July 11, 2006

Title IX and the new male minority on campus.

John Tierney is writing about Title IX. (TimesSelect link.)
Suppose you’re the head of a school whose students belong to two ethnic groups, the Alphas and the Betas. The Alphas get better grades and are more likely to graduate. They dominate the school newspaper and yearbook, the band and the choir, the debate team and the drama club — virtually all extracurricular activities except for sports.

How much time would you spend worrying about the shortage of Alpha jocks?

Not much — unless, of course, the Alphas were women, the Betas were men, and you were being sued for not complying with Title IX. Then you would be desperately trying to end this outrageous discrimination.

When Title IX was enacted in 1972, women were a minority on college campuses, and it sounded reasonable to fight any discrimination against them. But now men are the underachieving minority on campus, as a series by The Times has been documenting. So why is it so important to cling to the myth behind Title IX: that women need sports as much as men do?
Good question!

Much of the material from the column that you can't reach without a NYT subscription comes from this article: "The New Gender Divide: Small Colleges, Short of Men, Embrace Football."
Officials at small colleges say that adding football raises campus morale and alumni contributions and gives an institution exposure in local or statewide media. But the biggest attraction remains football's ability to bring in male applicants....

At Utica College in upstate New York, which fielded its first football team in 2001, Mike Kemp, the coach, reaches out to the sons of working-class families who might not otherwise attend college.

"Hockey, lacrosse and tennis players, they all have money and 1,500 SAT scores," said Mr. Kemp, who brings about 70 players a year to Utica. "Those kids are going to college somewhere. But I come across high school football players from blue-collar backgrounds, and as seniors in high school, they're not sure what they're going to do. They're considering a college here or there. But if you give them a chance to keep playing football, then they get motivated to come."...

[Few] institutions adopting football said they were trying to show Title IX compliance through proportionality. They were relying on other options, which allow them either to demonstrate that they are accommodating the athletic interests and abilities of women or to exhibit a consistent expansion of opportunities for women....

Donna Lopiano, chief executive of the Women's Sports Foundation and a former college player, coach and administrator, said the trend toward small colleges adding football teams did not raise Title IX concerns by itself.

"But it accentuates the problem," Dr. Lopiano said. "Because Division III schools are already not in compliance. That was true before they started football." She added that colleges had an obligation to do more than conduct surveys, arguing that the creation of women's teams would lead to the recruitment of women in the same way it does for men.
I've got to run, as I'm doing a presentation at noon today. More about that later. In the meantime, I thought you'd like to discuss this. I'll try to add more commentary later. Perhaps by vlogging! Anyway, you folks can get the discussion started without me.

62 comments:

Dave said...

Have I ever mentioned that the New York Times is clueless when it comes to the internet?

PatCA said...

Laws like Title IX were enacted as if racism and sexism were immutable qualities. But society has changed, and this quixotic quest for equality and diversity--whatever those words actually mean--is now showing its shortcomings. Higher education fears most of all declining enrollment, whether due to high school dropout rates, lack of (white) male enrollment, or lack of tuition payers for private colleges.

And I question Dr. Lopiano's assertion that creating more women's teams would create more interest. I'm not the president of Harvard, so I can say it: perhaps men and women are different, and laws like Title IX need to change with society.

Bruce Hayden said...

At least at the MS and HS levels, providing females with equal access to sports seems to significantly change a school's dynamics. I look at private schools with mandatory sports, and they provide another avenue to popularity. When the girls spend a couple of hours a day on the playing fields, a lot of bonding goes on that doesn't appear to happen otherwise.

The problem though with college athletics, at least at most colleges, and definately at universities, is that there are rarely opportunities to play for most of the students. So, whatever benefits the individuals might get from playing, would be reserved for a select few.

On the other hand, why should sex be different than, for example, race. Envision Alphas being White and Betas being Black. Would a comparable result then be to have a White basketball team and a Black one, just so that more Whites could play? Maybe they would have to have 4 White teams to one Black team to take into account the disparity between the two races in the student body.

Also, I would think that this sort of logic would require either separate yearbooks, student governments, bands, etc., or sexual quotas. For example, half of the officers had to be male and half female, if that was the mix at the school.

Justin said...

All lacrosse players scored 1500 on their SAT? If the implicit reasoning behind the hockey and tennis comparison is that those sports are traditionally take place at country clubs and therefore self-select intelligent, successful participants, I don't see how lax, a sport requiring much less equipment/coaching/money than football fits in.

I think his throwaway comparison is a guise for the fact that a football team can carry over 100 players while a hockey or tennis team usually doesn't field a quarter that number. If the goal is solely to get male bodies on campus, the availability of football spots is certainly more relevant than completely made-up SAT scores by people who play other sports...

PatCA said...

"So, whatever benefits the individuals might get from playing, would be reserved for a select few."
Yes, not everyone plays. Elite HS women are heavily recruited, so are we thus creating another elite class?

On our campus, we have several race-based separatist graduation ceremonies. Caucasians, or European Americans, do not, yet they are no longer the majority of the graduating class.

You're right, logic is rearing its ugly head, and no one can figure out what to do. :)

Elizabeth said...

