Last Tuesday, The New York Times reported that many Div. I schools are misrepresenting the number of students participating in sports so they can comply with Title IX. Among the tactics is padding rosters of women’s teams with students who do not play a varsity collegiate sport.
Title XV of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a U.S. law which was enacted on June 23, 1972 and amended Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under Title IX, “No persons in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
The New York Times highlighted three different schools that are abusing their Title IX rights. At the University of South Florida, more than half of the 71 women on the cross-country roster failed to run a race in 2009. When asked about it, a few laughed and said they did not know they were on the team.
At Marshall University, the women’s tennis coach recently invited three first year onto the team even though he knew they were not good enough to practice against his scholarship athletes, let alone compete. They could come to practice whenever they liked, he told them, and would not have to travel with the team.
Div. I universities have the ability to demonstrate compliance with Title IX in one of three ways. Firstly, they could show that the number of female athletes is in proportion to overall female enrollment. The have the option of demonstrating a history of expanding opportunities. They may also show that they are meeting the athletic interests and abilities of their female students.
The incentive to comply with Title IX regulations and keep more women on teams allows for the men’s sports team rosters to be larger.
At Marshall University, the women’s tennis coach added three freshman walk-ons to comply with the athletic department’s 10-player team minimum.
Practices for these walk-ons are optional this year, but they are expected to participate in regular practices next semester when their classes are scheduled more conveniently for team participation.
Similarly, Texas A&M, which just won the women’s Division I basketball championship, reported 32 players in the 2009-10 academic year, although 14 were men. According to ESPN, women have grown to 53 percent of the student body at Division I schools, yet make up 46 percent of all athletes.
Instead of putting money into new women’s teams or trimming football rosters, which can have 111 players, some schools are engaging in “roster management,” the Times said. Shrinking budgets can prompt such an approach.