Saturday, October 07, 2006

NYT on JMU

The New York Times offered this coverage of JMU's decision to eliminate 10 athletic teams last Friday.

Among the quotes from the article, JMU's compliance consultant Lamar Daniel backpedaled from his earlier statement that the cuts were not about Title IX, but entirely "a business decision." He told the Times: "I went too far and maybe overstated my case. I can’t say what was in their minds." This after JMU officials insisted the decision was only about compliance and pointed out that the cuts resulted in only about half a million dollars in savings out of a 21 million dollar budget. (The Times did point out, as we did here, that it's hard to reconcile the "it was only about compliance" argument with the fact that JMU made more cuts than necessary to satisfy the proportionality prong, and that they weren't being sued or threatened with a suit for noncompliance with either of the other two prongs).

Related to the compliance versus business debate, Professor Ellen Staurowsky of Ithaca College offered some historical context:
If James Madison had been incrementally responding to women’s sports opportunities over the years, they wouldn’t be in the situation they found themselves in....It is decades of inertia by decision makers that leads to Title IX compliance problems. So now this generation has to deal with massive cuts.
She also contextualized JMU's decision as part of the "national trend" of athletic department streamlining:
We are seeing what others would term a corporate restructuring on the Division I level....It puts the focus on the sports that will most likely bring distinction and potentially bring fewer headaches. So they do away with so-called lesser sports.
Last, the article also noted that one of the disappointed athletes was a swimmer who had transferred to JMU this year after UNH canceled its men's varsity program. No matter who or what you blame for the cuts, the thought of this guy having to go through that agony for a second time really underscores how tragic the situation is for the athletes involved.

1 comment:

lbas said...

Can JMU Board and Visitors and President Rose be fair to those student athletes affected by the cuts? Why not just extend the cuts to take effect in 2010, thus giving full disclosure and allowing present students to complete their rightful education at the university they chose to compete at?