Point Loma Nazarene Softball and Three Other Men’s Teams Get Canned in Title IX Numbers Game

California continues to see cuts in its collegiate sports.

Less than two weeks after Cal State Bakersfield slashed wrestling, women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s golf, two more schools eliminated programs in an attempt to “resolve issues involving federal gender equity guidelines,” also known as Title IX compliance.

Cal State Northridge announced it is dropping men’s and women’s swimming. (Special thanks to Bob Groseth for passing along the information.)

But the announcement that I wanted to look at in detail was Point Loma Nazarene University’s (PLNU) decision to eliminate softball, men’s golf, track and cross country.

Point Loma’s softball is undefeated this season, posting an 8-0 record thus far.

Unfortunately, the women’s softball team was caught in the middle of a land grab between the university and a community organization. The Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Council apparently wasn’t satisfied with the68 acres of the park; the university was notified last year that the women would not be allowed to return to their softball field overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Evicted from the field that had been their home since 1979, the team was forced to play at a temporary facility off campus last season. Unfortunately, because the school couldn’t find a space on campus for the team to play, like the baseball team, it feared that it could be subject to a Title IX complaint.

All of a sudden, it became easier to simply eliminate the program than to build an additional field. That sounds more than a little suspicious to me.

And that’s when the rest of the dominoes started to fall. With a student body that was already 62% female, PLNU had to take out the machete to get everything to balance. A couple of whacks later, men’s golf, track and cross country were history too. According to a PLNU administrator, the school worked closely with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to make sure that the school’s plan didn’t run afoul of the Title IX enforcement brigade.

The situation at PLNU looks a lot like the one at James Madison University. You’ll recall in that situation that the school was forced to jettison three women’s athletic programs in addition to seven men’s teams for the sole sake of compliance with strict proportionality.

Which leads one to wonder: how in the world can anyone say that in this case that adherence to strict proportionality has led to a just outcome for PLNU’s athletes, male or female?

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