ESPN.com Article on Title IX, Delaware Track and Field and Cross Country Evokes Anger

Yesterday we pointed at an article over at ESPN.com where University of Delaware alum and former cross country runner Jeff Pearlman made the case for the school to save the programs from cuts that will probably be required in order to keep the school in compliance with the proportionality prong of Title IX.

Today, I stopped by that space on the Web again, and I wanted to share some of the comments that have been dropped into the comment string following the article:

Title IX is ridiculous. Most smaller schools have trouble finding women to fill their rosters to even field a team – much less a competitive one – in some of the sports the schools have to provide, while interested male athletes see their sports cut or the marginal athletes (like Pearlman, or myself in the early 90s) don’t get a chance.

Here’s one from a former discus thrower at San Francisco State

I had an experience similar to Mr. Pearlman’s. I was a second-rate discus thrower at a San Francisco high school. I went to San Francisco State and joined the track team. I worked hard and made All-American as a senior. My coaches were supportive and never gave up on me. They insisted that I work in hard in school as well as on the playing field. I am 61 years old now, still compete in track and field, and still speak with several of my coaches at least every month. My experience with the track program at San Francisco State helped shape my life.Several years ago, they cancelled the men’s track program at SFSU to help them meet Title IX requirements. While I am a big supporter of women’s sports (I donate money every month to the women’s track program at SFSU), canceling men’s programs to reach statistical parity is not in the spirit of the legislation.

After one commenter wrote that Title IX was being scapegoated, a lacrosse fan chimed in with the following:

Title IX is not a scapegoat. It is the problem.

It has single handedly stopped the sport of Lacrosse in it’s tracks. You have club programs like BYU and tons of other schools out west with the participation levels, funds and desire to be a national sport, but there are no more female sports to offer.

That’s the problem with legislating change like this. The intent is good, but it kills common sense. Ultimately people that support something that they believe has merit end up resenting the very people they wanted to help.

And finally, here’s a proposed solution I had never read about before:

The flaw in NCAA’s current Title IX interpretation is that student enrollment is not the relevant applicant pool for athletics. Potential student-athletes (PSA) are recruited from the top high school participants. The best approximation the NCAA has for the applicant pool is the initial-eligibility clearinghouse. Overall NCAA participation must be that of the clearinghouse–if the ratio of female participants to female applicants are higher than the same ratio for males, then females are being overaccommodated.

It seems to me as if there’s a lot of anger out there in the country. But as we’ve said before, there is something you can do about it — join the College Sports Council.

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