Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thursday is the Deadline for Public Comment on the Department of Education's EADA Data Collection Practices

The Department of Education is collecting input from the public about its efforts pursuant to the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act to collect information from colleges and universities regarding gender equity in athletic programs.  Here is a link to the electronic docket, where you can read more about the Department's existing efforts, as instructions (so easy!) on how to submit your own comments on line.  Or, you can visit the National Women's Law Center website, where you can submit comments using suggested sample text.  But either way, act soon. The deadline for comments is Thursday.

I submitted my comments today.  Here is what I wrote:
As a law professor who researches and writes (and blogs) about Title IX, I strongly encourage the Department of Education to continue aggressive efforts to gather and report data related to the athletic opportunities and resources available male and female students at federally-funded colleges and university.  These efforts are crucial to maintaining public awareness about Title IX compliance and to the public's efforts to initiate both government and private enforcement.   
To this end, any efforts that the Department of Education can make to enhance the transparency on questions of institutional compliance would be most helpful.  A few suggestions are as follows:
  • Develop an auditing process to ensure that all reported opportunities are "genuine and not illusory" -- that institutions are not misreporting male practice players, cutting or adding students after the EADA reporting deadlines, or rostering students in name only. 
  • Require institutions to allocate all expenditures which are currently listed as unallocated. This can be done by prorating the expenditure to each team in a manner proportionate to the number of opportunities associated with each team.
  • Require that institutions report capital expenditures and assign them to the team (or teams) associated with the capital expense.  E.g., the debt on a stadium devoted to football should appear as an expense for that team. The debt on a multi-use facility should be allocated among the teams that use the facility. The exclusion of capital expenditures hides the true cost of athletic opportunities, as well as any gender inequality related to those costs. 
  • Require that institutions report generated revenue, to the exclusion of revenue that may be allocated from the institution.  The inclusion of the institutional subsidy as "revenue" gives the false impression that athletic programs profit, or break even, when they do not.