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Thursday, May 6, 2010

KU takes steps on Title IX issue

Kansas University will have to resolve a standing complaint that the school is in violation of Title IX. A Former Olympic swimmer filed the original complaint and said the university is discriminating against men.

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Kansas Athletics has reached an agreement with the government addressing a complaint that it discriminates against male athletes.

KU will have to submit documentation and a plan to ensure it is in full compliance with the law as part of the agreement, which resolves a Title IX complaint filed last November.

The agreement doesn’t mean KU is out of compliance with Title IX, but was a mutually agreed upon course of action to resolve the complaint between KU and the Office of Civil Rights, which oversees Title IX regulations.

Ron Neugent, a Wichita dentist and former KU swimmer who was a member of the 1980 Olympic team, filed the initial complaint against KU using the civil rights legislation long used to bring about equality for women.

At Kansas Athletics today, unlike many cases in the past, men are the under-represented gender. Though men and women are enrolled at KU in about equal rates, women comprise nearly 55 percent of the total student-athletes at the university.

KU eliminated its men’s swimming and men’s tennis programs in 2001, citing budget concerns at the time.

Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director, said that the school works with a Title IX consultant, and has a history of being in compliance with the law, and that is where Kansas Athletics’ focus would remain.

He said he anticipated that any fix would likely be a minor one, but said he didn’t yet know what form it could take.

“What we’ve got to do is make sure population shifts haven’t affected what we’re doing,” Marchiony said. “We don’t have any doubt that OCR will look at the report and determine that we are in compliance.”

To comply with Title IX, 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.

• Has a continuing practice of program expansion for an under-represented gender.

• Can demonstrate the interest and abilities of the under-represented gender are being fully accommodated.

In a letter to the government, KU said it intended to comply with the first of the three requirements.

Neugent said he hoped that was not an indication KU would look at this in the way that many Title IX complaints alleging discrimination against women have been handled in the past. In those cases, many athletics departments across the country chose to get rid of sports and opportunities for men to equalize participation and enrollment rates.

Now that the pendulum has swung in the other direction, Neugent said he filed the complaint in the hopes that some lost sports could be regained.

“I hope they see this as an chance to add opportunities for men, and not as an opportunity to take away walk-on spots for women,” Neugent said.

The resolution agreement says that, in order to address the complaint, KU should — by next March — assess its participation rates and enrollment rates for men and women.

Then, by April 2011, KU should submit a plan to demonstrate it is meeting the first part of the three-part test, and by December 2011, should follow up with documentation it is in full compliance.

Dan Johnson, a KU senior and president of the KU Swimming Club, said he and nearly every other member of the club swimming team want varsity swimming renewed at KU. While he acknowledged that laws like Title IX have helped bring about balance between men and women, he said he’s not as satisfied with how the process has gone.

“It’s a tricky balance,” he said. “It’s the fact that we’re cutting opportunities to equalize opportunities” instead of adding options for both men and women that’s troubling, he said.

Comments

Chris Shaw 10 years, 5 months ago

“It’s a tricky balance,” he said. “It’s the fact that we’re cutting opportunities to equalize opportunities” instead of adding options for both men and women that’s troubling, he said.

Sounds pretty logical to me. The thing I find most troubling is the rate at which AD's are eliminating wrestling programs at college and universities across the country. It's sad! I'm on par with the quote above.

jbro769 10 years, 5 months ago

As a former KSHSAA state swimmer and tennis player myself, I would want nothing more then to have these two sports reinstated. The pendulum has shifted towards more opportunities for women and less for men. I definately agree with the statement above that both of these sports can't be that expensive to operate, and I would love to see a men's wrestling program added to KU athletics too!

Ted Toulouse 10 years, 5 months ago

HERE HERE! I just hope they don't judge equality by the number of male vs. female athletes currently "employed" in the system, because the football team would skew those numbers against the men. I have always had a problem with Title IX - not because of the opportunities it provides (I'm in favor of that) but because it has affected hiring of personnel in the past. I have seen several cases where a woman was hired over a man for a coaching position or an admin position because they wanted "equality" in those areas. Just hire the best person for the job - male/female/white/african-american/zulu/Irish/Turkish - whatever. It's time to start evaluating people by what they bring to the interview/resume table and not by some superficial trait.

Benjamin Clay Jones 10 years, 5 months ago

The women are on the gravy train. The men are out in the cold. Title IX will never be just until it exempts football--for which there is no female equivalent--from the equation. Football pays for the rest of the programs, men's and women's, and yet it penalizes the men because it costs them half their overall number of scholarships. Result? Most of the other men's programs are put on the chopping block, and women are given all sorts of sports to make up the numbers. Then coaches often have to go out and beg women to join the teams so they can get their numbers up. It's an absurd system that's in place, and it's led to the decimation of minor men's sports.

Ben Kane 10 years, 5 months ago

agree with about everyone on here. I'd like to see swimming, diving, tennis, wrestling, etc. The intent behind title IX was genuine but has cost many men's programs across the country to be sacrificed for the gods of football. there is just no women's equilavent to the scholarships numbers given to men for football. my solution is that football scholarships shouldn't count against a university as far as title IX is concerned.

MN_Jayhawk39 10 years, 5 months ago

As a male athlete at KU in the late 90's/ early 2000's I watched my friends programs get cut and then watched them transfer to other schools. For me Title IX is limited in definition. Not only should it be equity in numbers of athlete proportional to the ratio of male/female enrollment at the school but it should also include an equity in opporunity.

When I first stepped foot on campus I remember there were members of the KU women's crew team standing on Wesco Beach "recruiting" women to try-out and possibly earn a scholarship. I remember thinking to myself, where is there a sport for men where an "above average high school athlete who was not good enough to play D1 in the sport they grew up playing" could try out for, and earn a scholarship for, a D1 sport they have never playing in their lives?

