Pro-life activists want female athletes to know their rights under the Title IX law after many have been pressured to have abortions when they became pregnant or face losing their scholarships, The College Fix reported.
"Female athletes think they’ll get kicked off the team or lose scholarships if they get pregnant, and athletic staff don’t tell them otherwise," Camille Rodriguez, California regional coordinator for Students For Life of America, said at an SFLA conference in January.
The athletes often aren't aware of their rights and are given incorrect information when they seek help.
“We’ve found that pregnant athletes are often highly pressured and misinformed about their rights, and we’ve made this a special mission to reach out to these student-athletes,” Beth Rahal, director of Students for Life of America’s Pregnant on Campus initiative, told The College Fix in an email.
And she added that colleges aren't properly training staff.
“We have a huge problem with schools not properly informing professors, staff, etc. of Title IX protections as well as Title IX Coordinators not being fully trained in this aspect of their job,” Rahal said.
Are there examples?
Rahal told The College Fix in an email that at least three Title IX coordinators "actively encouraged the pregnant students to leave school — one of whom was the Title IX Coordinator for a law school."
One student-athlete who became pregnant at Clemson University in South Carolina told SFLA that her academic adviser warned her that she would lose everything, including her scholarship if she kept her baby.
"I talked with my academic adviser. She was just like, 'You know that's going to be hard?' And I was like, 'Yeah.' And she was just like, 'You know, everything that you got ... gone. Just think about your options,'" the student-athlete recalled, according to SFLA.
The adviser allegedly told her that her "coach isn't going to give you back your scholarship just like that."
"If she finds out, and if you decide to keep [the baby], that's gone," the adviser reportedly told the student.
Cassandra Harding, a triple jumper at the University of Memphis, said she feared losing her scholarship when she became pregnant.
“I just was like, ‘I do not want to lose my scholarship. I don’t want to go back home and work at McDonald’s or work at Jack in the Box or something. I need my education. I need this college degree to have a better life,’” Harding told SFLA.
According to Rahal, many athletes are presented with a short "five to 15-minute review" of their Title IX rights, which they quickly sign so they can start training.
What do the Title IX rules say?
Title IX states that no one “on the basis of sex” may be “excluded from participation in” education programs or activities, which includes athletics.
"Title IX guarantees equal education opportunity to pregnant and parenting students. This means that student-athletes cannot be discriminated against in the event of their pregnancy, childbirth, conditions related to pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery there from, or parental or marital status; and they must be offered reinstatement to the same position after pregnancy as they held before the onset of pregnancy," according to the NCAA Gender Equity/Title IX facts.