Thursday, January 24, 2008

Using women to "save" the men

In Washington state some members of the Yakima Valley Community College athletic department are proposing the addition of women's wrestling--in order to save men's wrestling from being cut. Though this is not how those supporting the proposal would likely phrase it, it seems to me that this is the ultimate purpose behind a potential women's team.

Proportionality is currently a problem at YVCC (64 percent of the student population are women but just 47 percent of the athletic opportunities go to women). Other 2-year institutions in the area have similar problems with providing opportunities according to one school official--a lousy excuse for not being out of compliance if you ask me--but YVCC is under more scrutiny because of a Title IX complaint in 2002 that has yet to be resolved.

There has been some discussion about eliminating men's wrestling after next year's season. Those wishing to save it have suggested that adding a women's team might be a better fix. I am glad women's wrestling is growing and that those supporting the addition have cited such growth and seem to believe that a women's wrestling program would draw some of the many girls now wrestling in high school.

But I am a little worried about the motives. Also, there has been no discussion of finances. Can the school adequately support another team? Or will the women, as the newest addition and one that is seemingly meant to be a stop gap measure of sorts, be short shrifted.