Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Liberty reclassifies wrestling

Liberty University reinstituted its DI men's wrestling program in 2006. This was a move that bucked the trend of dropping men's intercollegiate wrestling. And they produced a successful program in that time. But the university announced this week that it would be dropping the team from the roster of intercollegiate sports and reclassifying men's wrestling as a club sport. In order to comply with Title IX. Or so they say. Liberty has added three women's sports since 2009 but says that even those additions are not enough to achieve proportionality. True, perhaps. But we don't even need to go look at their Department of Education Equity in Athletics data--because they are already in compliance. They don't have to achieve proportionality right now because they are adhering to prong two. Adding three sports in three years demonstrates a history of expanding opportunities for women. The only reason they might be seeking proportionality is if they intend on dropping a women's program. Once a women's sport is cut, then proportionality becomes the only option. Or they might want to add a different men's sport in the future. The wrestling community and the Title IX community are often seen as adversaries, and Liberty saying that they cut wrestling because of Title IX is not helping things. Liberty already is in compliance (regarding participation). So if I was a wrestler, I would start questioning Liberty's rationale.