Since Title IX was enacted in 1972, women’s advocates have considered how the law has affected female participation in sports, and critics have suggested that the law has unfairly denied opportunities to men. Studies have examined how journalists have covered Title IX and its consequences, yet few have looked at how advocacy groups have sought to influence coverage of the law. This textual analysis examines press statements published by the Women’s Sports Foundation from 2004 through 2009 and concludes that the organization used frames of community and transcendence in discussing women’s athletic participation. The foundation characterized community as essential to the support of women’s participation in sports and suggested that participation and achievement in sports were symbolic of women’s accomplishments in the larger society. The foundation also focused on fairness and equality as rationales for equitable distribution of resources and opportunities. Title IX was rarely mentioned in press statements.
Barnett is with the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS. Hardin is with the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, Penn State University, University Park, PA.