Students Happy? Dept. of Ed Doesn’t Care!

It’s laughable that the Department of Education claims “The three-part test gives institutions flexibility and affords them control over their athletics programs” when its rigorous partial enforcement system prevents schools from choosing which prong they comply with.

Ever since the Department of Education rescinded the model survey as an acceptable gauge of student interest  — which fit under part 3, or accommodating the underrepresented sex — in 2010, colleges are essentially compliant with Title IX only if they can correctly add, subtract and divide to fulfill prong one — proportionality. These days, schools only hear one message: if they don’t offer an equal number of sports opportunities for men and women, or if the percentage of male and female athletes doesn’t mirror the ratio between male and female students, they are guilty of sex discrimination. If all the female athletes are satisfied with their options, but the numbers don’t add up, colleges are still guilty of sex discrimination.

Central Michigan University (CMU) is just one of many colleges trying to conform with the Department of Education’s numerical standards — and is likely ignoring students’ preferences in the process. Central Michigan Life reports:

“President Obama’s administration altered the interpretation of Title IX in 2010, and as a result, CMU was no longer in compliance with the new interpretation.  In late fall 2011, CMU was notified by the Department of Education that they had decided to apply the “new” interpretation retroactively to CMU’s survey results and that CMU would need to evaluate adding additional female varsity sports participation opportunities.”

CMU’s “sin” is clear if you examine the latest EADA data: Women comprise 54.3% of the student population but only 38.3% of total athletes, while men make up 45.7% of the student population but consist of 61.7% of the athletic department. There are just too many male athletes. Period.

On Thursday, we will learn the recommendations put forth by CMU’s Title IX committee; it is likely the advisors will call for sponsoring many new women’s sports in the coming years. Hopefully, they won’t suggest cutting any men’s teams — especially given that there are already two less men’s teams than women’s teams — and that they will keep in mind both sexes, not just the underrepresented one.

 

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