Fighting for Women's Equality

ERA’s Title IX Timeline


Congress holds first hearings on sex discrimination in higher education.


Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is enacted by Congress and signed into law by Richard Nixon. The sponsors are Edith Green (House of Representatives) and Birch Bayh (Senate). Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving any type of federal financial aid.


Tower Amendment is proposed and rejected. The amendment would have exempted sports producing gross revenue or donations from Title IX compliance.

Javits Amendment is passed. An alternative to the Tower Amendment, it states that Title IX regulations must include reasonable provisions considering the nature of particular sports.


In Love v. California Youth Soccer Association, ERA challenges the soccer association’s decision to prevent Amy Love, a ten-year old soccer star, and other girls from playing in the league.

U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) issues final Title IX regulations. Elementary schools are given one year to comply. High schools and colleges are given three years to comply.

HEW issues “Elimination of Sex Discrimination in Athletics Programs” to state school officers, superintendents, college and university presidents, and publishes it in the Federal Register.


NCAA unsuccessfully files suit, challenging the legality of Title IX.

Deadline passes for Title IX compliance in elementary schools.


First use of Title IX in charges of sexual harassment against an educational institution in Alexander v. Yale University. ERA authors appellate briefing in this landmark case which confirms that sexual harassment is sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Among the five students challenging sexual harassment by Yale professors is Pamela Y. Price, now a prominent Bay Area civil rights litigator.

Deadline passes for Title IX compliance in high schools and colleges.


HEW issues final policy interpretation, “Title IX and Intercollegiate Athletics,” introducing the “three-pronged test” for assessing compliance with Title IX’s requirements for equal participation opportunities.

U.S. Supreme Court rules in Cannon v. University of Chicago that private individuals have the right to sue under Title IX, even though the statute does not explicitly provide individuals such a right.


U.S. Department of Education is established. Primary oversight of Title IX is transferred to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education.

OCR issues Interim Investigators’ Manual re Title IX compliance to investigators in its regional offices.


U.S. Supreme Court rules in Grove City v. Bell that Title IX applies only to the specific programs within an institution that receive specifically targeted federal funding. This decision effectively eliminates Title IX coverage of most athletic programs.


OCR publishes “Title IX Grievance Procedures: An Introductory Manual” to assist schools with their obligations to establish a Title IX complaint procedure and designate a Title IX coordinator to receive those complaints.


Civil Right Restoration Act is passed over President Reagan’s veto. The act restores Title IX coverage to all of an educational institution’s programs and activities if any of the institution’s programs or activities receives federal funds.


OCR updates and finalizes its Title IX Investigators’ Manual.


U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Franklin v. Gwinnett County Schools that plaintiffs who sue under Title IX may be awarded monetary damages for intentional discrimination.

NCAA publishes a Gender-Equity Study of its member institutions, detailing widespread sex discrimination in athletics programs.


U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit finds in Favia v. Indiana University of Pennsylvania that financial and budgetary difficulties are not an excuse for Title IX non-compliance.


Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) is passed, requiring federally-assisted, coeducational institutions of higher education to disclose information about the gender breakdown of their intercollegiate athletic programs. The requisite annual report from these institutions allows for better monitoring of Title IX compliance.


U.S. District Court from the Southern District of Iowa finds in Gonyo v. Drake University that cutting men’s athletic teams does not violate Title IX or the Equal Protection Clause.


In Doe v. Petaluma, ERA establishes the right of students to be free of peer sexual harassment under Title IX, including the obligation of school districts to provide training to prevent sexual harassment and to establish procedures for addressing harassment when it occurs.

OCR issues final “Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Guidance: The Three-Part Test,” explaining in detail how schools could comply with each prong of the three-part “effective accommodation test” first set forth in the 1979 policy guidance.

In Cohen v. Brown University, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upholds a lower court’s ruling of discrimination against female athletes under Title IX, dismissing arguments that the institution’s actions did not constitute discrimination because women are less interested in sports. The court’s opinion contains an exhaustive refutation of arguments made to challenge the three-part test.

U.S. Government Accountability Office issues a report entitled “Issues involving Single-Gender Schools and Programs” by Congressional request.

First annual EADA disclosure reports are due.