Now, I'm all for equality between men and women but we have to be careful that we truly have equity, in number and opportunity.

4ABetterKU 10 years, 5 months ago

I hope the KU Department of Athletics sees this as a wonderful opportunity to add men's sports and make some progress towards their goal of being ranked in the top 25 nationally in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Directors Cup rankings. In 2006, the KU athletic department stated that one of their most important goals was to be ranked in the Directors Cup top 25 by 2011. KU was ranked 60th in 2006. KU is currently ranked 90th. The only Big XII school ranked lower is Kansas State. The top 10 sports for men and the top 10 sports for women are scored for each institution. KU only offers 7 men's sports (three of which are indoor track, cross country, and outdoor track). KU offers 11 women's sports. We start the Directors Cup competition against schools that offer 10 or more men's sports at a severe scoring disadvantage. The only realistic way of achieving sustainable success in the Directors Cup competition and to move toward Title IX compliance is to add men's sports. As far as prestige of doing well in the Directors Cup, Stanford, which offers 33 or 34 varsity sports, has won the competition every year since the mid 1990s. Let's go after that prestige and make that move towards improving KU.

4ABetterKU 10 years, 5 months ago

I hope the KU Department of Athletics sees this as a wonderful opportunity to add men's sports and make some progress towards their goal of being ranked in the top 25 nationally in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Directors Cup rankings. In 2006, the KU athletic department stated that one of their most important goals was to be ranked in the Directors Cup top 25 by 2011. KU was ranked 60th in 2006. KU is currently ranked 90th. The only Big XII school ranked lower is Kansas State. The top 10 sports for men and the top 10 sports for women are scored for each institution. KU only offers 7 men's sports (three of which are indoor track, cross country, and outdoor track). KU offers 11 women's sports. We start the Directors Cup competition against schools that offer 10 or more men's sports at a severe scoring disadvantage. The only realistic way of achieving sustainable success in the Directors Cup competition and to move toward Title IX compliance is to add men's sports. As far as prestige of doing well in the Directors Cup, Stanford, which offers 33 or 34 varsity sports, has won the competition every year since the mid 1990s. Let's go after that prestige and make that move towards improving KU.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 5 months ago

The whole point of Title IX, supposedly, is opportunity. but now, like it ALWAYS gets to with federal mandates, are the cold, hard fact numbers...and then they hurt other legitimate programs.

men's sports have been cut across the board. KU's budget had literally, nothing to do with eliminating men's swimming and tennis. this decision was made, and led by an AD, (God rest his soul), that couldn't see the growth industry of big time college athletics....and was also driven to keep in compliance with this totally outdated legislation.

Title IX has long given us what we wanted...a chance for women to compete in athletics. sans a few sports, like basketball, the viewers of live women's events doesn't even come close to mens events...largely because of football...but, we as a society, can't help it if we really like watching football. that is truly the marketing reality.

basically, the volume of required women athletes...should be a fraction of men. and then you would see it round back into form. i think people truly enjoy watching womens volleyball, basketball, softball, gymnastics and track...and everything else, well, it would be eligible to go the club sport route.

but see, that is what is truly silly about all of this...it's a FEDERAL mandate. if these schools, like KU, would stop lining up to eat at the federal trough, then this would go away. get the federal government out...and out now.

jakzhumans 10 years, 5 months ago

Is the baseball team still operating with only partial scholies for many of the players? If so, I'm guessing that's where they'll add additional scholies before they start adding additional sports.

Ryan Wood 10 years, 5 months ago

NCAA rules state that the baseball team can only get something like 11 scholarships. KU isn't under that.

Most Olympic sports do partial scholarships.

Ben Kane 10 years, 5 months ago

yes, you are right about the baseball schollies but unfortunately baseball is no longer an olympic sport.

Ryan Wood 10 years, 5 months ago

The only way men's swimming comes back is if Lew can somehow get a slimy men's swimming student fee to pass that would cover the costs.

nettiepie 10 years, 5 months ago

I thought the news reports from several years back were that cuts were made because of trying to equalize the $$$$$$ spent for mens and womens sports. Since football is so expensive, women were allowed to have many more programs and opportunities for sports to balance the money spent. I didn't know it was supposed to reflect enrollment by gender.

gardenjay 10 years, 5 months ago

Title IX had good ideals, but of course the economics forced an unnatural situation that no student athlete could possibly be happy with, unless they are misandronous or misogynist.

As pointed out eloquently above, the glory days for men and women together were there before Title IX, and it was indeed exciting and fun to be part of an integrated sport - like in HIGH SCHOOL for cripes sake. For KU Crew, the coxswains could even be of either gender. What a concept!

So while I am sure for some women Title IX opened doors, it most certainly slammed doors shut for women and men to work together on a KU-sponsored crew team. It is so sad, because the U.S. badly needs integrated activities, especially in college, not for legislation that further widens the epidemic of gender separation ideas.

I agree funding had been lopsided towards male athletics before, and I found that to be ridiculous. However, women are better educated than men now, so give the men a break and at least let them back on the crew team.

Jesus_Freak 9 years, 6 months ago

Well im going to be a new student at Kansas University and I was hoping on a guys tennis team. I come from a private school with about 150 high schoolers and we have all the teams KU has and support them all. Sure we dont have all the nice workout rooms and courts and feilds, but that doesnt stop us from doing a new sport. Tennis isnt very hard to fund just need a court some tennis balls, jerseys, coaches and players. I dont think that these decisions are descriminate and I think that if us guys want to start our own club that it should be fine. What are the rules for starting a club anyways?

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