Gender Equity in College Athletics: Women Coaches as a Case Study

50 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2006 Last revised: 26 Mar 2008

See all articles by Deborah Rhode

Deborah Rhode

Stanford Law School

Christopher J. Walker

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law


As Title IX celebrates its thirty-fifth anniversary, many have noted its enormous positive effect on women's sports. But an unintended and too-often neglected byproduct is that as opportunities for female students have increased, opportunities for female professionals have declined. This Article focuses on the barriers that still confront women in college athletics, particularly those who seek professional positions in coaching and administration. Part I presents a brief overview of Title IX, which makes clear its limitations in securing gender equity. Part II.A discusses the declining representation and lower success rate of women coaches, while Part II.B explores the areas of Title IX (and accompanying federal statutory provisions) that have sought to secure their equal treatment. Part III presents the findings of an empirical survey of over 450 coaches of college women's sports concerning the barriers to gender equity and the role of Title IX. Part IV situates these findings in light of other research on obstacles for women in traditionally male-dominated workplaces, including coaching, and concludes with potential policy prescriptions.

Keywords: Title IX, gender, college, athletics, sports, coach, women

Suggested Citation

Rhode, Deborah and Walker, Christopher J., Gender Equity in College Athletics: Women Coaches as a Case Study. Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Vol. 4, pp. 1-50, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Deborah Rhode

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650 723.0319 (Phone)

Christopher J. Walker (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-247-1898 (Phone)


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