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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Title IX suit targets KU men’s athletics

Complaint focuses on level of competition for under-represented gender

The coed Kansas University swimming club practice Thursday at Robinson Gymnasium pool. Swim club president Dan Johnson, top center, listens to instructions along with other members. A complaint has been filed against KU, alleging that it fails to offer adequate competition for men, in violation of Title IX.

The coed Kansas University swimming club practice Thursday at Robinson Gymnasium pool. Swim club president Dan Johnson, top center, listens to instructions along with other members. A complaint has been filed against KU, alleging that it fails to offer adequate competition for men, in violation of Title IX.

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A former Kansas University swimmer and member of the 1980 Olympic team has filed a Title IX complaint against the university, alleging that the school does not offer adequate competition for men.

The federal education department’s Office of Civil Rights will investigate the claim filed by Ron Neugent, who is now a dentist in Wichita.

He said he filed the complaint on Sept. 25, alleging that KU fails the three-pronged test required for Title IX compliance.

Jim Marchiony, KU associate athletic director, said he wouldn’t address any of the specific allegations raised in the complaint, but said that the athletics corporation hires a Title IX consultant who has raised no issues relating to compliance.

“We are very, very comfortable with where we are with regards to Title IX and our opportunities that we give to our student-athletes,” Marchiony said.

He said that Kansas Athletics would be meeting with officials from the Office of Civil Rights in the coming weeks.

‘A lot of swimming interest’

photo

The coed Kansas University swimming club practices Thursday at Robinson Gymnasium under the guidance of swim coach Molly Brammer. A complaint has been filed questioning the university’s Title IX compliance.

The decision is being watched closely by participants in the KU Swimming Club, including men who have not had the opportunity to participate in varsity sports at KU after the program was cut in 2001.

Dan Johnson, president of the KU Swimming Club, said that he knows that men’s swimmers there would be interested in joining a varsity team if the opportunity were offered.

“I think that it would be awesome,” he said. “I think that there’s a lot of swimming interest in the state of Kansas.”

One student, Chacour Koop, transferred from KU to Eastern Illinois University, which has a varsity swimming program, after his freshman year.

Today, he swims on the Eastern Illinois team.

“Your times and your abilities aren’t going to improve much” when swimming and competing only on the club level, Koop said. “Plus, team spirit and school spirit are much more visible.”

Neugent found, after reading materials released from KU as part of an NCAA self-study, that women participating in sports at KU outnumbered men.

As of 2007-08, Neugent found that 51 fewer men than women participated in KU varsity sports — resulting in a situation at KU where men, rather than women, are an under-represented gender.

Title IX compliance

Erin Buzuvis, an associate professor of law at Western New England College, who studies Title IX issues and monitors cases nationwide for a blog on the topic, said she wasn’t aware of any complaint quite like the one that’s been filed at KU.

To comply with Title IX, a university must show it meets any one part of a three-part test, Buzuvis said, specifically:

• A university may demonstrate it is providing athletic opportunities for men and women at a rate substantially proportional to the enrollment rates of men and women.

• A school may show a continuing practice of program expansion for an under-represented gender.

• A school can demonstrate that the interest and abilities of the under-represented gender are being fully accommodated.

Neugent said that 4 percent more women than men participate in sports at KU, while enrollment figures remain essentially even.

No men’s programs have been added at KU since golf was added 73 years ago, he said, and a petition signed by about 30 students interested in a men’s swimming and diving team has been registered with the athletic department, he said.

Using that information, Neugent claimed KU was no longer in compliance with Title IX.

Buzuvis said he may have a case, as she is aware of disparities near 5 percent being called significant enough to merit noncompliance with the law, particularly at larger schools. She said that KU’s failure to comply with the second portion of the test may be harder to prove, as the school can demonstrate it has expanded opportunities for men without having to add more sports.

Neugent said that he’s pursuing the complaint in the hopes that KU would add sports in men’s tennis and swimming and diving to restore equality.

“If our state university is not compliant with that law, it’s not right,” Neugent said. “If this had been reversed, and females had been discriminated against at KU, I would feel the same way and taken just as strong a stance as I have here.”

