Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Fresno State Adds Women's Swimming and Lacrosse

Fresno State Athletic Director Thomas Boeh announced on Monday that the University will add two women's athletics teams -- swimming/diving and lacrosse -- in the next academic year in an effort to come into compliance with Title IX.

The basis for this decision is the analysis of the University's Gender Equity Task force, which examined all athletic department offerings this fall. It concluded that Fresno State satisfied Title IX's requirements with respect to equitable participation opportunities because the percentage of athletic opportunities for women (59.6%) was proportional -- actually, higher -- to the percentage of women in the student body (58.6%).

However, the University does not presently comply with the additional requirement that the percentage of scholarship dollars to female athletes approximate the percentage of female athletes. At Fresno State female athletes receive only 46% of the scholarship dollars, while constituting 52%* of the student athlete population. Due to NCAA scholarship caps, Fresno State could not increase the number of scholarships awarded in its existing women's sports, so to equalize scholarship dollars, it had to either add new women's teams or reduce the scholarships awarded to male athletes. The decision to add women's swimming and lacrosse, both sports with high NCAA scholarship caps, followed.

Fresno State used to sponsor a women's swimming and diving team, but cut the team in 2003, along with men's soccer and men's track and field and cross country, as a cost-saving measure.

*The percentage of female athletes is lower than the percentage of female athletic opportunities because an individual athlete may compete in more than sport.