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Facing Title IX Pressure, Cal May Restore the Teams It Cut?

10 Feb

The New York Times is reporting the University of California, Berkeley is facing some possible trouble over having cut too many sports from its athletic programs having led to a huge disparity in the total amount of “opportunity” available now at the school for woman athletes.

According to the New York Times, Cal would have to add 50 women's positions and cut 80 men's positions to be back in compliance with Title IX, but the university is now considering reversing its earlier decision.

I’m sorry, but into today’s athletic world there’s really no excuse for any college – or high school – to be making these kinds of mistakes. The school’s Athletic Director (AD) Sandy Barbour claims they were talking Title IX all through the decision making process; I’m sorry, but clearly that’s not the case, or if it is then she’s clearly incompetent, because, if the school’s athletic department had been talking about it the school wouldn’t have made such stupid cuts, plain and simple.

The pathetically sad truth here is it’s bad enough when girls have to fight against the backward mentalities of male ADs stuck in an episode of Mad Men, but the pain is more deeply felt when it’s a woman AD making the cuts. It makes you wonder how any woman connected with athletics in today’s world can be so ignorant about Title IX?

“Kristen Galles, a lawyer who represents athletes suing colleges for Title IX violations, questioned the logic behind Cal’s decision, adding that the university might have exposed itself to a lawsuit by the female athletes whose teams are cut.”

Wow, ya think? Of course it’s opened itself up to a law suit; you can’t cut programs so disproportionately and not end up with at most a law suit, and at the very least complaints to the U.S. Department of Education. Title IX isn’t about how many teams a particular school has, it’s about how many opportunities exist for the individual athletes, and those opportunities have to be proportional to the total percentage of undergraduate students enrolled, by gender.

“It doesn’t make sense to be cutting any women’s sports if their numbers are that bad,” Galles said. “These schools do not get sued for not offering enough sports; they get sued when they’re dumb enough to cut women’s teams.”

Barbour said her program should be measured by the number of opportunities it provided to women — 388 in the 2009-10 academic year, compared with 577 male slots — not by their proportion to male athletes. “That’s larger than a lot of athletic programs, period,” she said.

Barbour’s own statements demonstrate how out of touch she is about the law and that she doesn’t understand how Title IX works.

“Assuming that the teams stay cut, we are going to have to really grapple … with intercollegiate athletics about what this means if we are going to be within the guidelines,” said Meg Conkey, an anthropology professor who is a co-chairwoman of the gender equity and diversity subcommittee of the University Athletics Board, a Cal advisory group. “I think everybody is waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop.”

This ain’t rocket science professor; if the teams stay cut, and nothing else changes, not only will you not be within the “guidelines”, you’ll be way outside of the box. Title IX isn’t guidelines, this isn’t the Pirate Code, its federal law, and violating it can affect the federal funding to the university. Wake up, and come into the 21st century. The quicker the school admits it screwed up, and reinstates the teams, the quicker it moves on. Otherwise it can find itself under a potentially very intense investigation, and can spend more money trying to defend its particularly moronic decision than it saved from cutting programs. This is about gender equity, and Cal is out of compliance. If it refuses to fix things, sue ladies, it’s your right, and it’s the right thing to do.

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