The Title IX report shows an increase in women’s participation, although rates lag behind men’s

The NCAA’s Title IX report at 50, “The Status of Women in College Sports,” illustrates the gains of female student-athlete participation, particularly for racially and ethnically diverse populations. But the important report also outlines the challenges that remain for women in leadership positions and the allocation of resources at member colleges. The NCAA Office of Involvement released the milestone report Thursday.

“Now is an important time to take stock of where we’ve seen progress in college sports,” said Amy Wilson, NCAA managing director of inclusion and author of the NCAA’s Title IX report at 50. “While we’ve made gains in certain areas, clearly we still have work to do. The 50th anniversary of Title IX is a time to celebrate all that has been done and the achievements of so many important figures, but it is also an occasion to identify where we need further attention going forward.”


Both male and female athletes continue to set participation records. In the 2000s, the participation rate of male student-athletes slightly outpaced that of females. From 2002 to 2020, men received nearly 73,000 opportunities to participate, while women received over 67,000.

Division I has the largest participation in championship sports for women, with 47% of all student-athletes being female.

Echoing progress reported in the 45th anniversary report, female student-athletes across all NCAA divisions are more racially and ethnically diverse in 2019-20 than in 2000-01. More than 32 percent of women female college athletes are minority women, an increase of more than 9 percentage points over the previous two decades. The 2020 data shows that Division I (61% White/39% Minority) has the most diversity among female student-athletes, followed by Division II (64% White/36% Minority) and Division III (78% White/22 % minority ).

Leadership positions

Women hold approximately 25% of all NCAA head coaching and director of athletics positions and 30% of conference commissioner positions

Much progress can be made regarding minority representation among women in leadership positions in collegiate sports. In 2019-20, 16% of female head coaches of women’s teams and 16% of female athletics directors were minority women. These percentages have increased slightly from five years ago.

After the passage of Title IX, men were given many opportunities to coach female student-athletes. In 2019-20, men were head coaches of 58.7% of women’s teams. In contrast, women experienced a slight increase in opportunities to coach men, holding only 5.8% of head coaching positions on men’s teams.

In 2019-20, there were 44 women in 141 conference commissioner positions, including five minority women.


Spending on the men’s and women’s track and field programs in all three divisions continues to grow. Division I continues to have the largest cost gap between men’s and women’s programs. An analysis of total spending shows that Division I athletics departments typically spend twice as much on their men’s programs as on their women’s programs. The biggest difference in spending occurs at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.

Overall, Divisions II and III have more equitable expenditures for men’s and women’s athletics programs than Division I. Compared to a 23 percent difference in total expenditures between Division I programs, Divisions II and III have an 8 percent difference in expenses. Over the past five years, this gap has increased by 3 percentage points in Section I and 1 percentage point in Section II, while remaining the same in Section III.

For more information on Title IX at 50, visit Press here to read the full Title IX report at 50.

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