Off Base Remarks on Title IX
An excerpt from an interview published on Macon.com is worth sharing to demonstrate precisely what’s wrong with relying upon gender quotas to build and/or change sports programs. Interviewer is reporter Seth Emerson, and interviewee is University of Georgia (UGA)’s athletic director Greg McGarity.
QUESTION: This is a little off the beaten path, but has there been anything new in terms of starting any new sports, whether it’s lacrosse?
ANSWER: No. I think it all is a Title IX review. We have an annual review with our compliance of Title IX, and I’m sure if a time came to where we needed to add a sport, we would activate a committee to study that. But that’s not on our radar right now.
QUESTION: You get the question about men’s soccer, too.
ANSWER: I doubt very seriously it would be a men’s sport. It would have to be a female sport. The demographics here on this campus are 60 percent female and 40 percent male. That’s part of the Title IX prong there to try to mirror the demographics you have on campus. It wouldn’t make sense to add another men’s sport. It would just widen the campus further.
Using proportionality in athletics departments to reflect the percentage of males and females in the overall student population eclipses actual student interest. The interviewer alludes to people asking McGarity whether UGA will offer a men’s soccer program, which means that there is already demonstrated interest. That also may be the case for lacrosse. However, the school will only really know what sports it makes sense to add based on talking to both male and female students and learning where their enthusiasm lies.
Prematurely denying men the opportunity to participate in a new sport because it would further imbalance the number of male and female athletes does nothing to implement Title IX as written. It’s possible that there is enough interest among women to create a new sport, and it’s possible that there’s not. The school will only really know after surveying its students. But to insist on creating a female-only sport just because of gender quotas is not only unfair but also does not resonate with the original meaning of Title IX.