Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ohio University Drops Four Sports

Ohio University will no longer sponsor varsity men's indoor and outdoor track, men's swimming and diving, and women's lacrosse. According to Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt, the cuts will save the Athletic Department $685,000, a fraction of its $4 million deficit and will also bring Ohio University into compliance with Title IX's proportionality prong.

According to data reported to Department of Education, Ohio's student body is 52% female but its students athletes are only 42% female. The cuts will reduce the number of opportunities for male athletes from 359 to 227 (a loss of 110 positions on the indoor and outdoor track and field teams + 26 swimming and diving team). And cutting women's lacrosse will reduce the number of female athletes from 258 to 230. So women will make up 50% of Ohio's student athletes, which is within the range that courts and federal regulators have deemed "substantially" proportionate.

Officials acknowledged that substantial proportionality could also have been acheived by adding more opportunities for women, but the athletic department deficits precluded this possibility. I For the details, I returned to the same Department of Education data, and found that Ohio University's football program cost $1.9 million last year; all other men's sports combined cost about $1 million; and all women's sports combined cost $2.2 million. That works out to a per student subsidy of $17,757 for each football player; $3968 for each non-football male athlete (this number reflects that men's basketball made a $300,000 profit); and $8527 for each female athlete.

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