More Details on the Delaware State Title IX Settlement

The News Journal, a paper in Delaware, reported some additional details about the settlement the school reached this week with the members of its Equestrian team:

DSU officials, in a press release Friday, said they will “embrace” their obligation to provide increased opportunities for women in varsity sports. “DSU commits to achieving gender equity within a few years,” said Derek Carter, DSU athletics director. “We will explore adding new women’s sports, the expanding of existing athletics opportunity for women athletes and any other actions designed to achieve Title IX compliance.”

Carter said while they are going to have to look closely at their budget, the school is not planning on reducing spending on men’s sports to comply with the settlement because DSU is “already at the NCAA minimum for male sports at this time.”

That’s a detail we reported yesterday. Put simply, DSU has its back against the wall when it comes to its athletic department and Title IX. On the other hand, it wasn’t all that long ago that the school was looking to cut its athletic budget. Remember, the men’s tennis and wrestling teams were cut at the same time the school attempted to eliminate the equestrian team.

Funny, nobody it talking about those teams right now. Wonder what those kids think of this settlement?

So, if the budget at DSU is already stressed, where are they supposed to find the money to add new women’s sports?

So, if they do want to add sports, they’ll need to find ones with large rosters that can be added on the cheap. Of course, we all know that rowing is a popular Title IX fix, while we can guess that bowling may very well be in the school’s future too. They’ll probably also try to find a way to increase the rosters of existing teams as well.

Then again, there are only so many sports and athletes that they’ll be able to add. Which means that sometime in the future, roster caps on men’s sports will have to be implemented to make up the gap. On Thursday, we took a look at the numbers that the school had reported to the Department of Education after the 2008-09 academic year.

Those numbers indicated that the student population was just under 60% female, while the athletic department was 44% female. That’s a heck of a gap to have to bridge in just 2.5 years, but apparently the situation was worse than the school first reported. According to the News Journal:

Currently the school’s population is about 61 percent female but only 41 percent of the school’s varsity athletes are women, a 20-percent gap that DSU will now have to close by 2013 to within 2.5 percentage points.

So, when the school says that it’s going to also explore, “any other actions designed to achieve Title IX compliance,” that means roster caps. Ironically, the continuing problem here is that sports are actively used as a recruiting tool to attract male students.

So, as the school shrinks the rosters of the remaining men’s sports, it will help accelerate the disappearance of male students from campus. With fewer male students, the pressure to use roster caps to maintain proportionality in the athletic department will continue. As the rosters of the non-revenue men’s sports shrink, those teams will find it harder and harder to compete. Recall that lack of success on the field of play has been cited by many schools when they cut teams.

It’s a vicious cycle, and one that has to end somewhere. I’m not betting that it’ll end before it wrecks men’s athletics at DSU.

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