Sunday, November 30, 2008
OCR Inquiry at Weatherford College
A Title IX "inquiry" from the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights has Weatherford College officials pulling together data, policies and procedures about its athletic department. No word on what aspect of compliance has put Weatherford on OCR's radar, but according to public data, this NJCAA member institution offers twice as many opportunities for male athletes as for female athletes. In addition to a coed rodeo team (cool!) which has 16 men and 18 women, Weatherford's other teams are men's and women's basketball (16 men and 13 women) and men's baseball (29 men). Thus, at a school where women constitute 60% of the student body, their percentage of the athletic opportunities is a mere 33%. While this disparity is not a Title IX violation per se, it probably illustrates why OCR is making inquiries. Fortunately, college officials, including the newly-appointed first-ever athletic director, are seeming to embrace the opportunity to receive input and advice from OCR on how to ensure they are not discriminating against Weatherford's female students.