Football costs so much more to keep running than most other sports; it takes up a larger proportion of the budget, especially if teams want to be competitive, which is another issue entirely. It's one thing to argue that we need to be as supportive of recruiting male students whose hope for college rides on their athletic abilities, but another to say that in doing so, we need to cut other programs for women so we can support a hugely expensive sport. I have female students who aren't in that mythical 1500 SAT group, whose education is funded partially by their volleyball and track scholarships. Our female basketball players can now go on to professional careers in sports, something I'd never have imagined when I was in high school.

I don't see that we have to cut back on supporting young women who achieve in sports, especially by arguing that they ought to be satisfied with the "school newspaper and yearbook, the band and the choir, the debate team and the drama club." I'm as inclined to worry about the shortage of Beta (male) nerds, as I am to worry about a shortage of opportunities for Beta jocks.

truth said...

It's football, not Title IX, that has caused these problems. Div. I-A programs have 85 athletes on their football teams, even though you can only suit up 40 at a game. Football is also very expensive. To balance this out, college administrators choose to cut men's sports, and create women's sports that are cheap and have big squads (rowing, lacrosse), whether or not those are the sports women are actually interested in. As a result, men's wrestling and women's gymnastics have been eliminated across the country. These are just bad choices by administrators. They choose football players who never set foot on the field over real athletes. They create rowing programs so they can count every woman who shows up on day 1 to show their programs are proportional. Don't blame Title IX; blame poor administrators and football.

Read my post: http://mainstusa.blogspot.com/2006/07/its-football-stupid-not-title-ix.html

Fitz said...

The argument for Title IX was that participation in sports gave men a competitive advantage in pursuing power in other areas of life. (business, politics, ect) It was obviously a crass and successful effort by feminists to enforce androgyny.

The goal itself, weather stated directly or coached in civil rights language seems silly and destructive. (as it has been) Men tend to be more interested in sports, play them more often, and relish there participation. Naturally you get larger men’s sports teams.

Its telling that feminist have attempted to reject physical activity’s that women are interested in as being labeled a sport under title IX. (Aerobics, cheerleading, dance) It seems they want competitive sports to be the norm among women. Once again, their androgynizing impulse supersedes the needs or wishes of actual women.

At my own school wrestling teams and diving teams were being cut. The programs that do attract women, like volleyball had 5 squads and over 100 team members. I knew these girls. They liked to play volleyball and showed up for practice in order to maintain there scholarships. Meanwhile the competitive best players made up the real “team” that competed at the intercollegiate level.

Examples like this abound. Just another case of ideological zeal, crass academic fiefdoms and leftist politics making our universities silly and inhospitable places.

altoids1306 said...

Having just run through the gauntlet of higher-ed, and given that I won't need to worry about my (possible) kids going through this for at least two decades, I guess I find this all a bit farcial and grimly funny.

Personally, I feel the problem of male-underachievement is over-blown. It is certainly not in evidence at elite science/engineering institutions. And even if it were true, the unwillingness of women to "marry down" translates to more options for me.

As for this Title IX nonsense, there is a delicious irony about it all. Unwilling to use the same measures they have used for minorities to bring up male enrollment, they resort to creating football teams - implicitly acknowledging the differences between the sexes - only to be struck down by Title IX, which seeks to erase any difference, by legislative fiat.

And thus, one firmament of the liberal establishment is poised to destroy the other: affirmative action vs. gender equality. Of course, we will continue to hear the tortured justifications found in this article, but over time, the cognitive dissonance will accumulate, and something will have to yield.

flounder said...

Football is quite expensive, but it also brings in far more revenue than it costs. At many schools, particularly larger ones, football ends up subsidizing the rest of the athletic department. So football isn't stealing money from women's programs, it's providing the money for those programs to exist in the first place.

What ends up being cut is not women's sports (because of Title IX) but non-revenue generating men's sports.

Abraham said...

Football costs so much more to keep running than most other sports

But it also brings in so much more revenues than all other sports. Sometimes, more than all other sports combined.

AJ Lynch said...

No matter what you think of Title IX.. I think more girls playing sports is a big plus and the % participating in the last 20 years has skyrocketed. Whether that is primarily due to Title 9 is debatable.

I think the increase was also due to the trend to smaller families (and ergo fewer male offspring) so Dads just pushed his daughters to play and compete.

Elizabeth said...

I love football. Really, it's my favorite sport. I have all sorts of nasty things to say about the big university that steals all the state funding every legislative sesison, but come football season (and men's and women's b-ball season), I'm chanting ELL-ESS-YEW; Hold that Tiger!

But I also love seeing women's sports grow in popularity and numbers, and I think we owe Title IX a big thanks. Neither football nor basketball are at risk due to Title IX, so before we make big changes to that program, we need to see if there are other factors reducing options for male athletes in the smaller sports. Are male and female athletes competing with one another for money, or with football and basketball?

I'm also wary of looking at males in junior high and tracking them toward sports rather than making a greater effort to help them improve academically. It's no secret this happens in failng urban school districts. It's easy to write off boys struggling with academics, and maybe with poverty and difficult home environments, as long as schools can channel them into performing well in sports.

Tom C said...

Title IX is a big success for Middle and High school, where girls need to be encouraged. Private institutions, like colleges, should be allowed to offer what they want to offer to attract the customers they want.

Of course, it's their reliance on government money that keeps the leash tight. The feds could not resist expanding Title IX to colleges as well. 30 years later, we have the situation well described: young women are succeeding, on average, far better than young men.

