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Monday, March 30, 2009

KU to address equality of women’s sports venues

At far right, from left, Allison Babbit, 5, her sister Katie, 8, and their father, Kevin Babbit, Lawrence, are framed by rowing shells as they pass through a rowing shells bay on the lower floor the new Kansas Rowing boathouse during an open house Saturday at Burcham Park. The facility totals more than 16,000 square feet.

At far right, from left, Allison Babbit, 5, her sister Katie, 8, and their father, Kevin Babbit, Lawrence, are framed by rowing shells as they pass through a rowing shells bay on the lower floor the new Kansas Rowing boathouse during an open house Saturday at Burcham Park. The facility totals more than 16,000 square feet.

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NCAA Certification Self-Study

The Kansas University Athletics Department is undertaking several facility improvements after external reports showed the university’s men’s and women’s facilities were unequal.

Jim Marchiony, associate athletic director, said the university annually undergoes an external review for Title IX issues related to gender equity in all facets of its program.

The consultant, Lamar Daniel Inc., identified areas in which the university was doing well, such as in participation and coaching support, among others, Marchiony said.

“The one area that we need to focus on is facilities,” he said.

The external gender equity report from 2007-08 called facilities “the biggest problem facing the athletic program because they were neglected by the previous athletic administrations.”

It goes on to say that the current administration is helping to address the problem by developing and implementing a facilities master plan and making improvements to facilities.

As pointed out in KU’s recently-released internal study required by the NCAA, the university needs to make upgrades to bring women’s facilities into comparable status.

The university is already headed down that road, Marchiony said, with an opening this year of a new, much-needed boathouse for women’s rowing, and other renovations in the works.

A planned Olympic Village south of Anschutz Pavilion includes many improvements for women’s sports, including softball improvements totaling $1.1 million, with improvements for grandstand seating for 1,200 people and a press box.

The outside consultant’s 2007-08 report states that grandstand, concession areas and restrooms were needed for the softball program.

“The softball facility should be of equal quality as the baseball facility but on a smaller scale,” the report reads, going on to say the softball stadium should have the same amenities found at the baseball park.

Soccer is also targeted for needed improvements — a new soccer competition field, scoreboard and grandstand seating for 2,500 is planned at the Olympic Village, at an estimated cost of $4.5 million, with an additional $2 million dedicated for a separate soccer practice field.

Marchiony said private fundraising is ongoing to pay for the improvements.

The internal study for the NCAA references separate plans to upgrade Horesji Family Athletic Center to allow for 2,000 seats in the volleyball stadium so that the facility can host NCAA tournament games.

The university is Title IX compliant, but that doesn’t mean that improvements still can’t be made to women’s facilities, Marchiony said.

“We just have to make sure that we don’t treat our women’s programs like second-class citizens,” he said. “We want to treat them in a first-class manner.”

Comments

JuliansWright 10 years, 10 months ago

Programs that make money should get the nicer facilities. (e.g. Men's Basketball and Football) Title IX is a joke.

Cody Stumma 10 years, 10 months ago

Title IX is the only thing keeping a lot of sports (aside from Football and Basketball) alive. I don't think its a joke.

jhawk23 10 years, 10 months ago

How about addressing the inequality of the number of non-revenue producing sports for men?

Men's tennis, swimming, and diving were dropped less than a decade ago supposedly because the athletic department couldn't "afford" them any more. Isn't it time we took a look at "affording" them again?

jakzhumans 10 years, 10 months ago

I'd have zero problems with Title IX if they excluded football from the equation. Football skews the picture incredibly, and the sheer volume of scholarships involved virtually mandates the elimination of other men's sports. Take it out of the equation, then make everything else equal. As it stands now, KU can never field a men's tennis, swimming, diving or wrestling team, or have an all-scholarship baseball team, unless they also start adding an equal number of scholarships in women's sports that there is no demand for in this part of the country, like lacrosse or hockey. Like so many things involving the NCAA, Title IX is a well-intentioned rule that should have been executed better.

JayViking 10 years, 10 months ago

jhawk23 and jakz hit the nail on the head.

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Women's basketball could sustain itself if fans would start showing up ...

the program has come a long way, but still has a ways to go.

If Iowa State can average 10,000 a game for women's hoops, there's no reason that Kansas couldn't average at least 8,000.

The baseball program is headed in the right direction as well ... and could also benefit from a bump in attendance.

jayhawk2062 10 years, 10 months ago

If the women's program won like the men's program then there would be a larger attendance number.

When our women's team gets to 20 wins and NCAA's regularly then I could see attendance going up in the 5,000 to 7,000 per game range. It is doable. Just that extra revenue alone would probably cover the women's budget. Instead of losing money on the program.

Migady 10 years, 10 months ago

The thing is 7 year, how do you find a consistent 8,000 Fans to attend Women's Basketball. They might be headed in the right direction, that doesn't drive fans... Being interested in the sport is what drives.

Fact is a lot of the collegiate sports do not make money. There are 3 women’s basketball programs in the whole country that actually turn a profit. Most men's sports don't make money either. They way to look at Title IX is it sucks for Men. It was only created because women felt they weren’t being treated fairly (Weird?) but at this point it is a fixture in collegiate sports and won't go away or be changed.

At the end of the day, College athletic programs have a budget to run as many programs as they want to (Profit not in mind). Title IX just forced Men's programs to be lost, because once in place there wasn't enough money in the bucket to keep all men's sports going. So essentially the women just took the former men’s funding/scholarships... In being "fair"

Your government at work for you. Change and Hope.

Cody Stumma 10 years, 10 months ago

If Title IX is solely about Scholarships, then bring the teams back! Who said you needed scholarship athletes to have a good team? Bring the men's swim team back, I'll join! I'm not excellent (as in state champion quality), but I have brought several medals home in 5-6A swim meets.

indianajayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

unfortunately its not just about scholarships with Title IX. It is about "participation opportunities" which has led to several schools being forced to cap men's teams because they have too many walk-ons for the men that they cannot equal for women.

Having competed for a non-scholarship team in a scholarship conference, attracting the depth necessary to have an even-halfway competitive team is very difficult (and often impossible if there is not already a tradition of winning in place). That being said, however, its always worth a try. Can't be worse than the current situation

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