Having read Title IX
, as well as the judge's full opinion, I actually think the judge's classification is apt. I'm getting a sense that from the veiwpoint of gender discrimination, college sports aren't really about physical exercise. Instead, they are about two other things: (1) access to a college education through athletic scholarships, and (2) representing ones college to the rest of the world.
(1) Practically all colleges are covered by Title IX, but only some colleges offer athletic scholarships. NCAA Division III schools, for instance, are prohibited from offering athletic scholarships to their students. Consequently, college sports can't be about athletic scholarships.
(2) Representing the school is certainly one aspect of sports, but then the debate club does that too, and debate isn't a sport. Although physical activity isn't necessary if one wants to represent the school, it's necessary if one wants to represent the school as an athlete
Of course, Title IX applies to the debate club too, it's just that those types of non-athletic clubs are already open to both sexes -- it's not as if Title IX is forcing a college to decide whether to drop the debate club for male students in order to have a sewing club for female students. Sports are different because the teams are segregated for the purposes of competition. Male teams, in other words, only play other male teams, and female teams only play other female teams. That's why Title IX has particular relevance to college athletics. It's the last bastion of officially sanctioned sexual segregation.