One college we went to this year boasted that they have 50% males, as if that's an accomplishment. The admission director told me that any college that approaches 60% female might as well be a women's college, as men are not comfortable there. And, of course, we see that it is far easier for boys to get into elite schools than girls, as there is a silent quota where there isn't an official one.

You'd think a republican president with a republican congress could do something useful. Maybe we have to figure out a way for Haliburton or Big Pharma to make some money, and then they would release colleges from Title IX...

dew said...

“Football is quite expensive, but it also brings in far more revenue than it costs. At many schools, particularly larger ones, football ends up subsidizing the rest of the athletic department. So football isn't stealing money from women's programs, it's providing the money for those programs to exist in the first place.”

Can anyone provide any evidence of this? The only serious data I have seen in the last 20 years is exactly the opposite – all but the top 1A football programs are money-losers, often squeezing the rest of the athletic programs with the large costs of football.

flounder said...

From the NCAA's financial data from 2002-2003.

http://www.ncaa.org/library/research/
i_ii_rev_exp/2003/2002-03_d1_d2_
rev_exp.pdf

"In Division I-A, 68 percent of schools reported a profit, averaging $9,200,000, for their football programs and 70 percent
reported profits from men’s basketball, averaging $3,000,000"

Below the 1-A level, a much smaller percentage of schools had profitable football programs.

Elizabeth said...

Sure, that makes sense that Division 1-A schools make money on football where smaller programs don't. Still, football costs a lot of money, and requires a large number of scholarships. If you can't afford football, then maybe you shouldn't have it. Maybe smaller schools should concentrate on being competitive with sports they can support, and making sure there are fair opportunities for both male and female athletes. Not all schools can field a competitive women's basketball team, either, or afford highly desired coaches with a winning record.

A small university in Louisiana about 15 years ago was facing a budget crunch, and actually held a senate faculty meeting to decide whether to close their library or scrap their football team. They met. Like there was a decision to be made. Library? Football. Hmmm, which has to go?

PatCA said...

Just a note--the article noted that these schools started a football program because it was indeed profitable.

Kim said...

"Suppose you’re the head of a school whose students belong to two ethnic groups, the Alphas and the Betas. The Alphas get better grades and are more likely to graduate. They dominate the school newspaper and yearbook, the band and the choir, the debate team and the drama club — virtually all extracurricular activities except for sports.

How much time would you spend worrying about the shortage of Alpha jocks?"

Suppose you're an Alpha. People with your political views already control the House, the Senate, the Executive Branch, the Supreme Court, most Fortune 500 companies, and the majority of wealth in the country.

How much time would you spend worrying about the shortage of Alpha college professors?

Hey said...

It's funny to see the comments here defending Title IX, focusing more on stale rhetoric and political posturing than on the data. I would desperately like to see Title Ix restrictions placed on all campus activities. Drama, yearbook, etc. All of those Womyn's centres etc counting against the ability of women to be involved in other activities. But of course, sauce for the gander IS NOT sauce for the goose, for the goose is special, delicate, and threatened by the gander. So Victorian and patriarchal, but don't you dare tell the Dworkins that!

As to the futility of the large squads for football. People get hurt, alot, in football, and its a very position specific game. Plus most people will only play as juniors and seniors, as their bodies develop (just like in HS, where outside of a few standouts, the varsity team consists of juniors and seniors).

With regards to the demographics of individual sports (and I'm guessing that people that doubt this don't have much experience in sports): team sports tend to have more diverse demographics than individual sports. Firstly, you need money to try all sorts of sports, as well as to join odd leagues. The major team sports have much greater opportunities to play for lower income kids, and their parents are much more likely to know of them. Most schools will have a football and baseball team, track, soccer. Beyond that, things start to dwindle. Secondly, you need a parent who has played the sport, has a friend who has, or gets you into an environment to be exposed to it. Income and social networks increase your exposure to all sorts of things. It's almost like we're arguing about whether or not rich kids are more likely to have spent a summer in europe!

LAX is a very country club sport, played mostly by private schools and chi chi public schools (like in Greenwich, Chevy Chase, etc). Blue collar kids (especially reserve kids in Canada) play box (in a hockey rink), but field is very high end WASP. Golf is obvious, rugby is very much high end, tennis... JW is definitely shutting down his knowledge of America in trying to refute this.

Why would these kids have high marks... same reason why all upper and upper middle class kids have much higher averages: good school, high expectations, tutoring, gaming the learning disability system... Football is democratic, and a great spectator sport, so acts as a pull greater than just the scholarships. Wrestling et al fail on both counts.

Seven Machos said...

Elizabeth -- The school in Louisiana sounds like a fake story completely, or perhaps a false choice set up by an administrator.

Forced equality is not the way to achieve true equality. Also, here's a pretty good rule of thumb: if a law is a good law, we don't continue to discuss it and argue rabidly about it years later. Think about that. Is any serious person arguing against women's voting rights? Or for slavery? Or that alcohol should be illegal? Or that we should put up more huge, ugly housing projects exclusively for poor people?

Slocum said...

Sure, that makes sense that Division 1-A schools make money on football where smaller programs don't. Still, football costs a lot of money, and requires a large number of scholarships.

But in the original Times story, the small Div III colleges were creating football programs *without* scholarships as a way of attracting tuition-paying male students who wouldn't have considered those schools otherwise (and might not have attended college at all).

