Jamie Trecker, Fox Sports and the CSC’s Study on Title IX and NCAA Division I Soccer

Earlier this month, I sent a note to Jamie Trecker at Fox Sports about the study the College Sports Council released earlier this year concerning Division I NCAA Soccer and Title IX. I was inspired to send my message to Trecker after I saw he had put an item out on his Twitter feed that college hockey was somehow able to avoid the fate that had befallen men’s college soccer.

After a couple of days, the discussion petered out when I concluded that Trecker wasn’t terribly interested in the data we had unearthed or its implications. Earlier today, the following from Trecker appeared in a column of his over at Fox Sports:

These are difficult days for women’s sports in general, and women’s soccer in particular. There is a growing pushback against Title XI in general, with one group going so far as to release a study claiming men’s opportunities in soccer are being harmed by the landmark equal opportunity legislation. (For the record, I have criticized the study both publicly and to its authors as being both deeply flawed and reactionary.)

First up, I think we can assume that Trecker is talking about Title IX, not Title XI.

I’ve never seen Trecker’s original criticism of our study, and would love to see it if anyone has a copy. As for our study being “deeply flawed,” that’s a criticism that we’ve weathered before. The numbers we used in our study came directly from the NCAA’s own participation reports. And when you look at them, the following simply can’t be denied:

  • Young men have fewer opportunities to compete and win scholarships at the highest level of American college soccer than their female counterparts.
  • There are fewer men’s teams. (310 vs. 197)
  • There are fewer male players. (8,117 vs. 5,607)
  • Ever since the creation of the safe harbor for proportionality in 1996, the growth of the men’s game in Division I has stalled. (197 teams in 1995-96 and 197 teams in 2008-09)
  • The NCAA limit for scholarships for men’s teams is more than one-third lower than it is for women’s teams (14 for women vs. 9.9 for men).
  • Overall, women win scholarships to play soccer at the most prestigious programs in America more than twice as often as their male counterparts.

When you look at it in these terms, you can see why I might be less than impressed with Trecker’s critique. And as for his contention that men’s soccer could rectify this apparent imbalance with the women’s game by following the example set by college hockey, I’ve yet to find a coherent explanation of how that could possibly be the case. If Trecker would like to lay out the facts in a future column, the CSC and its supporters would be happy to listen.

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