By Kavitha Cardoza
The Obama Administration is changing the way it evaluates gender equality in school athletic programs. At George Washington University, advocates there are applauding the move.
Professor Bonnie Morris says G.W. has expanded their women's sports offerings, and their athletes have had a lot of success.
"We had the softball team bring in a player, Alana Meyers, who then went on to the Olympics...just won a bronze in bobsled," says Morris.
The Obama administration says the latest change is intended to provide women at all schools similar opportunities. The Department of Education reversed a 2005 policy, which allowed schools to rely only on surveys to see if they were meeting the needs of female athletes. If students didn't respond, the school could assume women weren't interested in having more sports.
"As we know, many people don't open, let alone respond to email surveys," says Neena Chaudhry, with the National Women's Law Center.
Chaudhry says now, schools will have to gather information in multiple ways. Some advocates saw surveys as a "loophole" to avoid compliance with the spirit of Title IX, the federal law prohibiting discrimination in educational programs on the basis of gender.
Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education says the benefits of sports go far beyond the playing field.
"Women athletes are more likely to graduate from college than women who don't play sports," he says. "They're less likely to use drugs, get pregnant as teenagers or become obese."
Duncan also says athletes also learn teamwork, courage and discipline.