Suppose you're an Alpha. People with your political views already control the House, the Senate, the Executive Branch, the Supreme Court, most Fortune 500 companies, and the majority of wealth in the country.

Political views? Sex equals political views?

Keep in mind that the 'alpha' executives and politicians attended college when males were a majority on campus (and title IX didn't exist). What the good does it do a male 18-year-old that a 60-year-old exec is male? Having middle-aged male power figures certainly doesn't seem to have done much for creating an 'alpha compatible' school environment for male kids. And it is unlikely that marginal performing 18-year-old males are going to have much chance of succeeding those authority figures several decades from now.

But perhaps that is the unstated goal?

Al Maviva said...

Why would these kids have high marks... same reason why all upper and upper middle class kids have much higher averages: good school, high expectations, tutoring, gaming the learning disability system...

Yeah, because if you're white and middle class or wealthier it's because you're parents were exploiters of the working class and you are carrying on their legacy of hegemonic oppression... Couldn't have anything to do with the fact that talented people often get paid a lot of money to do what they do, and often pass on some of their ability and inclinations to their children...

Elizabeth said...

Seven, my college newspaper covered the story about Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond in 1986; it's no urban legend. I overstated the choice; it was to slice funding to the library, not close it. But the gist is factual; they debated which to cut to meet the budget shortfall.

Dawn said...

What ends up being cut is not women's sports (because of Title IX) but non-revenue generating men's sports.

Case in point - the University of Wisconsin Men's Baseball team, the first intercollegiate sport there, as well as the first varsity sport to integrate. http://badgerherald.com/sports/2006/05/03/twentyeight_men_out.php

According to Richter, the decision to dump baseball was based on the state’s poor spring weather, inadequate facilities and Title IX considerations that require equitable spending for men’s and women’s sports.

So a sport that essentially begat the Badger Athletic department was cut in 1991, so that some clueless feminists could have their way. The of W is the only Big Ten school without a baseball team.

dew said...

RE: football income and expenses

I managed to get the NCAA profit and loss report after a number of tries (the site timed out repeatedly). The reason I am suspicious was that I remembered a flurry of papers (and 1 or 2 books) a few years back attacking the NCAA claim that most 1A football programs were profitable - I think one claimed that only 6-10 programs were "really" profitable when all costs were accounted for. For example, based on the stats shown in the paper, one might question whether the large stadium costs needed almost exclusively for a 1A football program are included in the football (or even the overall sports) costs. Given that big stadiums are usually “university capital” projects and not “athletic program” projects, it is believable that the costs are not included in the paper.

"But it also brings in so much more revenues than all other sports. Sometimes, more than all other sports combined."

Well, even from the NCAA paper's numbers, it appears that football costs a very substantial portion of the entire budget.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Medopine said...

Bunker, don't leave out what comes after that paragraph you quoted:

"However, the biggest reason was surely the $1.95 million deficit in the athletic department budget, during the dark days of UW athletics, before the rebirth of the football program."

The article goes on to emphasize the poor spring weather, bad facilities, and lack of fan support as the main reasons the program died, not Title IX. But yeah, I'm sure it was all the "clueless" feminists who killed your baseball team. :p

The Drill SGT said...

Title IX will never go away, not because it shouldn't, but rather because like all government entitlement programs, and that is what Title IX ultimately is, it has created a class of folks in the Dept of Ed, in colleges, and private operations whose living is created by gender disparity statistics, operations, rule making, administration, legalizing, and fund raising. The focus of the article was a prime example:

Donna Lopiano, chief executive of the Women's Sports Foundation and a former college player, coach and administrator,

Seven Machos said...

Does anyone think that universities would have football programs if they did not find them useful?

Regardless of your answer, is it the place of the government to force a university to have an equal number of men's sports, particularly when all empirical evidence suggests that men like to participate in and watch sports more than women do?

Finally, Dew, I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that you don't have much background in economics. Often, the widgets that bring in more revenue cost more to create. Most of us are kind of born with that knowledge.

Justin said...

Hey HEY, I thought I'd point out that my public high school with a graduating class of 75 in rural western New York has a lacrosse team, as do many of the neighboring public schools. Lacrosse costs little to play, relative to football, and is only limited by the schools that develop a program.

"Easterners who moved west took the game with them. Title IX made it more attractive for colleges to include the women's game. Schools across the nation began to add the sport. It's now the fastest-growing in the land -- participation up 300 percent in a decade ... By any standard, it's a lacrosse la boom." From SI.com.

Maybe your "knowledge of America" is a little stagnant?

Dawn said...

Foxy, you're missing my point. Title IX was pushed through by feminists in the '60s and '70s, specifically to increase 'women's sports' (whatever those are) at the collegiate level. If it took cutting a sport that created a university's athletic program, which in turn brought in outside revenues for said university, which in turn help to develop and improve said university, they didn't care - as long as their 'cause' was achieved, no matter what the cost.

I live in Minnesota, and we have worse spring weather than Wisconsin (and I know, I live there part of the year as well), but yet the U of M still has a men's baseball team. Explain that one.

And what's wrong with baseball anyway?

dew said...

seven machos: ”Finally, Dew, I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that you don't have much background in economics. Often, the widgets that bring in more revenue cost more to create. Most of us are kind of born with that knowledge.”

