More Light Onto Georgia State’s Sand Volleyball Team

Previously, we wrote about Georgia State’s decision to build a women’s sand volleyball team to balance out the numbers after creating a football team. The case sheds light onto how schools address compliance with Title IX, including how they use proportionality, budget and student interest to make decisions.

For Georgia State, the relatively low cost of sand volleyball — $1.5 million — in comparison to more popular female sports like crew — helped them to decide what women’s sport they would create after football. It is interesting to note that there are only 15 spots on the team.

However, other schools, like Old Dominion, paid more — $2.75 million — to create a female crew team that would allow 75 athletes to participate.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the details:

[S]and volleyball seems like an odd choice for an urban campus such as Georgia State’s, but it comes with a relatively small price tag: four scholarships spread among as many as 15 players. The estimated start-up cost of $1.5 million covers building three courts and bleachers, among other things.However, it’s an inexpensive addition when considering the cost of building a pool for a swim team, or buying the land to build a practice facility and field for lacrosse, for example. Those sports create a lot of opportunities, but come at a big cost, particularly for urban campuses where real estate not only is scarce, it’s pricey.

Old Dominion, located on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, chose a slightly more expensive route, but one that created numerous opportunities. It constructed a world-class crew facility at a cost of $2.75 million. The team has 20 scholarships that can be divided among as many as 75 team members.

The athletic department also decided to fully utilize the maximum number of scholarships in each of its women’s sports, in addition to adding locker rooms for its women’s field hockey and lacrosse teams in its new football complex. It’s considering the addition of another women’s sport, but hasn’t decided which one.

“We want to make sure we are in compliance with Title IX because Old Dominion has always been a leader for women and women’s athletics,” athletic director Camden Wood Selig said. “We understand our history and want to make sure we maintain our consistency with our past relative to opportunities for women.”

As schools must find ways to balance out the numbers and as the economy continues to suffer, we will likely see more scenarios in which schools heed to budget needs, not interest, as a means to create opportunities for student athletes.

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