The Knight Commission met earlier this week to discuss recruiting practices and gender equity issues in intercollegiate sport.
Dr. Christine Grant spoke (Chronicle of Higher Education--subscription only) about the growth of football and men's basketball budgets and their role in achieving (or not) gender equity. At the Division 1A level football budgets have tripled in the past two decades while men's basketball budgets have quadrupled. [Part of the exponential increases are due to the rising coaches' salaries--an issue the commission addressed as well.]
Together, the budgets for football and men's basketball comprise, on average, 76 percent of men's sports budgets. That leaves very little left for what are now being called men's "minor" sports such as wrestling, track, rowing, gymnastics, and tennis. When cuts are made to such teams, Title IX gets blamed as we have seen most vividly in the response by wrestling coaches, players, and fans to cuts incurred in their sport.
But as Dr. Grant noted, "It's not Title IX that's causing this problem. It's the insatiable appetites of football and basketball."