Your limb broke and fell off then. If it is any consolation, your amateur economics lesson and ad hominem attack did make me smile. Something for your economic expertise to ponder – if a business claims to “make a profit” but does not include part of the necessary capital expenses in its P&L - which if included would cause it to show a loss - does it really make a profit? Or maybe you subscribe to the “Enron” school of economics?

Anyway, I cannot find the book I was thinking of (that claimed only 6-10 1A football programs make money, when everything is factored in), but I suspect with the increase in BCS bowl revenues (that get distributed around the conferences) and increased TV revenues, even if the book was correct, todays economics may be a bit different.

But that is getting too far off topic – if a university already has a stadium, I think a division III football program is a great idea – I went to a division III undergraduate school (Carnegie Mellon) with a good football program, and some friends I had went there specifically for a good program that still allowed time for a good academic degree. It would be a shame that title IX may be used as a club to kill either football or other, more marginal men’s sports at a place like CMU, where the availability of sports did attract good male students.

Seven Machos said...

Dew -- I don't think you understand what an ad hominem attack is (I didn't make one) or the economics of universities. Never did I mention profit. But if you want to discuss value, there is a lot more at work here than simply cost of production vs. revenue.

A football program or a big-time men's basketball program is a good example of a loss leader.

Take Utah State. It has a Division I football team. The fact is, few people outside of Utah would ever have heard of Utah State except for their football team? What is the dollar value of having millions of people becoming familiar with your brand?

Take Gonzaga. Applications to Gonzaga have been up hundreds of percent since its men's basketball team became a powerhouse. What's that worth?

PatCA said...

"People with your political views already control..."

What Slocum said, and in addition: the answer to your quandary is that the outsider political views need to change to conform to the majority of the electorate in order to, you know, get votes. This is a democracy.

Or are you saying we should 'Title IX' in a representative group of Democrats into business and government in order to achieve diversity there?

Birkel said...

I just love the way all the defenders of Title IX assume all the college presidents are idiots who run money-losing football programs. Sure! Yeah! All the college presidents who pinch pennies on literally everything are all about the football which causes them to act irrationally in that one, and only one, area.

Try defending something without starting your deductions with "Assume all of the people making decisions are stupid..."

It'll be easier to convince the undecided that way.

Birkel said...

And what's with all the people claiming liberals can't make it in business?

Ever heard of Hollywood? The MSM?

Such balderdash is too easily revealed.

Lie, sure. But do it better.

Medopine said...

"Foxy, you're missing my point. Title IX was pushed through by feminists in the '60s and '70s, specifically to increase 'women's sports' (whatever those are) at the collegiate level. If it took cutting a sport that created a university's athletic program, which in turn brought in outside revenues for said university, which in turn help to develop and improve said university, they didn't care - as long as their 'cause' was achieved, no matter what the cost.

I live in Minnesota, and we have worse spring weather than Wisconsin (and I know, I live there part of the year as well), but yet the U of M still has a men's baseball team. Explain that one.

And what's wrong with baseball anyway?"

I was more just pointing out that there was a lot more to that article than just Title IX bashing, in fact Title IX is only mentioned once. But I get what you're saying.

There's nothing wrong with baseball. I actually attended U of M and went to a few games. We have a nice ballpark and the games were decently attended (I went to a couple at the beginning of the season so more people probably showed up for late season/playoffs). I'm no metoerologist, but I might venture that perhaps the spring climate tendencies differ enough between Madison and Ann Arbor to make AA a more hospitable place to play. Also, the U of M athletic department was doing so well in the years surrounding my time there that they actually added some new varsity teams, including men's soccer and women's rowing. The difference in financial status, fan support, and maybe even proximity to a MLB town might be why baseball did better in Ann Arbor. /shrug.

Does U of W do anything like this: http://mgoblue.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=8343 ?

It's a tiered system for club sports to move up to "Club Varsity" status, theoretically associating them with the athletic department and giving them a better chance to move up to Varsity some day (though the article denies that, but I do know that men's soccer was Club Varsity and they were one of the most recent to get pulled up). Maybe U of W could "demote" baseball to club varsity status and bring it back up when the money/resources allowed? This type of system might solve the dreaded complete cutting of men's sports.

Wade_Garrett said...

SevenMachos is onto something. For smaller colleges like Gonzaga, sports put them on the map. Canisius College in Buffalo, whose team is nowhere close to as good as Gonzaga's, saw an enormous increase in applications when their team simply qualified for the NCAA tournament. Even elite academic schools like Duke and Stanford credit their athletic programs with helping their name recognition among potential applicants in other parts of the country.

I think that athletics are important. Sports build leadership skills, and teach discipline, strategy and the ability to improvise. Wellington said that the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. In recent years, Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and both Bushes were division-I athletes. Presidential runners-up Dole, Gore and Kerry were college athletes as well. For this reason, almost every elite boarding school requires every student to play at least one sport; some, such as St. Paul's, require students to play sports all three seasons, fall, winter and spring.

The only issue I have -- and some of the other commenters have mentioned this -- is the matter of who exactly it is who is playing the sports. Schools with top-tier sports teams, like Wisconsin and Michigan, bring in scholarhip athletes, many of whom would not otherwise attend the University, but I also know first hand that many of these schools have athletes-only dorms and dining halls, and certain coached encourage their athletes not to take challenging courses so that they can devote more of their energy to athletics. Having said that, teams made of people from the general student body -- such as the non-revenue sports at the big sports schools, and all of the teams at Division III and Division II schools, as well as Ivy and Patriot League Division I schools, do an enormous service to the university. I went to Yale, and my classmates on the rowing team all feel as if rowing helped make them better leaders and helped them get into graduate and professional schools at Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, and Chicago, among other places.

