Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bemidji State Cuts Men's Track

A brief note that officials at Bemidji State, a state university in Minnesota that is trying to execute a 10% budget cut institution-wide, announced that it is terminating its indoor and outdoor men's track teams. Officials acknowledged that the university is "well out of alignment, as far as Title IX" -- an explanation for why budget cuts focused on men's sports rather than women's sports or both. Track was also, apparently, expendable from a point of view of maintaining the requirements the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and the NCAA Division II, to which Bemidji State belongs.

In case you're wondering what "well out of alignment" looks like, Bemidji's EADA data reveals 221 opportunities in men's athletics, 129 opportunities in women's, a 63% to 37% split at a school whose student body is 50% male and 50% female. Cutting the men's track teams brings the percentage of opportunities in men's athletics to 54%, which may not be considered close enough for proportionality, especially because it amounts to an absolute disparity of 24 women's opportunities, which is more that the size of many women's teams.