Monday, August 06, 2007

University of Hawaii Fundraises for Women's Scholarships

The University of Hawaii has invited Jackie Joyner-Kersee to kickoff an upcoming fundraiser to raise $500,000 for endowed scholarships for female athletes.

Are there Title IX implications here? Under OCR's policy for booster clubs and private fundraising, universities can't use private funds to give either sex benefits or advantages that are denied to the other sex.

However, there is little risk of that happening in Hawaii. I checked out UH's athletic scholarship distribution, and women currently receive 43% of the $3.5 million athletic scholarship budget, though they receive 50% of athletic opportunities and make up 55% of the student body. Under Title IX's scholarship regulations, Hawaii's women should receive around 50% of the scholarship dollars, and a greater percentage if/when the school increases athletic opportunities for women to come into compliance with prong one.

Which means that regardless of how this fundraiser turns out, the university should be planning to increase women's athletic scholarships by $230,000 annually. UH's fundraiser and its coordination with Joyner-Kersee is a commendable plan for progress toward this goal, but since a $500,000 endowment can't possibly generate that kind of money every year, I think the university will still have to use athletic department funds to come into compliance.

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