The Washinton Post’s Liz Clark wrote a piece last year entitled Five Myths About Women’s Sports. All of it is worth reading. But the fourth myth, Title IX is hurting men’s sports is particularly interesting since there is a particular minority who try to blame Title IX for the problems that some of the Division I men’s programs have hade.
From the piece in the Washington Post (emphasis mine):
Men’s college sports that don’t generate a profit — wrestling, tennis, gymnastics — are endangered species. To close multimillion-dollar budget shortfalls, athletic directors increasingly are dropping men’s sports teams and the scholarships and educational opportunities they represent. In response, the American Sports Council (formerly the College Sports Council) was created to rally support and spread the word that a wrongheaded application of Title IX, the U.S. law that guarantees equal opportunity for men and women at schools receiving federal funds, is the culprit.
“The long-term impact,” Eric Pearson, the organization’s chairman, wrote in the National Review, “. . . is that colleges will continue to eliminate men’s teams in order to comply with Title IX’s gender quota.”
It’s a fallacy. The real battle lines are between college sports’ “haves” ( football and men’s basketball) and its “have-nots” (men’s Olympic sports and women’s sports), as three-time Olympic gold medalist and law professor Nancy Hogshead-Makar explains in her book “Equal Play: Title IX and Social Change.”
The richest athletic departments compete in the NCAA’s Division I. And the richest among them — the roughly 65 that play big-time football, many with annual budgets of more than $100 million — generate and spend the lion’s share of their men’s budgets (78 percent) on two sports, football and basketball. The other men’s teams divvy up what’s left.
If their departments run deficits, Division I athletic directors can either rein in spending or eliminate a sport. Many, the University of Maryland included,have done both. In the past decade, Division I schools have cut 121 men’s non-revenue sports programs. But in Divisions II and III, which don’t compete in big-time football, men’s non-revenue sports are thriving, with more than 400 teams added in the past decade. If wrestling vanishes, blame football, not Title IX.