OCR issues “Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Other Students, or Third Parties.” The document describes standards for Title IX compliance for schools’ sexual harassment policies and details OCR’s standard procedures for investigating and resolving allegations of sexual harassment. It also emphasizes that institutions are responsible for student-on-student sexual harassment.


U.S. Supreme Court rules in Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District that a student may sue a school district for damages for a teacher’s sexual harassment only if a school official with authority to institute corrective measures had actual notice of the teacher’s misconduct and if school acted with “deliberate indifference” to the harassment. This standard of liability is stricter than that required to hold employers liable for damages for sexual harassment of employees under Title VII.


U.S. Supreme Court rules in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education that Title IX covers student-on-student harassment under Title IX and that damages are available if the school had actual notice of, and was “deliberately indifferent” to, the harassment. The Court holds that the harassment must go beyond teasing and bullying to harassment that is so severe, pervasive, and objectionably offensive that it deprives the victims of access to the benefits of education.


OCR issues “Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance” reaffirming in large part the compliance standards described in the 1997 Guidance.

U.S. Department of Justice issues the Final Common Rule on Title IX enforcement for all federal agencies.


U.S. Department of Justice issues “Title IX Legal Manual” providing guidance to federal agencies regarding the variety of educational programs under Title IX.


U.S. Department of Education establishes a Commission on Opportunities in Athletics to evaluate changes to Department Title IX athletics policies. The Title IX Commission holds four hearings around the country.

President’s budget calls for elimination of the Women’s Educational Equity Act.


The Title IX Commission issues its report, recommending significant changes to the Department of Education regulatory policies; two members of the Commission release a dissenting minority report which the majority refuses to include in the official Commission record. The Secretary of Education announces that only consensus recommendations will be implemented and ultimately rejects all recommendations, issuing the “ Further Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Guidance Regarding Title IX Compliance” in July.


U.S. Supreme Court rules in Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education that schools are prohibited under Title IX from retaliating against those who protest sex discrimination.

The Department of Education issues a policy guidance (“the Additional Clarification”) that significantly weakens Title IX. Schools can now simply send out an e-mail survey to their female students, asking them what additional sports they might have the interest and ability in playing. And if the survey responses do not show enough interest or ability, they do not have to add any sports – and are presumed in compliance with Title IX.


Department of Education promulgates new regulations expanding authorization for schools to offer single sex programs.


ERA relies on Title IX to challenge sex discrimination by county fire academies that accept federal funds in a case brought on behalf of fire recruit Michelle Maher. The claim survives summary judgment and the plaintiff wins a $3.1 million jury verdict.


ERA scores a major win at the Ninth Circuit in Mansourian v. Regents with a decision reversing a district court order dismissing the suit on the grounds that plaintiffs had provided the University insufficient notice before filing suit. The Ninth Circuit refuses to apply the “actual notice” Title IX standard set forth by the Supreme Court in Gebser v. Lago Vista, a Title IX sexual harassment case, and holds that an institution that decides to afford women fewer athletic opportunities needs no “notice” of its own unlawful acts.

Proceeds from the settlement of a related class action suit, Brust v. Regents, are used to establish the Women in Sports Equity (WISE) Fund (administered with the assistance of the Women’s Foundation of California), which funds developing female athletes at UC Davis and has awarded over $100,000 in grants thus far.

The Department of Education issues a policy guidance which rescinded the aforementioned “Additional Clarification” and all related documents including the recommended survey.


In a suit on behalf of female wrestlers against UC Davis, Mansourian v. Regents of the University of California, ERA prevails with a trial win on plaintiffs’ Title IX claim. Shortly before a second trial on damages, ERA settles the suit for $1.35 million.

The Department of Education issues a policy guidance which clarify that Title IX’s protections against sexual harassment and sexual violence apply to all students, including athletes. It addresses athletics departments in particular when it requires schools to use the same procedures that apply to all students to resolve sexual violence complaints involving student athletes.

June 23, 2012

Fortieth anniversary of the passage of Title IX

Sources for timeline:

National Organization for Women, Legislative History of Title IX (June 22, 2007), available at:

Women’s Sports Foundation, Title IX Legislative Chronology, available at

University of Iowa’s History of Title IX Legislation, Regulation and Policy Interpretation.

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