Three Questions with Law Professor Tim Davis on the Impact of Title IX

Wake Forest University School of Law hosted “Sports Update: Title IX” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, in the Worrell Professional Center, Room 1312. Experts in law and athletics explored the requirements of Title IX, the effect it has had, both good and bad, on athletics, and how it is affecting individuals as well as colleges and organizations. The program was free and open to the public. Wake Forest Law Professor Timothy Davis spearheaded the program along with the law school’s student organization, Sports and Entertainment Law Society.

Davis is one the country’s best known sports law scholars. He has co-authored a casebook on sports law, and co-authored “The Business of Sports Agents,” published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. He frequently presents papers and lectures at academic conferences and continuing legal education seminars. Davis serves on the Review Board for the United States Anti-Doping Agency and is a member of the Board of Advisors for the National Sports Law Institute.

Q: Title IX has been around for 37 years. Why is it important to talk about Title IX now?

A: There are a number of reasons. Although Title IX impacts the lives of millions of persons in the United States, people know very little about it. This conference is a part of the continuing efforts to educate people about Title IX and its requirements. While Title IX was adopted in 1972, its scope and application continues to be defined as reflected in recent court decisions. The economic downturn is requiring that sports administrators, at high school and college levels, make very difficult decisions relating to sports opportunities for their students. It’s important that they make their decisions comply with Title IX.

Although Title IX impacts the lives of millions of persons in the United States, people know very little about it.

Q: A recent U.S. Supreme Court case that dealt with Title IX and sexual harassment says that victims of sexual harassment by student athletes can now not only sue institutions but individuals including coaches and athletic directors. What can coaches and athletic directors do to protect themselves?

A: First, although the decision creates the possibility that athletic and other university administrators may be subject to individual liability, the standard that a plaintiff (the victim of sexual assault) must meet is very high. Having said that, the potential for liability nevertheless exists. Therefore, administrators must educate themselves of what sexual harassment is and how it might arise in the student-athlete context. With this knowledge they should adopt policies that minimize the likelihood that student-athletes will sexually harass other students. Barbara Osborne will elaborate on specific steps institutions must take on Friday.

Q: Who should attend Friday’s event and why?

A: High school and college administrators (particularly athletic administrators) and education law attorneys. Also students, faculty and members of the community interested in learning more about the ways in which Title IX has and continues to impact our society both within and outside of the sports context.

To hear more about what Tim Davis has to say regarding Title IX listen tohis interview with WFDD’s Jeff Tiberii.