Thursday, June 05, 2008

Moving forward with women's wrestling at YVCC?

It seems that coaches and supporters of men's wrestling at Yakima Valley Community College are moving ahead with plans to add women to their team in the hopes of saving the men's program which was slated to be cut. [Click on the YVCC tag for past posts on this situation.] The goals of co-head coach Mike Schmitt are to raise money to support women initially as part of the men's team and then create a separate team for them. But even as he and others are planning, the administration continues to pull on the reins of reality.
And here is some of the reality:
Despite the popularity of women's wrestling in Washington, and its growing popularity elsewhere it has not become a sanctioned or emerging sport. YVCC is a member of NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) which does not sanction women's wrestling. The women can compete with the men, though (not because of Title IX, which has a contact sport exemption--but because of an equal protection argument).
Another reality is that YVCC has a Title IX problem in the form of an ongoing, unresolved complaint from 2002. Sixty-seven percent of its undergrads are women and according to the VP for Instruction and Student Services Tomas Ybarra this makes it impossible to comply with prong one. I take a little bit of exception with the impossibility of the situation, but given YVCC's budget woes--which include the inability to fund a women's wrestling program, another reality check--it does not seem like proportionality is short-term option for the school. Ybarra and other administrators are working with OCR to try to come into compliance with either prong 2 or 3 at this point.
So while Ybarra is saying things like this:
"We haven't decided whether we are in a position to go ahead with the concept of accepting women as a part of the men's team," he said. "We're not in a position to make that decision yet, nor are our resources sufficient to support another team. We're not ready to make a decision quite yet. But we're working on it."
Schmitt and other supporters are talking like this:
"We're fundraising like crazy. I think it's going to be huge because of the growth of girls [sic]wrestling, not only within the state but throughout the country. We've received six verbal commitments so far, and none happen to be from Washington."
I imagine there will be future posts about this struggle.