Title IX: Wrongful Guilt

On January 19, 2011, the University of Delaware eliminated two men’s sports teams: cross country and outdoor track and field. UD’s athletics department said the move was to comply with Title IX. However, UD is not the only sports university for men. The University of North Dakota recently eliminated two of its men’s teams. The UND athletic director said Title IX was a factor in the school’s decision to eliminate the programs.

Title IX was created in 1972 to end gender discrimination in educational programs receiving federal financial assistance. The law has made great strides in advancing gender equality, especially when it comes to women’s sports. Many young women were given the opportunity to play sports that previously women could not participate in. However, the law has become a common explanation for why men’s varsity sports teams are eliminated. So how could a federal law promoting gender equality like Title IX create inequality for men?

The truth of the matter is that Title IX unfairly bears the blame for the elimination of men’s sports teams. The university athletic departments alone are to blame. Poorly managed athletic budgets lead to termination of men’s teams. College athletic departments are too proud to admit it, so they make Title IX their scapegoat. This was the case for both the University of Delaware and the University of North Dakota. UD dispensed with two men’s teams to incorporate more money into its soccer program. UND cut two men’s teams as part of a $2.4 million budget cut within its athletics department. Unfortunately, Title IX was used as a distraction for the real reason these teams were eliminated.

How can colleges and universities manage a budget so poorly that they have to cut out a team of men, you ask? Well, the answer is surprisingly simple: soccer. Football has the highest budget of any other college sport. College soccer programs can also award up to 85 scholarships. Unfortunately, there is no women’s sport that can match the sport of soccer in terms of scholarships and funding. Due to Title IX, schools must match this amount of funding for women’s sports, leaving the other men’s sports teams with little to no money. In “Rethinking How Title IX Is Enforced,” Frank Deford suggests separating football from college athletic departments. He proposes putting soccer in the category of entertainment or appeasement of former students. Doing this would be in line with Title IX as soccer does not have a female analogue. Once football is separated, the sport no longer has to comply with Title IX.

Even with the separation of football, Title IX is not entirely clear. The US Congress should review Title IX so that it supports equality not only between men and women, but also between men’s and women’s sports teams. A new revision of Title IX should be that each school should have the same set amount of money allocated to each team based on the number of student-athletes in the sport. Another rule should be that the ratio of male athletes to female athletes is exactly 50/50. With these new rules, women’s varsity athletics would be exactly equal in terms of funding and number of athletes to men’s athletics.

Let’s take a fictional university, College X, for example. College A has a budget of $74,000 for athletics and currently has 74 athletes enrolled. Therefore, the expense per athlete for College X would be $1,000. Let’s also say that School X has 3 sports: men’s and women’s basketball and women’s rowing. College X basketball teams have 12 roster spots, giving them a budget of $12,000 for each team. The rowing team has 50 women on the team, giving them a budget of $50,000. However, under the new rules, College X would be in violation because the number of male athletes is less than the number of female athletes. However, if College X were to add a 50-seat men’s swim team to the roster, College X would no longer be in violation of the new Title IX rules.

For soccer, the new review should not allow the soccer budget at a given school to exceed 33% of the overall athletics budget. Going back to the College X example, the College X football team could not have a budget greater than $24,420, exactly 33% of College X’s $74,000 athletic budget. 33% may seem like a lot of money and a significant portion of the athletic budget. , but this is only a fraction of what is spent on soccer programs. “According to statistics compiled by Sports on Earth writer Patrick Hruby at Rutgers, one of the cut teams, men’s tennis, had a budget of $175,000, which is roughly what the football team spent on hotel rooms. for their home games. And between 1986 and 2009, the average salaries for football coaches in 44 major programs rose from $273,000 to more than $2 million.” (Zimmerman) With these new rules in place, football budgets won’t be outrageously high compared to the budgets of other sports teams.

With this revision to existing law, athletic departments will be forced to properly manage a budget. Soccer budgets will remain in line with the other sports programs. Most importantly, these new rules will promote equality between men’s and women’s sports as Title IX was designed.

Deford, Frank. “Rethinking How Title IX Is Enforced”. No. np, May 2, 2007. Web.

Zimmerman, Jonathan. “Blame football, not Title IX.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, January 9. 2014. Internet. March 14, 2016.

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