Title IX Strangling Men’s Sports at the University of Illinois

More and more often, we’re finding journalists who refuse to buy the hardline messages about Title IX enforcement from the quota crowd. The latest example comes from Kevin Kaplan, who writes for the Daily Illini at the University of Illinois.

In today’s edition of the newspaper, Kaplan writes about how Title IX has forced the University to resist upgrading Men’s Soccer and Men’s Ice Hockey to varsity status despite their incredible success:

Just two years ago, junior Mark Zerlang’s soccer team finished second in the nation. Though a student at the University of Illinois, Zerlang does not play for the Division I Fighting Illini but rather the club soccer team, thanks to the University’s lack of a varsity Division I men’s soccer team.

Recruited by schools like Virginia and Cincinnati, Zerlang could have gone to a Division I program.

But he chose Illinois mainly for its academics and the competitiveness of the club.

“Growing up on a club team, a lot of my friends went Division I,” Zerlang said. “There’s a lot of talent even though we aren’t a varsity team. We would be unbelievable if we were able to recruit.”

Zerlang is not alone.

Senior Jordan Pringle captains an Illinois club hockey team that last year finished 38-0-0 en route to winning the ACHA National Championship.

“It’s something that we talk about all the time,” Pringle said. “I think it’d be great, honestly, if all the Big Ten teams have hockey teams.

“I think it would be a really cool conference.”

Seven Big Ten schools offer varsity men’s soccer teams and five offer men’s hockey.

There’s plenty more, including interviews with school officials that confirm what we’ve already known — that the school dare not upgrade either sport for fear of running afoul of the proportionality prong of Title IX.

Then again, there is another option: in the same state, Western Illinois University is using a survey to show compliance with Title IX. More schools needs to investigate this option.

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