U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy introduced legislation on Tuesday that aims to promote gender equity in college and K-12 sports

The bill, known as "Fair Play for Women Act," is focused on fairness and equity in participation opportunities and institutional support for women's and girls' sports programs to ensure transparency and public reporting of data by college and K-12 athletic programs.

It would also hold athletic programs and associations more accountable for Title IX violations and discriminatory treatment, and improve education of Title IX rights among athletes, staff, and stakeholders.

“It’s no secret there’s still a huge gap in resources and opportunities between women’s sports and men’s sports – it’s a Title IX violation hiding in plain sight,” Murphy said in a press release.

The Democrat-backed bill would empower the Secretary of Education to issue fines to schools whose athletic departments are out of gender-equity compliance. This bill is being co-sponsored by Reps. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.).

“Our bill would ensure sports programs for women and girls finally get the support they’re entitled to, increase transparency and accountability of schools and athletic associations, and make sure athletes are aware of their Title IX rights and how to exercise them. I’m proud to be working with Representatives Adams, Trahan, and Bonamici on this important piece of legislation to fulfill the promise of Title IX in college and K-12 athletics,” Murphy said.

Said Adams, “I am proud to introduce the Fair Play for Women Act, which would make updates to the Title IX to address gaps in the law and keep Title IX strong for generations of women to come. As a legislator for three decades, high school athlete, and a college professor at a women’s college for more than 40 years, I have fought not only to support Title IX and its positive impact on college athletics and other collegiate programs, but also to make sure the law continues to give women the opportunities we deserve. As a mother and grandmother, I want to make sure that my granddaughters and their friends grow up in a world where they are empowered to succeed.

“The students of today and tomorrow deserve a level playing field, an equitable collegiate experience, and freedom from discrimination and harassment.” 

Murphy first proposed the bill on June 23, tied to the 50th anniversary of Title IX legislation. A longtime critic of the NCAA, Murphy said in June that the anniversary of Title XI was the perfect opportunity to revisit the issue.

“We’ve gone from having only about 300,000 girls participating in high school sports to today, having 3.4 million girls in high school sports competition and we still have more boys than girls participating, which tells you even at the high school level we have work to do,” Murphy said at a women's sports advocacy event in June. “But that journey is one to celebrate, as well. So for as much as today is about recognizing our progress and celebrating those who have gotten us here ... for passing this law in the first place, it’s also a reminder that we’ve still got to be vigilant we still have work to do.”

He added, “One of the things we do in this act is make perfectly clear, crystal clear, that Title IX not only applies to individual colleges, but to conferences and the NCAA as well, to make sure that that kind of ridiculous disparate treatment never happens again.”