title IX 3 prong test

Title IX is an important part of schools, universities, and other educational institutions. The law, first signed in 1972 by President Nixon, bans discrimination on the basis of sex in schools that receive public funding. One of the areas most impacted by Title IX is school athletics. So, in order to ensure Title IX compliance, schools use the three-prong test to guarantee that male and female athletes get the same opportunities to participate. Only one of the three prongs must be met in order to comply with Title IX, but it’s important for schools to understand all three. 

Prong 1: Proportionality

The first prong is proportionality, which looks at whether there’s a proportional number of athletes to the total student population. Although there’s no strict definition of what proportion of students must also be student athletes, the numbers often show trends in the equality of programs available to male and female students. Essentially, this prong demonstrates that a school has equal opportunities available to all students. 

Prong 2: Expansion

If the first prong isn’t satisfied – for example, the number of female student athletes isn’t proportional to the number of males – then Title IX can be satisfied with the second prong: expansion. That means that, if the first prong isn’t met and there’s a disproportionate number of athletes to students, the school must have a plan to expand the programs available to female students. It should show continuing efforts to improve the first prong with the goal of achieving proportional representation. 

Prong 3: Accommodating Interests

The third prong gives schools with disproportionate participation with no plans for expansion an opportunity to prove that they are accommodating the interests of those participating in its programs. That means that, if there’s a lower number of female student athletes, the school must prove that its students simply aren’t interested in participating in the available athletic programs. It can do that by conducting surveys that demonstrate that the school’s female students have no interest in expanding the athletics program to be more inclusive. 

What if a school fails the three-prong test?

There’s more to Title IX compliance than just the three-prong test; however, failing to satisfy any one of the three prongs could mean that the school is no longer compliant with the law. The three-prong text is one of three major components of Title IX that covers areas other than athletics. However, a school’s inability to pass the three-prong test can indicate its inability to comply with other Title IX components. Failure to comply can result in serious consequences such as loss of funding for the school.

Consult with a Title IX Lawyer in Wisconsin

Despite having been signed into law over 50 years ago, there are still many questions about Title IX and how to remain compliant. Although criteria such as the 3 prong test can be used to ensure compliance, schools often look to outside resources that can better interpret the law. At Attolles Law, S.C., we work with schools across Wisconsin to maintain compliance with Title IX. We can apply our expertise to other areas to guarantee your students and faculty get fair and equal treatment under the law. Our history of successfully helping schools set standards has boosted the quality of students’ education across Wisconsin, and we’re ready to help you, too. Contact Attolles Law, S.C. today to discuss your school’s needs with an experienced Wisconsin lawyer.