Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Kansas upgrading facilities

The University of Kansas, after undertaking an internal review on gender equity and review an external committee's report, has developed a master plan designed to improve the quality of women's athletics facilities at the university.
A new and improved boathouse for the crew team debuted this year already. Plans also include new soccer complex and volleyball stadium (of increased size so as to enable the university to host tournament games). Also slated for upgrade is the softball complex; a facility specifically cited in the external report. The report's verbiage is curious though:
“The softball facility should be of equal quality as the baseball facility but on a smaller scale.”
Not sure exactly what that means but the result will be a concession stand, grandstand, restrooms. I suppose what they are saying is "you don't have to have as many seats in the stands or stalls in the bathrooms; but they better be the same quality as what exists in the baseball complex."
What is a little more curious is that even though these improvements were cited as part of a gender equity/Title IX review the associate athletic director says they are Title IX compliant--that they just don't want to treat their female athletes like second-class citizens. Not sure what this misconception is based on. I think too many people believe that if you have satisfied one of the three prongs, you're good to go. They fail to see that meeting the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex is only one component of compliance. Facilities is another (just ask all those high schools who are furiously trying to set their softball fields up to par after being threatened with--or subjects of--lawsuits).
All these facilities improvements are costly--probably $10million by the time they are done. But Kansas administrators say it will all be done through donations.