Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Title X: Safety from football

Mississippi State (and props to MSU student newspaper, The Reflector for covering Title IX in its sports pages twice in one week!) baseball coach, Ron Polk, thinks we need a Title X to protect men's sports. He is quick to give his support for women's athletics and Title IX but now he wants some sort of equal treatment that provides "protection against men's sports being cut." He believes proportionality is akin to quota filling.
There seems to be a little bit of two-sided mouth talking going on here. Additionally, because Title IX and its attendant regulations regarding compliance never mention, let alone advocate, cutting men's sports, Polk's desired "Title X"--to be compatible with Title IX, which Polk himself supports, remember--would have to make some provision for micromanaging athletic department budgets. Because as we have said repeatedly here, cuts are due to budget constraints.
Polk does bring up football--not in terms of budget but in how many spots the football roster fills in the overall count of athletes, noting that not many people realize that football takes up usually half of athletic opportunities for men. Many of us do realize this and have suggested that football trim its roster to allow other men's sports to offer more scholarships. This is a suggestion Polk himself does not make. I wonder how badly he really wants to protect men's baseball?
The article discusses JMU's fight to save sports in the wake of massive cuts and cites Jennifer Chapman, a female student-athlete who is leading the charge. I have some issues with what Chapman has been saying to the media about the situation at JMU and the Title IX blaming going on. But comment is right on track:
"Athletic departments have become a business run by accountants, not a place of opportunity run to educate students," she told The New York Times. "What are you saying to young boys involved in youth sports when you only offer six college sports for them?
"You're saying, 'You better play football or basketball, because if you run track or swim, you don't matter.'"
Exactly! And that has nothing to do with Title IX but everything to do with bad accounting and misplaced priorities.
And let's not forget that this message of "you don't matter" is exactly the one girls get when attempts to blame and weaken Title IX are made.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For the most part, I disagree with arguments supporting new legislation such as Title X becuase Title IX already encompasses the concerns illustrated above. Title IX was in place to give opportunities and voice to the "underrepresented." If you read, carefully, the intepretation and clarification of Title IX issued in 1979, it is explicit to say that the underrepresented includes, but is not limited to, women AND/OR club sports who seek equal opportunities to participate in intercollegiate athletics at the varsity level.