Women's Quarterly

Look Who's Losing

Kimberly Schuld takes the toll of menís sports dropped as a result of Title IX

Women's Quarterly, Winter 1998

In order to comply with the new Title IX requirements, college athletic programs must now exactly reflect the proportion of male and female students on campus. But because fewer women sign up to play sports, hundreds of male teams have been canceled by colleges and universities across the country.

According to a 1997 study by the National Collegiate Athletic association (NCAA), an average of 3.6 male athletes were dropped for every one woman added between 1992 and 1997. At NCAA Division III schools, where there are no athletic scholarships and athletes play for the pure love of the sport, men lost 9,056 positions while women gained only 178 during the same period.

Perversely, the quest to fulfill "gender equity" may especially punish minority males. The addition of womenís teams in such sports as field hockey, golf, and skiing comes at the expense of black males who are over-represented in sports such as football and basketballósports from which funding must be cut in order to create the new womenís teams. When San Francisco State University cut the football team, thirty-four percent of the team was black. When Blinn College dropped its championship menís track team in 1995, blacks made up seventy-five percent of the team.

Here is a list of further casualties: The menís swimming, water polo, and gymnastics competitions in the 1984 Summer Olympics were dominated by graduates of UCLA athletic programs. After producing twenty-two Olympic swimming competitors and scores of world-class gymnasts, however, the programs ended in 1993 and 1994.

In 1995, San Francisco State University dropped its football program to comply with Title IX regulations. "We needed about a hundred and twenty women athletes, or about six teams of twenty women each if we were going to keep football," explained athletic director Betsy Alden. "There are not even six more sports out there."

In order to achieve "gender equity" by 1999, Boston University canceled its Division I menís baseball team and its ninety-one-year-old Division I football program.

In January 1997, Michigan State University announced that it would drop menís fencing and lacrosse from varsity competition, and cap rosters for other menís sports, in order to add womenís crew as a varsity sport and increase rosters in womenís sports.

In January 1997, Syracuse university decided to drop menís wrestling and gymnastics and replace them with womenís softball. The male wrestling team has won a temporary reprieve.

The University of Oregon has restricted the number of men on its football, wrestling, and track and field teams in order to add two womenís sports over a ten year period.

Thirty-one colleges and universities dropped their male golf teams between 1994 and 1996.

Twenty-four colleges and universities canceled their menís wrestling teams, half of which were Division I competitors, during the same period. Meanwhile, students shouldered additional costs to keep menís athletics alive:

In April 1995, students at sacramento State University passed a referendum to increase student fees to $45 to pay for football and other sports in order to remain in the Division I level.

Students at the University of california at Davis, voted in 1993 to raise $13.50 per student per quarter for athletics through 1996.

In January 1995, the University of Central Florida Board of Regents raised the athletic fee by one dollar per credit hour for athletics.

Kimberly Schuld is the director of the IWFís Play Fair! project.