Dawn said...

Foxy, I guess I didn't make myself clear regarding the "M" in "U of M". I didn't mean Michigan. I meant Minnesota. Spring up here usually lasts, oh, about 2 days, if we're lucky. ;>)

Your U of M had a nice campus, at least it did in the early '80s, when I'd drive up from BGSU and wander about the place - even crashed a party at the law school once, that was a hoot!

amba said...

Sports have different meanings for men and women. I think men's love of them is more visceral. Team sports particularly are the last refuge of testosterone; they really are ritualized tribal warfare. In this age when not even soldiering is any longer exclusively male, you could say that professional athletes "carry the balls for us all." As such they serve an important purpose, I think -- a purpose comparable to what, say, clothes and makeup and sexy shoes serve for women. The refuges where we keep our primal gender alive, you could say, in an age of considerable androgyny and equality. I enjoy the latter, with the caveat that I think we need the former.

Sports are important for women in a different way. It's less vital. I've thought about this a lot because of studying karate, noticing how the conditioning and breaking-through-limits part of it was important to both sexes but the fighting was specially for men, and they were for it. Women want to fight full contact now, just as they are getting into boxing. Fine if they want to show their human courage, skill, and competitiveness, but it's not the same and never will be. Our bodies aren't really built and fueled for fighting, men's are.

It's the "fighting" part of sports that is male and always will be, and should be. Why can't we acknowledge and embrace this, while still providing opportunities for those women who really want to revel in the skill, stamina and competition of team sports?

amba said...

the vw was

WAMHOMSB

(Women And Men Have One More Stupid Battle?)

and now it's

ADJOIGX

dew said...

This is getting a bit tedious:
“Dew -- I don't think you understand what an ad hominem attack is”
Lets see: “I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that you don't have much background in economics. Often, the widgets that bring in more revenue cost more to create. Most of us are kind of born with that knowledge.” This appears to be either an ad hominem implication that I didn’t have the knowledge “most of us are kind of born with”, or just a silly and pointless sentence concluding your statement. If the latter, of course I stand corrected.

“Never did I mention profit. But if you want to discuss value, there is a lot more at work here than simply cost of production vs. revenue.”

Perhaps you did not notice, but profit of football programs is what I was talking about. If you were responding to me, which you seemed to be, I made the innocent assumption that you were actually responding to what I was talking about, not something else. You might kindly consider being clearer in the future.

“A football program or a big-time men's basketball program is a good example of a loss leader…. (Utah state, Gonzaga)“

I think the Knight Commission had a report somewhere about how there was poor evidence clearly connecting 1A sports programs and improved student recruiting. Of course, there may be exceptions, like a Gonzaga or GMU; although when they are having a great year it means some other college is probably spending a lot of money to have a bad year. It also addressed the other popular claim, that sports increased alumni giving (again the evidence does not obviously support the claim). For that matter, it even addressed your claim, “Does anyone think that universities would have football programs if they did not find them useful?” with a pointer to the “entrapment game” theory – basically if you are in a hole, it can seem at any point safer to keep digging than backing out. It was by an economist BTW.

I rather like college sports including football – I just have suspicions about the frequent but questionable claims about the big financial and other supposed benefits of expensive 1A programs, especially football (although basketball may indeed be an exception – good revenues, lower costs than football, and national coverage increasingly comparable to college football).

Seven Machos said...

You are right about tedium, Dew. "A (fallacious) ad hominem argument has the basic form:

1. A makes claim X.
2. There is something objectionable about A.
3. Therefore claim X is false."

That's not what I argued. I argued:

1. Dew makes claim X.
2. There is something objectionable about Claim X.
3. Therefore, Dew must not know much about a topic central to Claim X.

As for money and big-time athletics, I can't make the point better than Birkel, above.

Gollum said...

"Still, football costs a lot of money, and requires a large number of scholarships."

Division 1-a schools get athletic scholarships. Below that they're few and far between. You might want to look at whether they are even offered by Div 1-aa and lower schools(I went to U. Cal. Davis which was 1aa and it offered no athletic scholarships at all, in compliance with NCAA code).

Scholarships for many academic disciplines, but nary a one for athletics. All the guys and gals who played anything there were full full paying students or benificiaries of scholarships from their academics.

Below 1a this is a non-issue.

dew said...

Seven dear,
An ad hominem argument is an argument “to the person” not “to the argument”. I accused you of suggesting I didn’t have the knowledge “most of us are kind of born with” as a personal attack. You make no attempt to deny it. QED. You may want to stop digging now.

As for Birkel, it isn’t too hard to agree with a non-statement, since I cannot find any post here that both defends title IX and states that football programs lose money, and none that suggest college presidents are idiots.

Personally, I only match one of the three - I strongly suspect that most football programs lose money, but I didn’t attempt to claim that was a serious problem (not sure on that). I think that title IX, if it was a good idea (I have no strong opinion) is also a good example for needing automatic sunset clauses on laws. I certainly would not suggest college presidents are dumb, and even pointed to a real economic theory (from an economist) why otherwise smart people could get trapped into continuing a money-losing program. Note that many academic programs are also money-losers, as are most sports programs. Law schools, I believe, are often big profit generators though.

