Friday, April 06, 2012

Title IX Spotlight on "Costas Tonight"

"Costas Tonight: Live from 30 Rock" produced a 2 hour, town hall special on college athletics this past Wednesday. The Title IX panel included Tamika Catchings, WNBA Indiana Fever basketball player; Andy Young, former Millersville University cross country coach; and Angela Ruggiero, president elect of the Women's Sports Foundation. Millersville University senior and former track athlete (before his team was cut) Michael Parker also spoke out from the audience. In case you missed it, click here to watch this 9 minute panel on Title IX (other guest panels ranging from the NCAA to conference realignment are posted on the side).

Bob Button over at Texas Swimming Blog has a great, to-the-point recap:
Bob Costas:

If something's gotta go, it's gonna be a men's program, in most cases.

Millersville senior Michael Parker:

We have elite caliber athletes at our university who are going to lose training partners in the men's program, and it will really be counterproductive toward elite athletes coming to our university on the women's side.

Parker also pointed out the coaching change that will hinder the women's running programs at Millersville. No, I doubt it was a slap at the new coach. Parker was just stating the facts.

Don't believe Mikey on the training issue? Just ask Kutztown University's women's swim team if they miss the men.

With the same facility and coaching, but without the men's team, they've gone from 4th in the conference and 16th at NCAA's in 2010, to 9th at conference and not scoring at NCAA's this year.

Them facts is facts: axing men hurts women.
Some of discussion also allowed for repetition of the commonly held notion that big-revenue, popular men's sports like football and basketball are the reasons why smaller revenue men's sports are eliminated. As we've written before, scapegoating football and basketball and crying "budget" are just smoke screens for what's really going on: Counting athletes and enforcing gender quotas to adhere to Title IX. When those methods are put in place, it's a guarantee no-win for male athletes. Often times no matter how much they fundraise and grass-roots organize post-cuts, male athletes are still banned from regrouping as varsity teams. That's because schools really are making their decisions according to Title IX regulations, not just because of budget; this is exactly what happened at Millersville University.

The next time that men's cuts are exposed on a large network program (we won't hold our breath, but we can continue to put pressure on them to do so), let's hope that the real causes — gender quotas and proportionality — are portrayed as the real reasons behind them. It's time to get on the anti-quota bandwagon; real opportunities for our students are at stake.

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