Saturday, June 23, 2007

Talking point- Title IX at 35: Are College Sports Being Ruined?

I try not to stray too far from basketball news/opinions/breakdowns on this site, but I wanted to 'talk out loud' about Title IX and the state of college sports. Indulge me this one time.

First off, this isn't a topic that just came to me... I was watching HDNet World Report (Channel 77 on Directv) and they addressed this topic. Next time it's on (June 28th at 7PM EST) I'll DVR it .I'll put forth what I can remember from the story at this time.

Depending on who you talk to, Title IX is responsible for cuts in non-revenue sports (like fencing) or Title IX is being used as an excuse by athletic departments to justify cutting non-revenue sports and reallocating that money to the big ones (football and basketball). There's no shortage of examples of both sides, but in recent years it seems that it's more to generate a profit for the athletic department. They used Rutgers as an example... cutting the rowing team and some other sports on the heels of a successful football and women's basketball year. They also interviewed one of our favorites Wally Renfro for the piece.

Links for your reading pleasure: The deeper I dug into this site the more I came away with "it's a thinly disguised feminist site."
Title IX according to the USDOJ- a bunch of mumbo jumbo. Maybe a lawyer can decipher it for me. (g)
Dennis Dood article from 2002 regarding Title IX- I found this to be a fair writeup.
Wikipedia on Title IX- Understand that anyone can edit this. Seems like a fair writeup as well.
Title IX questions of equality- "But when the shoe is on the other foot--as in Butler's case--things aren't exactly equal." Written by a woman finding flaws with Title IX... for men.

You can google for more info... of course whatever bias you have will determine what google brings back to you :)

My opinion:
- It seems to me that Title IX is being interpreted by college ADs as 'to maximize the big sports revenue we have to cut some non-revenue men's sports to be compliant.' It's the easy way out, but I understand they have to bottomline in regards to overall revenue. Football and basketball pay the bills, but also cost the most to run by far. With the cost to compete going up and up, look for more non-revenue sports to be cut in the coming years. That's a shame.

If there was an easy solution to the ongoing issue I'm sure someone would've come up with it. It's complicated... to balance women's and men's opportunities in sports and to generate/create revenue for the athletic department is a fine line to walk. Like I said earlier, I think most ADs take the easy way out. Of course the pressure from school administrators to maximize profits and boosters and fans to field a winner come into play in regard to budget cuts/reallocation of funds.

Let me address women's collegiate sports... I don't think I've ever watched more than one continuous minute in my life on TV. When I was in school I attended a couple of volleyball matches, but that was it. Outside of women's tennis (which is superior to men's tennis) I can't think of a professional women's sports I'd watch.

Saying that, I think women's sports are great for them. It builds character, leadership, and teamwork... all skills useful in the real world. There's no doubt that Title IX has helped millions of women. The question is at what cost to those non-revenue men's sports.

I don't have the answers... if I did I'd be filthy rich.

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