual budget of only $1 million. it is possible the US may not medal in boxing in beijing.

Anonymous said...

Title IX is indefensible as it is currently interpreted and enforced. I went to school on a baseball scholarship so I have no personal axe to grind. But male athletic achievement (i.e. scholarships) are the result of a MASSIVE weeding out process the likes of which it is laughable to suggest exists for girls. It's hardly the same "mark of excellence" for a girl to be a scholarship athlete and when you add on the fact that for the most part nobody on a college campus could care less about their endeavors it is hard for me to see why literal equity has any value at all.

Anonymous said...


I think you are confusing several of the data points. It would be much easier for the total number of boys playing golf in high school to be bigger than the total number of boy swimmers in high school. Only the biggest high schools or elite private schools have swim teams. However, even small middle class high schools can have a golf team since the team supplies its own equipment and can probably play for free at a local golf course. A golf team also only requires one coach. One of the reasons that boys football is the largest is that even the smallest public school in most states fields a football team with more than 22 starting positions. Some states even have six man or eight man high school football teams.

You should also notice that the total number of girl swimmers is much larger than girl golfers. Thus, comparing high school swim teams to boys golf teams is not a good comparison.


Most girls on a crew team are not on scholarship. Arizona State was quite open about recruiting females students be on its crew team from the general student population already on campus. ASU needed to create more female athletes to balance the football team but wanted to do it cheaply.

Also, many sports like women's lacrosse, softball, field hockey generally do not offer scholarships to freshmen or very limited scholarship money until the player shows that they can produce. In most women's sports, the talent pool is so shallow that it is hard to determine who is actually talented or who is just the best on a bad team.

One of the issues in being a college athlete is that the time commitment it requires to be on the team limits what else the player can do. If you look at the media guide for the University of North Carolina media guide for women's soccer, most of the players are majoring in exercise and sports science.

for all,

Colleges have cut men's tennis, swimming, and wrestling not just to cut costs because a school could field a men's wrestling team with all non-scholarship athletes. However, every male wrestler requires the university to balance the wrestling team with additional women's sports. Since most schools have problems balancing the 85 football scholarship athletes along with the 30-40 football walk-ons, schools had to cut other sports.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to me that the present implementation of Title IX is in fact a violation of the original Title IX. Boys and girls live under different sets of rules in most states with girls being given an easier path. The boys are blatantly discriminated against in athletics and ignored academically and for all other extracurriculars.

Missouri Lacrosse is a great example. The boys have more teams, more players per team, and a longer history, but the girls got sanctioned and funded while the boys are stuck in club status renting the fields. The boys can't try out for the girl's teams, even though girls at any age (even in middle school when they're bigger) can play on the boys teams.

Basically the schools and the boys are at the whims of the girls in athletics, but the girls have no responsibility anywhere.