Not a lot of students know what their general fees pay for, and not a lot of students know where the money for athletics comes from and where it goes. That's what this project is all about.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Title IX Adds Funds to Athletics

Each year, the federal government gives Bowling Green State University $201,000 for “Title IX Support,” according to the Athletics budget. All BGSU does to get the money is follow the law.
Title IX, which was passed in 1972, requires gender equality in every educational program that receives federal funding, according to
In the minds of many, Title IX and women’s athletics go hand in hand. But the law was originally intended for academics, said Nancy Spencer, an associate professor in BGSU’s Sport-Management department.  
“[Title IX] was passed to look at positions in education and said that all educational opportunities had to be equal for women as well as for men. It was almost an afterthought that sports would be included in it,” she said.
Still, Spencer said, Title IX tends to get blamed for budget cuts in athletics, and it puts BGSU in a tough position when it has to cut sports. Normally, she said, a school would cut whichever sports lose the most money. But because of Title IX, BGSU doesn’t have a lot of leeway when it comes to cutting women’s sports, even if they are less cost-effective than some men’s sports.
Title IX is a three-pronged piece of legislation, said Lesley Irvine, associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at BGSU. In order to receive federal funding, schools only have to meet one of the three criteria. 

The first criterion is a commitment to equality in opportunities for men and women. This requires schools to make plans and show they are taking steps toward expanding opportunities for women.
The second criterion involves participation opportunities in relation to population. For example, if 56 percent of a school’s populations is female, 56 percent of athletes should be female and 56 percent of athletic resources should go toward women’s sports.
The third Title IX criterion involves addressing the needs of women. For example, if there is a group on campus, such as a women’s lacrosse team, that asks to become a varsity sport, the request should be carefully considered instead of nonchalantly pushed aside.
“As long as you can check one of those boxes, you are technically compliant,” Irvine said. “But it’s one of those things that all three of them are good things and we should be doing them anyway.”
When sports do need to be cut, Irvine said, more than just Title IX and even revenue in general is taken into account.
“As an educational institution, we’re trying to provide opportunities for the student athletes that go way beyond whether the sport is producing money or not,” she said.
As head coach of a women’s sport at BGSU, Andy Richards said he has never feared his team will be eliminated. He thinks women’s soccer is “probably lower down on the list” of sports that would be first to go.
“I know there have been cuts over the years, but they were necessary at the time,” he said. “I’ve never felt threatened.
“Soccer is such a popular sport, [and] it’s pretty low in maintenance as far as cost, so I don’t really worry about that.”
Associate Athletic Director for Internal Affairs Jim Elsasser said that BGSU does not differentiate between sports and treats all varsity sports equally, whether for men or women. Some sports just require more money than others, he said.
“We’re committed to all 18 sports,” Elsasser said. “We’re always looking to spend in effective ways with the money provided.”

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