Adrian College to Improve Gender Equity in Sports

 

(Editor’s Note. This story was first reported by the Detroit Free Press.  It is taken from the blog, Chon.com which is an open access blog.  The blog can be viewed at http://www.chron.com/sports/article/Adrian-College-to-improve-gender-equity-in-sports-2175471.php.  Even though Title IX was enacted into law in 1972 compliance with its provisions is still an ongoing and controversial process).

ADRIAN, Mich. — Adrian College has agreed to make changes to its sports programs after federal investigators found the small, liberal arts school discriminated against female student athletes.

The U.S. Department of Education cited the southern Michigan school for 11 violations of gender-equity rules, according to a Detroit Free Press story (http://bit.ly/pzUta6 ) published Saturday. The agreement caps a three-year investigation into Title IX violations at the school, and failure to comply could cost the school federal aid.

Among the changes the school must make: add at least one more women’s sport, build a women’s locker room in its multipurpose stadium and increase pay for coaches of women’s sports. It also needs to buy equivalent sports equipment for male and female athletes, as well as increase recruiting money and the number of games for women’s sports.

School spokeswoman Jennifer Compton said in an email to the Free Press that the school “has maintained the highest commitment to equality and respect for gender equity” during its 152-year history. She said the college believes it offers “a quality higher educational experience to all students.”

Federal officials said the college spent $15 million on athletic facilities in recent years but did not include appropriate amenities for female athletes.

Molly Moore, Adrian College’s former assistant athletic director and head softball coach, filed the complaint in 2008 that prompted the investigation. She said she was pleased with the outcome, but her only goal was equity for female athletes, not extra benefits.

“I don’t begrudge any of the male athletes anything they got,” she told the newspaper. “My concern was the women got even less.”

Erin Buzuvis, a Western New England College law professor and co-founder of the Title IX blog, said she was struck by the number of violations.

“When problems are this widespread, it’s hard to argue that it was just an oversight,” she said.

The education department’s Office of Civil Rights will monitor the school’s progress.

Many commentators on Title IX issues argue that compliance with its provisions can impose unfair financial burdens on institutions.  It should be noted that, like other civil rights legislation, cost of compliance is not a defense to a Title IX complaint.  It will be interesting to follow this situation to see if as it complies with the ruling Adrian College winds up cutting some men’s sports.

 

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