Comments

Eurekahwk 10 years, 11 months ago

I like it. How often do men actually win these kind of cases? I remember when they did away with men's swimming and tennis. There was a lot of pain, anxiety. KU put these guys out like they were nothing. What would you do if you were told your scholarship is gone and the doors at this school are closed to you unless you pay for an education that is really not so cheap. Back then, the KUAC was suffering for money. They are doing just fine now, they can afford to bring back men's swimming, tennis. Even gymnastics or wrestling. This state is too talent rich not to have a wrestling team at KU.

Waylon Cook 10 years, 11 months ago

Yes I am sure some Lib lawyer(probably already represented a young boy who wanted to be the Homecoming Queen in the past) is drooling over this. This should be thrown out asap.

Victims are the worst kind of people.

KU1992 10 years, 11 months ago

Finally! I cannot believe that anyone can try to justify cutting these sports. There are only three sports for men at KU. Baseball, Basketball and Football. While at the same time girls have countless varsity sports. I feel KU could add any number of varsity sports due to the third rule. I also don't see why KU wouldn't want to. Our AD has plenty of money, and it would bring more students and publicity to KU. Win win!

jakzhumans 10 years, 11 months ago

"Yes I am sure some Lib lawyer(probably already represented a young boy who wanted to be the Homecoming Queen in the past) is drooling over this. This should be thrown out asap.

Victims are the worst kind of people."

Are you high? Wanting the opportunity to get a swimming or golf or wrestling scholarship is now akin to wanting to be Homecoming Queen? Having more athletic scholarships for men is now a liberal cause? What convoluted logic allowed you to reach those conclusions?

Jayhawk1116 10 years, 11 months ago

IT'S ABOUT FREAKIN' TIME! There are no men's swimming, tennis, soccer, or volleyball teams anymore. Are these sports going to be labeled strictly women's sports from now on? I played all of those when I was younger. Why don't young men have the opportunity to play these sports on scholarship at a respected university? If a young woman can go to Kansas on a freakin' ROWING scholarship, then a guy should be able to play these other sports.

Waylon Cook 10 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for not seeng the whole picture;) Stuff like this is what has ruined our country, sueing for crap that hasn't caused an issue. ACORN and the libs ruined the banking industry with lawsuits that "loosened" the credit guidelines for minorities for home loans. The KUAD hasn't done anything WRONG.

And yes this is a "victim" type lawsuit. Sorry you were thrown in a trashcan as a child, but KU didn't have a swim team when you came here!

Matt Kenton 10 years, 11 months ago

Thank you jakz.

Title 9 was brought about to give women a chance to compete in college sports, just like the men. Now it's gone so far the other way it's rediculous. Go to kuathletics.com and roll your mouse over Sports. There are 6 men's sports and 10 for the women. Not to mention that football and men's basketball basically pay for all the rest.

Matt Kenton 10 years, 11 months ago

onlyone, trust me you're really off on this one. I hear what you're saying, but Title 9 is a perfect example of what you say is ruining our country. This lawsuit is actually an attempt to fix it.

KU had swimming, diving, and tennis for men and women, but cut them for the men only in 2001 in order to remain compliant with Title 9. KUAD didn't do anything wrong? Ask the guys who were told one day their teams were being folded, they were all losing their scholarships, and could either try and transfer to another school or just play on a club team.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 11 months ago

I totally agree it was devastating when Bob Frederick cut those mens programs. The only reason he did it was because he was a horrible manager as AD and didn't know how to raise money. All he was interested in was BB and FB. I hope this suit changes all that. Anybody in their right mind can look at the programs and see women have way more representation that men.

tdub 10 years, 11 months ago

Keep in mind the total number of varsity participants for each gender is skewed by the size of the football team. Men are much more deficient in KU athletics than the overall numbers show. As many have pointed out, how is having three varsity sports for men considered equal?

Those of you making this political are way off base. This has everything to do with men wanting to compete for their school on a varsity level, and nothing to do with ACORN (where did that even come from?), Obama, and everything else that you rail against on orders from Limbaugh and Hannity.

John Percival 10 years, 11 months ago

After the disappointing football season, some good news (that isn't basketball related). Guessing the $90 bucks they gouged the NU fans (and non-season ticket holders) Saturday could cover at least one men's sport. onlyone, you're so all-over-the-place I'm not sure if you're a righty or lefty, but I'll tell you cutting men's programs for women is definitely NOT conservative - it's reverse discrimination. No football or basketball, no women's rowing team, bottom line.

jakzhumans 10 years, 11 months ago

"Stuff like this is what has ruined our country..."