Medopine said...

"Foxy, I guess I didn't make myself clear regarding the "M" in "U of M". I didn't mean Michigan. I meant Minnesota. Spring up here usually lasts, oh, about 2 days, if we're lucky. ;>)

Your U of M had a nice campus, at least it did in the early '80s, when I'd drive up from BGSU and wander about the place - even crashed a party at the law school once, that was a hoot!"

Haha, sorry! As you can see, there will only ever be one "U of M" for me. Guess I can't answer your question, having no experience with Minnesota weather. They don't have a men's rowing or soccer squad, though, and U of W does - so it appears they decided to keep baseball over those two sports while U of W went the opposite way. Wonder if the cost of keeping two small sports = the cost of keeping a "bigger" one? Talk to your athletic director ;)

Seven Machos said...

I made no attempt to admit that I had made an ad hominem argument except for the part where I wrote "That's not what I argued" and explained to you what an ad hominem argument is. Sorry you still don't get it.

You have made roughly 13 percent of the posts on this thread. Stange for someone who doesn't care about the topic...

Mary said...

"Why can't we acknowledge and embrace this, while still providing opportunities for those women who really want to revel in the skill, stamina and competition of team sports?"

Because the pendulum tends to swing the other way, Amba. Why provide those kind of opportunitities for women when real women are into clothes and makeup and sexy shoes, and not competitive physical activities? Rest assured, women's athletics at the lower levels are generally second-best compared to the men (lesser facilities, etc.) You and Ann sadden me. Women now are competing in golf, swimming, cross country, soccer, hockey, tennis -- sports that will physically benefit them as they age, and the women who did not have that and are content with discovering "karate" midlife, are worried about the boys not getting their share. Sad. Tell me, are you ok with men/women competing on the same teams once if opportunities are eliminated and there is no equivalent sport for the qualified female? Or should those women just receive extra-curricular hair and makeup counseling until they learn their role?

I'm with Elizabeth. "I don't see that we have to cut back on supporting young women who achieve in sports, especially by arguing that they ought to be satisfied with the "school newspaper and yearbook, the band and the choir, the debate team and the drama club."

Eli Blake said...

At our community college, we don't even have sports, but this year we had only 31 degrees awarded to men and over 150 awarded to women.

Since we don't have sports, title IX is irrelevant. The problem is that 1) men are already way behind women by the time high school ends and many don't go to college (the root of this problem lies in grade school), 2) at least on the reservation, a lot of the families have trouble affording even the community college, so they just send their daughters (the Navajos traditionally have a fundamentally matriarchal society and men are expected to just go out and work), and 3) among a lot of young men (especially also on the reservation) going to college is considered 'unmanly' and any young man who wants to go is teased unmercifully in high school. Work, the military, or even prison are considered more 'manly' than going to college.

I teach at a campus near the reservation and I've had full classes with no men in them before. Typically, I might have one or two in a class of fifteen.

Sean E said...

"Don't blame Title IX; blame poor administrators and football."

As Birkel suggested, most adminstrators are intelligent, reasonable people who will respond to the incentives put in front of them. If Title IX creates an incentive to prioritize women's sports with high participant numbers and low costs over sports that their students actually care about, the result is more rowing and less gymnastics.

That's not poor administration, just administrators doing their jobs.

dew said...

First, my apologies to Prof. Althouse for apparently falling for a troll and unintentionally ratholing the discussion. I half expected a “Why the heck are people arguing about what ad hominem means in a Title IX post” in your newer vlog.

Back to the original topic, I was always curious how direct sport income (gate receipts, television revenues, directed contributions, whatever) affect Title IX compliance. I mean, if a new football program breaks even based on this direct income, would it “accentuate the problem” as Donna Lopiano stated, or keep the problem the same under Title IX, since university (student/federal) funds were not distributed any less evenly? Does someone know?

I will also second the comments on lacross - it seemed a pretty generic sport in the city schools in upstate NY when I lived there in the 70s, and was becoming popular as yet another generic sport around where I lived in MA in the 80s.

37383938393839383938383 said...

Why does no one make the connection that most college students know basically nothing when they leave college, that cheating is rampant, and so is grade inflation? Boys aren't going to college and are working on construction sites or driving trucks, and making money. Girls are going to college, not learning anything in some humanities program, and then not earning very much money. Title IX does nothing other than permit feminist to regulate the cultivation of certain interests among women (which doesn't work) and suppressing them amongst men (which just makes college a hostile place to men who then grow resentful about it). Isn't it obvious that Title IX causes harm? I don't see how it actually promotes equality of any kind other than strict number counting, which can be falsified. I don't want my taxpayer dollars going towatd Title IX.

word verification "payzp" as in pay sip for Title IX.

steve said...

Title IX was passed in 1972 "to provide women with solid legal protection from the persistent, pernicious discrimination which is serving to perpetuate second-class citizenship for women." 118 Cong Rec 5804 (1972). The same problem to which Title IX was addressed prevails today, a point that Kim sums up nicely.

As for athletics, females comprise 53% of D1 college students but only 42% of D1 college athletes; There is still room for improvement. And Title IX isn't some feminist plot to destroy Badger baseball, it merely requires recepients of Federal funds to provide athletic opportunities that effectively accomodate the interests and abilities of members of both sexes.

Seven Machos said...

Steve -- Your comment implies that men and women want to play sports in equal numbers. This isn't true.

