Friday, July 30, 2010

Some Say Delaware State Equestrian Is Safer After Cheerleading Ruling

This article in Delaware Online suggests that the recent Quinnipiac ruling about the Title IX status of competitive cheer will make it harder for Delaware State to prove that its decision to terminate equestrian did not violate the law.

Actually, I don't think the ruling will have much legal effect at all. Unlike at Quinnipiac, Delaware State's proposed opportunities in cheerleading do not even come close to closing the proportionality gap. Its argument that adding cheer demonstrated prong 2 compliance was never a viable argument, in my opinion. No court has interpreted "history and continuing practice of expanding opportunities for the underrepresented sex" to be satisfied by a school that cuts a viable women's team.

But either way, some are now predicting that Delaware State is now more likely to cancel its plans to end its equestrian program.

Interestingly, the article provided a little insight into why Delaware State, an HBCU, has an equestrian team in the first place:
Many see the equestrian legal troubles as an unfortunate legacy of former president Allen Sessoms' administration. In 2005, a faculty steering committee, chaired by Hoff, recommended field as a better way to expand sports for females, but Sessoms later sold the group on equestrian.

The sport has proven to be more expensive than expected, costing close to $600,000 per year.

"Of greatest concern to DSU is the fact that so little of this money goes to student welfare," DSU lawyers said in court documents. "On the contrary, most of the expenses are for the housing and care of the horses."

Daniel, the Title IX consultant, said he would have advised against a school like DSU starting equestrian. Charlie Wilson, president of DSU's faculty senate, said he and other faculty found the creation of the team "curious" and regarded it as a "pet thing" of Sessoms' administration.