Thursday, June 10, 2010

CSC Study on NCAA Soccer Highlights Opportunity Gap Between Male and Female Players

A few moments ago, the College Sports Council published the following press release.

CSC Study on NCAA Soccer Highlights Opportunity Gap Between Male and Female Players

Growth of male teams stifled by Title IX's gender quota

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- June 10, 2010 -- A study by the College Sports Council (CSC) released on the eve of the 2010 World Cup reveals apparent disparate treatment of male soccer players by NCAA Division I schools.

"This study graphically depicts the tremendous disparity of opportunity between male and female soccer players because of Title IX's gender quota and NCAA policies," said Eric Pearson, Chairman of the CSC. "When it comes to Division I scholarships, female soccer players enjoy more than a 2-1 advantage over their male counterparts," Pearson said.

According to an analysis of the NCAA's own published data for the academic years of 1995-96 through 2008-09, women's college soccer reached rough parity with men in number of teams in Division I in the 1995-96 academic year (197 men's teams vs. 187 women's teams) and rough parity in total number of athletes in the 1996-97 academic year (5,043 women vs. 4,966 men).

The following data points are taken directly from the NCAA's own participation report for the 2008-09 academic year:

  • There are 310 women's soccer teams, however, there are only 197 men's teams (the same number as in 1995-96);
  • There are 8,117 female players in Division I, but just 5,607 male players;
  • Overall, 93.1% of Division I athletic programs offer women's soccer, but just 59.2% of all Division I programs offer men's soccer.

The disparity in the number of possible scholarships in Division I is also staggering. According to NCAA rules, men's Division I soccer teams are limited to a maximum of 9.9 scholarships, while women's teams are allowed up to 14. When considered across all of Division I, that means that the maximum number of possible scholarships offered to women in the sport in Division I outnumber those available to men by a ratio of greater than 2-1 (4340 to 1950.3).

In 1996, the US Office of Civil Rights declared Title IX's proportionality test a safe harbor for compliance. "This study clearly illustrates the negative impact of the gender quota on men' soccer," said Pearson, since 1996 when proportionality became a safe harbor for Title IX compliance, the growth of NCAA male soccer teams and players has leveled off.

According to the latest participation data from the National Federation of State High School Associations, almost 384,000 boys and 345,000 girls participated in soccer in the nation's high schools in the 2008-09 academic year. However, the odds against obtaining a Division I college scholarship for men are far longer (197-1) than they are for women (79-1).

While the numbers are alarming, there are other broader implications:

  • When it comes to choosing schools, male athletes have far fewer choices. In the state of Texas, more than 27,000 boys play high school soccer, yet only a single school, Southern Methodist University, offers a Division I program. Traditional sports powers like the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M don't have varsity soccer programs for men (though both sponsor Division I programs for women.)
  • Gender quota activists are working to impose Title IX's proportionality compliance requirement on America's high schools. In many cases, schools have found that the easiest way of complying with proportionality is to limit male participation rates. In 2008-9 about 4.4 million boys and 3.1 million girls participated in high school sports. In order to create a 50-50 gender ratio of athletes, over 1 million boys would need to be eliminated.

The study is the fourth in a series that the CSC has published since 2007:

Research Note: The source data for this study was obtained from the NCAA ("1981-82-2008-09 NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rate Report" and "2008-09 NCAA Division I Manual") and the National Federation of State High School Associations using the 2008-09 academic year as a common baseline. The figure for maximum allowable scholarships was obtained by multiplying the number of Division I soccer teams by the scholarship limits set out by the NCAA in the 2008-09 Division I Manual. Please note, not all NCAA institutions fully fund their programs to the NCAA Division I Scholarship Limits. For example, Ivy League institutions do not award athletic scholarships, though many athletes at those institutions do receive some form of financial aid.

Click here for charts and supporting data. For annotated charts that dramatize the gap over time, click here.

The College Sports Council is a national coalition of coaches, parents, athletes and alumni. Follow us on our blog, our Twitter feed or Facebook.

UPDATE: Allison Kasic at Phi Beta Cons took notice of our release.


TXBadgr said...

Yes, in TX the established sports kings have found Title IX a convenient excuse not to field men's soccer teams. No state university has a male soccer team in TX. It is really sad. My son started soccer in kindergarten and competitive soccer as a second grader, but to play for a college, he had to play on a division II school or go out of state. But in nearly every town, soccer leagues double, triple or quadruple the number of male players as baseball, football or basketball.

Anonymous said...

Your blog piece and its comments are one-sided at best. To claim that women are given preferential treatment in field soccer is silly and comparing men to women in this one sport is misleading. Often soccer is the only team sport available to women in many colleges with our without a scholarship.

In your review of whatever, did you find out how many women vs men play basketball with or without a scholarship? Did you find out how many women vs men play football with or without a scholarship? How about track and field events or tennis or volleyball? Why just soccer?

Lets now forget men's and women's participation and college support for golf, tennis, table tennis, swimming, diving, skating, hockey, wrestling, skiing, archery, sharp shooting, etc. Not many women in these sports, but lots of men and some have scholarships.

You should be looking at the total number of men vs women in all sporting endeavors as various sporting games appeal to men and women in differing ways. I think if you actually did this, you would find the men overall are given more support and have more opportunities to engage in sports than women do. To claim that women have an advantage in soccer is to say that men have the advantage in football and basketball [but that is OK?].

Sloopy and misleading is this piece.