Schools do not provide "athletic opportunities that effectively accomodate the interests and abilities of members of both sexes" because women do not have as much interest in sports. (I leave ability completely aside.)

steve said...

Seven Machos, you offer only ipse dixit. And would your "fact," that women don't like sports as much as men, be different if we didn't subject women to persistent, pernicious discrimination?

Seven Machos said...

Steve -- I'd like to be the first person to welcome you to the 21st Century. There have been some changes since the 1950s. For example, my wife makes double what I make. The head of this blog is a woman. The Secretary of State. Over 50 percent of people in college and law school are female.

At what point does discrimination stop being pernicious? When will you give up the ghost?

B. Durbin said...

Somebody mentioned Gonzaga. Ho-ly cow.

Let me start with a comment from a friend, who rather begrudged any sport getting funding at all. "The basketball team's win isn't going to do anything good for the campus," quoth he. "It will just benefit the team." Um... no.

I was a Gonzaga student, and I remember the basketball team my freshman year. They couldn't hit a three-pointer to save their lives, and the rest of the game was about on par. Somehow, they'd managed to make it to the NCAAs the previous year, only to get knocked out the first year. Then I got busy and didn't watch much basketball for two years.

I was a senior in 1999. The first NCAA game was during our spring break. Celebrations were, naturally, minimal as most people had left but they made up for it in volume. After the next game, newspeople started hanging out on campus.

Then the team won the third one. The campus— a little over three thousand undergrads— went crazy. And then when they lost the next one, there was merely a feeling of, "wow, that was cool, but it's over now." Ha.

Saying that applications went up hundreds of percent doesn't even begin to cover it. Pre-frosh retention— the number of people who accept and then actually attend— skyrocketed. I had some friends in the Admissions Department who told me about the sudden jump in standards they'd had to apply simply to keep the flow of applications to a manageable level. (They did not summarily reject those that were below the new line, but former borderline cases got overwhelmed by fully qualified applicants.)

I think, however, that mere numbers don't tell the story quite as well as the housing situation. My senior year, the campus had, I think, eleven residence halls as well as two large "on-campus" apartment clusters that were new and several smaller ones that were older. One four-story dorm had all but one of its floors dedicated to office space, and a half-dozen more sub-50 dorms had also become offices.

At the beginning of the 1999-2000 school year, all but two of the conversions had reverted, and a hotel next to the school had rented out one entire wing for use as a dorm. (I think this condition has persisted; the apartments that were torched this spring were to finally end that agreement.)

I swung through in 2003, three years after I'd left the city of Spokane. Since I'd left, they'd 1) bulldozed a block of houses and put up two residence halls of 150 or so; 2) bulldozed the old law school and put up more "on-campus" apartments; 3) taken out all but one house on a block to create parking (that house was Bing Crosby's); 4) put large new additions on the engineering, science, and business buildings; and, of course, 5) built a new arena.

When I swung through just a week ago, they were rebuilding the arsoned (new) apartments, redesigning the Ad building (which dates from 1888, in parts), planning a new performing arts building... the list goes on. Incidentally, the sports teams for rowing, softball, baseball, track, and women's basketball have also distinguished themselves.

In seven years, Gonzaga has gone from a college that occasionally scrambled for money to one whose physical presence has exploded. (The land, in general, already belonged to the college, but instead of low-rent, low-quality houses, they now have new and well-maintained public and private buildings. And believe me, there are still PLENTY of cheap housing options in the area.) The graduate programs in law and nursing have thrived as well as the undergraduate programs.

And this is all due to the attention given one strong sports team. I don't blame colleges for wanting the spotlight that way. The only pity is that the most popular sport— football— is such a money hog, especially right at the beginning.

I remind you of my cynical friend, up above. He's been proven wrong so strongly that I have lost all of the arguments I used to make about sports funding at colleges. A well-run sports program is a moneymaker, as well as earning goodwill and good publicity. No college in their right minds is going to turn the opportunity down.

B. Durbin said...

Hmmm... and to actually bring my above comment into line with the TOPIC, I wonder what effect Title IX has on the less well-known sports for men. As Title IX seems to be strictly monetary, does that mean a well-funded football team sucks the air out of men's sports, while women's sports proliferate?

At someplace like Gonzaga, where football is not an option, it's certainly far easier for the school to balance the sports. (Heck, the women's basketball team is even well-known in national circles, making the two sports almost equal in attention and funding.) It's got to be harder in a school that wants to field a full football team but has very little budget.

And under Title IX, do co-ed teams count in any way? Is track a wash, or does it count for or against Title IX? (Or— horror of horrors— do they gauge it to the gender compisition of individual teams?)

Scott A. Edwards said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sharon said...

So you ask "why is it so important to cling to the myth behind Title IX: that women need sports as much as men do?"

Answer: Scholarships! They are still lopsided towards men who are allowed to be academic under-acheivers. It wouldn't be fair to take scholarships away from females. Taking scholarship funding away is not the answer...there should be more funding for students to attend collge.

By the way, lacrosse and tennis are offered at many schools where there are students with financial need.

Petrov_101 said...

By the way, Title IX doesn't apply to just sports. There are many more men in Engineering and there have been rumblings of using Title IX to get a higher percentage of women in the mix. Whether that means kicking more men out of college remains to be seen.

http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/2002/10/1002titleix.html