JMU, Title IX and Revisionist History

The students and faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University are currently involved in a debate over whether or not to add a varsity football program at the school. Kristine Newhall at the Title IX blog approvingly quoted Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Paul Woody as he used the news as an opportunity to engage in some revisionist history:

Faced with a similar dilemma [regarding allocation of resources] in 2006, James Madison University opted to protect its football program. The Dukes dropped seven men’s and three women’s sports.

JMU’s football program is ranked No.1 in the country in its subdivision. JMU also has just six men’s sports.

That’s a rather interesting take on things, isn’t it? Instead of blaming the real culprit — Title IX — Woody blamed JMU and its football program, one that he acknowledges is one of the best in the nation.

Which leads me to another question: if Title IX was designed — as quota advocates argue — to encourage female participation in sports, then how in the world could James Madison get away with proving it was in compliance with the law, in part, by eliminating three women’s programs?

The fact is that none of those programs had to be eliminated. Nobody at James Madison was arguing that women weren’t afforded the opportunity to compete. The only measure that dictated that something had to be done was the strict quota that JMU decided to abide by — conveniently the only way by which schools can avoid litigation at the hands of organizations like the Women’s Sports Foundation.

If you want some truth about the situation at JMU, click here for our post from December 2006.

UPDATE AND CORRECTION: We initially inadvertently attributed the above quote to Kristine Newhall of the Title IX blog, as she pointed out in the comments section below.

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