Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wrestling at Washington community college saved--for now

Last month the board of trustees at Yakima Valley Community College delayed a vote on the potential elimination of the school's wrestling team. At that time, wrestling coach Mike Schmitt asked the board to consider adding a women's wrestling team to help move the college toward proportionality (currently the athletic opportunities for female student-athletes do not come near their 64% representation in the undergraduate population and YVCC apparently has a history with compliance that they are still trying to resolve). The former wrestling coach has agreed to donate $5,000 to start a women's club team with the hope that it will get elevated to varsity status.

Unfortunately none of the issues were addresses at the meeting yesterday because a motion to eliminate the wrestling team was never seconded leaving the whole affair unresolved.

Some are concerned about the costs of adding another team and of course the current lack of resolution of previous Title IX complaints is also weighing heavy on the school.

But there was a very curious statement made by someone at the school regarding the role of OCR in adding sports. College president Linda Kaminsky said that OCR decides what sports to add; that her talks with OCR lawyers has lead her to belief that YVCC cannot just add any sport it wants to; i.e. they might not be able to add women's wrestling even if they wanted to. She said that when the school added women's soccer in 2006 it was OCR's idea not the school's. I have never ever heard of OCR going into a school and dictating which sports a school should add. OCR has always been very hands off in such decisions. They go in and tell a school what is wrong but it is always the school's responsibility to find a solution. Either Kaminsky is confused or she is trying to deflect blame off herself and other administrators for the forthcoming (maybe?? no word on when this issue is going to be taken up next) decisions.