Collegiate club sports grow, free from Title IX limits -for now.

Lauren Kent reports in the Daily Tar Heel,

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Collegiate club leagues are booming as male students seek opportunities to compete, demonstrating the unmet interest that Title IX’s gender quota creates for male varsity sports.

“’As it stands now, we are not able to become varsity,’ said Fred Porter, a senior member on the UNC men’s crew team. Men’s crew is technically a club sport despite the facts that they compete against other varsity teams, have two paid coaches and practice eight times a week — often twice a day.”

The club baseball team at Iowa State also thrives, after it was cut from varsity status in 2001.

Iowa State Daily reports, “The NCBA (National Club Baseball Association) houses more than a hundred baseball teams for schools that can’t sponsor a varsity sport because of Title IX or budget issues.”

For now, collegiate club sports have been able to evade the participation limits created by Title IX’s gender quota. However, the regulatory language that applies to club sports is the same as high school athletics. This is a problem because US Department of Education (DOE) is now (mistakenly) interpreting the regulations as to make the gender quota applicable to to high school sports.

The ‘Dear Colleague’ letter issued by the US DOE on April 20, 2010, cites the following language (in footnote 8):

“Although the 1979 Policy Interpretation is designed for intercollegiate athletics, its general principles, and those of this letter, often will apply to interscholastic, club, and intramural athletic programs. Furthermore, Title IX regulation requires institutions to provide equal athletic opportunities in intercollegiate, interscholastic, club, and intramural athletics.

So, as the club leagues grow and strengthen, it is just a matter of time before Title IX enforcers will inevitably turn their attention to prosperous club teams.

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