The Myles Brand Title IX Whitewash

A small knot of College Sports Council supporters are in Washington, DC today and we’re shaking our heads after reading the following story in today’s edition ofUSA Today:

NCAA’s Brand: Don’t fault Title IX for future cuts
By Erik Brady, USA TODAY

NCAA President Myles Brand has a message for member institutions: Don’t blame Title IX.

Brand expects some schools to drop men’s teams in coming months because of the economic downturn. He is urging them in advance to cite the economy, not the law that bans sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funds.

“My expectation is that over the next year or two we are going to see more” cuts of men’s teams, Brand said Wednesday in a telephone interview, “and so I am trying, frankly, to pre-empt the argument against Title IX, an unfair argument, I believe, and dissuade universities from going public with this approach.”

Brand mentioned James Madison and Rutgers, schools that cut teams in 2006-07, and Delaware, where the possibility of cuts has been discussed in the Wilmington paper, as examples. Delaware athletics director Edgar Johnson could not be reached.

“I think they need to be honest about it,” Brand said. “Any cuts at this point in sports are certainly going to be tied to financial pressures.”

Brand urged schools not to drop any teams, men’s or women’s.

“I would suggest that athletics directors need to spend more smartly,” he said, suggesting cutting costs in travel, facilities and “expenditures in the highly visible sports.”

Schools must pass one part of a three-part test to meet the participation requirements of Title IX: have numbers of male and female athletes proportionate to enrollment; have a continuing history of expanding opportunities for women; or meet the interests and abilities of the women on campus.

Schools must consider Title IX because they cannot pass the second or third tests if they drop women’s teams.

“Title IX is a factor because fairness is a factor,” Brand said.

“That is utterly disgraceful,” said Jim McCarthy of the College Sports Council, an advocacy group for men’s sports. “He knows perfectly well Title IX is going to force schools to target men’s sports first. He is asking schools to join him in a whitewash.”

As we’ve noted before, Title IX is always a factor when cutting college athletic budgets, whether or not anyone wants to admit it. More later.

UPDATE: Double A Zone and SportsSnipe both picked up on the story.

ANOTHER UPDATE: If you want to see another example of somebody talking out of both sides of their mouth, take a look at this post from the Women’s Law Project Blog, where they praise WVU for not blaming Title IX for cutting men’s sports, even though school officials later admit that Title IX did in fact affect their thinking. Reasoning like this would be laughable if it weren’t so Orwellian.

FINAL UPDATE: Women’s Hoops and Title IX Blog both picked up on the news. One interesting note: the folks at the Title IX Blog mentioned the CSC in their blog post, but failed to link to our item about Brand’s interview with USA Today. A couple of days ago, one of their bloggers, Kristine Newhall, left a comment in one of our comment strings, something that you can’t do over at the Title IX Blog.

I think this reveals something important about the opposition, in that they don’t even feel the need to acknowledge the existence of a difference of opinion on just one aspect of Title IX. That evident disrespect goes so far, that a Title IX blog contributor felt free to take advantage of the opportunity to comment here, but doesn’t even have the basic sense of fair play to allow readers of their blog to do the same.

Just to be clear, folks will always be able to leave comments at this blog, whether they agree with us or not, and we’ll be linking to sources from all sides of the debate to give everyone a full picture of the issue. As to why others refuse to do the same, I’ll let you decide.

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