College Athletics and Equality of Opportunity for Women

Research paper by Michael Lancaster

The most storied athletic university in the United States, UCLA, has also been affected by Title IX laws. UCLA has won more NCAA national champions than any other university. At UCLA, 85 student athletes are offered scholarships in football; the nearest women’s equivalent is rowing, a recently added program, which offers 20 scholarships to be divided among team members (DeCrow 1988).

Today, if you compare women’s programs with men’s programs, the trend is clear: the women’s basketball program is allotted 15 scholarships, men’s 13; women’s tennis is allotted 8 scholarships, men’s 4.5; women’s water polo offers 8 scholarships, while 4.5 are divided among the men. Basically, because UCLA supports a football program, their other male sports must now suffer in order to keep the football program at athlete capacity. The catch is that football also brings in the most revenue among college sports and actually provides funding for other university sports (Hoornstra 2002).

Many other universities face a dilemma when economic reality and Title IX collide head-on. In order to be successful, a football program must have a large roster, a roster that is proportionately much larger than any other sport. Under NCAA D1 laws, a university must offer at least 65 full scholarships and no more than 85 scholarships for a team to be compliant with NCAA D1 rules. There is no women’s sport that even comes close to the number of scholarships required for football. As a result, sports with little or no revenue are being cut (Bodnar 1985).

There is no women’s sport to balance the large numbers required for football, which allows a maximum of 85 scholarships at the division I-A level. The women’s sport with the largest scholarship allotment is ice hockey with 18, but only 23 division I schools had that sport in 1999–2000 (Bodnar 1985).

At James Madison University, athletic director Jeff Bourne said football games bring alumni—and their wallets—back to campus more than any other event. The football team, along with men’s and women’s basketball, also gives the school national coverage and exposure. This justifies spending more on travel, scholarships, and facilities for these teams, he said. Low-revenue sports will always be cut before anyone talks about cutting football or basketball (Hannon 2003).

The following chart shows that the total number of men’s and women’s athletic programs had dropped since 1988–1989. The chart shows that every single year more men’s programs had dropped than women’s. As Title IX is intended to bring equal opportunity, the law is not doing its intended job if one sex is being treated more fairly than the other:

IX College Athletics

This paper is in ten parts: This is part eight:

Part 1: Unfortunately, I had my scholarship as well as my fellow male teammates’ scholarships cut at Nicholls State University so that the athletic program would be in NCAA Title IX compliance.

Part 2: Nearly every educational institution is a recipient of Federal funds and, thus, is required to comply with Title IX” (NCAA 2005).

Part 3: According to NCAA.org, Athletics programs are considered educational programs and activities.

Part 4: Since Title IX’s inception in 1972 women and girls have made great strides in obtaining gender equity not only in the classroom but also on the playing field.

Part 5: There is nothing in Title IX or its policies that require schools to cut or reduce men’s opportunities in order to be Title IX compliant.

Part 6: The results clearly show that women are still not receiving an equal opportunity as their male counterparts.

Part 7: Women’s rowing provided Athletic directors an opportunity to help to try and save male programs.

Part 8: Many other universities face a dilemma when economic reality and Title IX collide head-on.

Part 9: There has been much protest over the elimination of men’s teams over the years that has seen many cases in the courts.

Part 10: The law should be changed to limit football programs’ overbearing influence within Title IX restrictions.

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