Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Skirting the gender issue

An article by the New York Times about Title IX and the roster management policies that universities use to balance their compliance numbers – or circumvent the law – is an interesting read.

For example:

* At 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 by The Times, a few laughed and said they did not know they were on the team. South Florida reported 71 women on its cross-country team, but race results show only 28 competed in at least one race.

* At Marshall, the women's tennis coach recently invited three freshmen onto the team even though he knew they were not good enough to practice against the scholarship players, let alone compete. In other words, they got free court time in return for counting on the roster. (On a side note, one of the scholarship players at Marshall is former Chartiers-Houston standout Karlyn Timko).

* Texas A&M women's basketball, which recently won the national championship, took advantage of a federal loophole that allows women's hoops teams to report male practice players as female participants. Texas A&M reported 32(!) women's basketball players in the 2009-10 academic year, although 14 were male students who practiced with the team.

These roster tricks are done to to mask the fact that schools have fewer female athletes.

As former Syracuse athletic director Jake Crouthamel said, β€œIt’s easier to add more people on a roster than it is to start a new sport.

Read the story here.

After reading the story, I wondered how lower-level NCAA schools are trying to balance the male-female ratio numbers, and how Title IX has caused some sports, such as the wrestling program at NCAA Division II California University, to be dropped. One way, it appears, is to give scholarships to foreign-born players.

For example, California has nine women's sports with 41 athletes listed as being from outside the United States. None of the eight players on Cal's highly successful women's tennis team are from the United States (two each from France and Germany, one each from Brazil, Sweden, South Africa and Kazakhstan). Seven of the nine players on the Vulcans' women's golf team are outside the U.S.

In all, 18 countries are represented on Cal's women's sports rosters.

For the sake of argument, let's say that all 41 foreign-born women's athletes at Cal receive some sort of athletic scholarship. You think some of those scholarships could have been given to a player or two from the WPIAL without compromising the quality of play? Or that some of those scholarships could have been given to a wrestling team that could have been stocked entirely with Pennsylvania athletes?

I'm not picking on Cal, though it might seem that way. This practice goes on at many Division I and II schools. Cal just happens to be the one in our backyard.

It seems that Title IX is the best thing that could have happened to female athletes outside the United States. I'm guessing that when Title IX was instituted in 1972, nobody thought that would happen at the expense of American-born athletes.


Blogger BRAUNER said...

The purpose of TitleIX is to give WOMEN an equal opportunity, not just American women. If there was anything like a development program for women's sports in this country that exists in the rest of the world, your argument might have validity. CALU has won 3 D2 national championships, ALL in women's sports. Those teams (2-softball, 1-basketball) had virtually all American rosters. The object in recruiting is getting the best players capable of winning.

April 30, 2011 at 11:33 AM  

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