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Brandi Chastain insists that baring her toned body through her black sports bra last week was a natural reaction. After all, she had just kicked the World Cup clinching goal for the United States women's soccer team and needed to wave something around in celebration. So her shirt came off -- and excitement poured through the veins of millions of Americans, including hordes of worshipping men, as the soccer star victoriously flexed her muscles. Chastain's goal, the U.S. team's 1-0 victory over China and the resulting soccer pandemonium that has engulfed the nation highlight the phenomenal progress women have made in the sports arena over the last several decades. Indeed, only 27 years ago, women's sports had such a backseat to their male counterparts that the federal government felt compelled to pass legislation requiring gender equity in athletics. Those Title IX measures came on top of many other equalizing efforts, like Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids employment discrimination based on race or gender. Combined, these initiatives have given opportunities to scores of Americans who otherwise might have struggled to experience the type of exhilaration Chastain felt last week. Yet, efforts to equalize the playing field can have pernicious consequences when manipulated. Case in point: the University's 1997 decision to not hire Andrew Medcalf as women's crew coach. According to a report released recently by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the University violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when it passed up Medcalf in favor of a female candidate for the job. A look at the facts makes the finding irrefutable. First, Medcalf's experience is extensive. He served -- and has continued to serve -- as assistant men's crew coach since 1990. He also has six years of experience as a head coach at the University level and has racked up innumerable rowing championships. What's more, venerable men's crew coach Stan Bergman highly recommended Medcalf for the position -- the ultimate endorsement of his qualifications. And both male and female rowers publicly supported Medcalf's candidacy. Despite a virtually unparalleled resume, then-Senior Associate Athletic Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich did not even offer Medcalf an interview. To repeat, the candidate roundly supported for the job was flatly denied an interview. Puzzling, to say the least. The EEOC rightly states in its report that Medcalf's candidacy was cut short for one reason: Testosterone. The Athletic Department wanted a female women's crew coach and according to the EEOC "took extraordinary measures" to recruit only female candidates. Both Medcalf and witnesses, for example, told the EEOC that Femovich openly stated that she felt she had to hire a female coach. Of four applicants interviewed for the job, all were females. Granted, the candidate the University hired, Barb Kirch, has impeccable credentials herself -- and the Athletic Department officials point to those to justify their decision. Kirch had already been a successful women's crew coach at Dartmouth College for nine years, coached the U.S. Women's National team for two years and received her undergraduate degree at Penn. Impressive, indeed -- perhaps even enough to put Kirch above Medcalf. But certainly not enough to shut Medcalf out of an interview -- especially when Kirch hadn't even applied for the job when the Athletic Department refused Medcalf an interview. So while Penn may have "the best coach in the country in Barb Kirch," according to University spokesperson Ken Wildes, the University appears to have missed a step in reaching that point. Apparently, the University skipped over the third word in the "EEOC" acronym: "opportunity." Medcalf never got his opportunity.

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