On Friday, James Madison University announced plans to cut ten sports teams in order to comply with Title IX. Sports on the chopping block, effective July 1, 2007, include: men’s archery, cross country, gymnastics, indoor track, outdoor track, swimming and wrestling, and women’s archery, fencing, and gymnastics.
The College Sports Council (a national coalition of coaches, athletes, and parents devoted to the promotion and preservation of the student-athlete experience) released the following press release yesterday (emphasis mine):
Washington, DC – October 2, 2006
Reacting to James Madison University’s decision to cut ten athletic teams in order to comply with Title IX, the federal education anti-sex discrimination law, the College Sports Council (CSC) called for a survey of student interest in athletics instead.
“The student-athletes of Virginia, and their tax-paying parents, deserve much better than the pointless application of gender quotas in a state university athletic program,” said CSC President, Leo Kocher.
“No one can honestly argue that the elimination of 10 teams is progress, for women or for men,” said Kocher.
CSC Executive Director Eric Pearson noted that the Bush Administration announced in March 2005 that the Department of Education had approved surveys of student interest in athletics as a way to comply with Title IX while avoiding cuts to athletic programs.
“The College Sports Council calls on the James Madison Board of Visitors to suspend its decision to cut the teams until a survey of student interest can be conducted,” said Pearson.
“It’s just common sense to say that schools should be able to prove their compliance with Title IX by meeting the interests of students in athletics,” said Pearson. “The Bush Administration has made the interest survey tool available to colleges and universities. James Madison owes it to its student-athletes and coaches to try this method of compliance first.”
Pearson acknowledged that threats from gender quota groups to sue any school that attempts to show compliance with the law by surveying the actual interests of students may have kept colleges and universities from using the surveys.
The CSC also calls on the Bush Administration to do more to make the interest surveys a realistic, usable tool for colleges and universities.
“The 144 student athletes at JMU are the latest in a long line of victims of the gender quota. They join the unfortunate others at Rutgers and Shippensburg who have dropped multiple teams. The coaches, athletes, and parents of the College Sports Council have said for years that Title IX’s proportionality rule inevitably leads to the elimination of athletic opportunities. Now the administrators at JMU have said the same,” said Pearson.
Today, Inside Higher Ed reports that the cuts may have been financially motivated. But, as Jessica Gavora reports over at NRO’s Phi Beta Cons, that is not the case:
(JMU Spokesman Andy) Perrine confirmed that “we wouldn’t have done this if it weren’t for Title IX.” All JMU sports are in the black. And every penny they save from the cuts is being put back into – you guessed it – women’s sports.