So, the country is better off when men aren't given scholarships to swim or play tennis but women are? Um, okay. Glad you painted the big picture for me.

jakzhumans 10 years, 11 months ago

"The KUAD hasn't done anything WRONG."

Wrong. Title IX is a law. It's quite possible KUAD is currently in violation of that law. Violating the law is wrong. If you don't like the law, go get it changed. But as long as it's in place, KUAD has to be in compliance with it, and there's a very good chance they aren't.

treboys 10 years, 11 months ago

Football should be thrown out of the Title IX equation. The number of football scholarships totally skews title IX numbers and makes it tougher for men who don't play football to earn scholarships because so many schools drop men's sports to comply. Wouldn't it be nice boys/men to earn a wrestling scholarship to wrestle for KU, K-State or wherever? Bottom line - parents - groom your kids to be football players, I guess.

mwilliam 10 years, 11 months ago

So the banking disaster is the fault of ACORN, the libs and minorities. Good googly, what universe have you been inhabiting. The banking disaster is a result of the no government intervention republicans who eliminated the rules and regulations that used to govern the banking industry. Also, you can include the many speculators who saw the opportunity to get rich quick by giving loans to individuals (not only minorities) who could not afford the loans, even when the prospective buyers indicated they thought they could not afford the loans, they were convinced they could. All in the name of wanting to live the American dream of owning their own homes people were used and reused and now folks like you are blaming them for the crisis, give me a break. There were not that many minorities in those 3-5000 square ft homes that have since gone on the foreclosure roles. I know you have to be a disciple of Rush and the rest of those of his ilk. I apologize to those who are on this site to discuss sports to get political but I could not sit by and let this garbage go unchallenged. Title IX is about fairness and it truly appears there is not fairness at this point, it just so happens that men are on the short end this time but I have always been told what is good for the goose is good for the gander. I don't think the women are going to complain if they add men's swimming, golf, tennis or whatever it takes to make things equal. KU should have more than 6 sports for men; we are talking about a major university that enjoys sports as well as an excellent educational reputation. onlyoneuinkansas, please get a life.

aerohawk 10 years, 11 months ago

I wish there was a good way to take into account profitability. Mens BBall and football pay all the bills, maybe they should get some kind of exemption. If a school doesn't have profitable sports then going with the numbers games for equality might make sense. I would think something like exempting profitable sports makes sense as long as all of the profits are split according to ratio of men to women after taking out contributions to the general education funds.

funding for women sports = (sports profits-education donations from AD)*%women on campus same for men

the one problem I see with something like this is it might allow the AD to just cancel all sports that don't make money, then there wouldn't be anything near equal representation.

Does anyone know if there has ever been an attempt to expand title IX (or create something similar) to racial equality and representation in sports?

MrPilot 10 years, 11 months ago

This is stupid. I hope it gets tossed out. The university athletic department is best qualified to decide which sports the university should compete in. What an absolute waste of taxpayer and donor dollars to force the university to compete in sports that they've decided aren't worth the investment. Title IX needs to be repealed.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 11 months ago

As long as we have Title IX as law it must be followed. The notion of repealing said law to placate YOU is absolutely stupid. Wise up.

55jayhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

Ron, thanks for filing this issue. As a former swimmer at KU, I too think the men's swim program got spanked to make room for more sports for women. I know things had to be changed to give women their due in atheletics but things are getting equalized again. I doubt if Lew wants our program back but he needs to look at the percentage of swimmers that have given money, land, and other gifts to the athetic Department and to the University itself. It will be tough to put together a sport that has been dropped for the men but I assure you we were friends with the football team, basketball team, track team back in the '60'S. Some of us even played football or tried to and I would never trade that experience for anything. We never had any fights with others playing another sport, and we always supported each other and the University.

rastameta 10 years, 11 months ago

I fully support this action. We do need to bring smaller sports back for the men.

I think wrestling should be added too....they can add women's gymnastics or something to get the women's numbers and then everyone is happy.

Lew has brought in enough money to support some of these smaller sports. We already have the tennis courts and pool, so don't need new facilities.

labbadabba 10 years, 11 months ago

How 'bout Varsity mens hockey? That would take care of about 18 scholly's there...

OnlyoneU - sorry to see that you use 'lib' as a swear word.

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

Men's hockey and men's soccer ... I'm all for that!

Swimming, golf and tennis - of either gender ... I could take it or leave it.

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