Sunday, June 23, 2002

DAUGHERTY: Title IX


Wanted: new policy that works

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        The National Women's Law Center has decided the University of Cincinnati is not giving its female jocks enough money. UC, it said, is not complying with Title IX, the well-intended yet boneheaded legislation that just turned 30 years old.

        Here is what Title IX was supposed to be: a law prohibiting discrimination in education on the basis of gender. Here is what Title IX has become: a law that boosts women's college athletics while giving men's sports a kick in the head.

        Hey, happy birthday.

        The Women's Law Center said 47 percent of the jocks at UC are women, yet they receive just 39 percent of the athletic money. UC didn't dispute that. Here are some other things UC won't dispute:

        • The women's basketball program, a very good program that draws fewer than 1,000 fans a game, gives 15 full rides; the men's team, which is the backbone of the athletic department's budget, gets 13.

        • Twenty women are on full scholarship for rowing. UC axed men's tennis to help pay for that.

        • All 10 of UC's women's programs are fully funded. None of the men's programs are.

        • Scholarship aid to women is up 15 percent since 1997. Women with full athletic rides at UC outnumber the men, 105 to 45, if you take away football.

       

The catch: football

        There's the rub. Football. Even if you disagree with the way Title IX has been administered, you cannot look at football without seeing pork.

        Football allows 85 full scholarships. In any given year, UC football might have 20 to 25 players “redshirting.” These are freshman deemed too young physically to compete with the big kids. So they spend the year working out and going to practice. They're on a full ride.

        Football has “two-deep” rosters. Football has a “scout” team. Football comes with a cast of thousands: head coach, position coaches, coordinators, graduate assistants, equipment managers, strength coaches. When football teams travel, they need a supply line.

        UC's roster has 106 names. Eighty-two are on full scholarship. NFL rosters are limited to 53. Last year, the Bengals dressed 59 players for 20 games. UC played 12 games.

        Want to give Miami back its wrestling program? UC back its men's tennis team? Cut football scholarships.

        “Anybody who says you couldn't (cut) wouldn't be accurate,” said Bob Goin, UC's athletic director. “(But) I don't know what the magic number is.”

        How about 70? Seventy full rides, instead of 85. UC coach Rick Minter argues that 85 are needed, in addition to 20 or so walk-ons, because the younger players “are guys who are totally out of their league when it comes to competing safely.”

        OK. But if every school maxed out at 70, wouldn't everyone be in the same situation? Minter said he needs 80 players for a practice. But he only starts 22 at a time. Twenty-two against 22 others is, um, 44.

        Minter agreed he could coach with fewer players, but argued that money-making sports should be supported, not targeted for reduction. “Why kill the golden goose?” he said.

        The best solution would be a revision of Title IX that didn't make it OK to kill off men's teams by the hundreds. But these are politically correct times. Cutting football grants is a reasonable alternative.

       Contact Paul Daugherty at 768-8454; e-mail: pdaugherty@enquirer.com.

       



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