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July 15, 1992 - Image 12

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1992-07-15

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12 - The Mhigan Daily Summer Weekly-- Wednesday, Jduy 15, 1992
EQUITY
Continued from page 11
participation levels works to protect plan will most likely consist of a com-
women's athletics during a time of in- bination of additions and cuts. Consid-
evitable financial cutbacks.Many have erations include lifting certain club
wrongly insinuated that the participa- sports to varsity level, especially
tion requirements caused the directive women's soccer, but current women's
for monetary cutbacks. varsity teams will not be inflated just to
"Themostdisturbing thing formeis increase the number of participants.
that many are using gender equity as an It is unlikely that revenue-produc-
excuseforcostcontainmentcuts,which ingprograms suchas football ormen's
isn't correct," Bradley-Doppes said.
Michigan has not yet decided how
to meet participation-level goals and
cost cutbacks.The currentcomposition
of Michigan athletes is approximately_
66 percent male/34 percent female and
according to Weidenbach, if no male;
athletes are cut, 74 women would need
to be added; if no females are added,
109 men need to be cut.3
"Toachievethese goals,mostlikely
we will look at men's sports and re-
stricting the number of participants,"
Weidenbach said. "We can't addsports4
because that costs money;...we're not
going to add the 74 because we can't
afford it."
According to Weidenbach and Bra- . b
dley-Doppes, Michigan's short-term We.

basketball will be affected, yet other Josh Dubow
men's programs will certainly receive
participation caps. More will be deter- __
mined at Athletic Department meet- A F
ings in August.A T
"If you reduce football, (men's)
basketball and hockey you're going Gu
against your own self-interest,"
Weidenbach said. "If you do things that
hinderyourabilitytoearn,youdothings
to reduce revenue and that affects ev- only as pub ic relaions
eryone."
Most other Big Ten schools are in Last month the Big Ten presidents passed the Gender Equity Act which
similar situations to Michigan, search- mandates that member institutions must reach a level of 40 percent female
ing for ways to meetboth gender equity participation in intercollegiate athletics by 1997. However, this Act is nothing
and costcontainment.Institutions must more than a well-intentioned gesture, because increased participation will not
not only worry about the former, but lead to equity for women athletes.
studentinterest, logistics, andcompeti- Twenty years ago, the federal government enacted Title IX which guaran-
tion availability. teed equal athletic opportunity between the sexes in the nation's schools. But
Adding sports, or moving clubs to today women's athletics still lag behind their male counterparts.
the varsity level, may increase costs "The Gender Equity Act makes us do what we should have done long ago"
and lead some schools to have a team
with no competition for it. It takes six Michigan associate athletic director Peggy Bradley-Doppes said.
schools to sponsor a team before that But this act serves as nothing more than a public relations device. No one
sport qualifies for conference competi- is going to criticize the conference's efforts to achieve gender equity. However,
tion. Without conference competition, under this plan equity will not be reached. As long as women's athletics are
teams would need to search for it out- goingtobe compared to football and men's basketball, equity is unrealistic and
side the regional area, leading to high no one will expect it.
travel expenses. Gender equity cannot be achieved in collegiate athletics until society's
"It's notin our bestinterest to add a views on women's athletics change. Television networks pay millions of
sport nobody has," Ohio State Athletic dollars a year to televise men's basketball and football. These gigantic
Director JimJones said. "We could add television contracts, along with the ticketrevenues and alumni donations these
skiing, but there are no mountains. We two sports bring in, support every otherprogram in the Athletic Department-
could add crew - we have a river that except hokey, which makes a modest profit.
hvs ndgh y throughcampusgainst. S realistic attempt at equity would be for equal participation and funding
we're working outa plan." among the non-revenue sports. Michigan Athletic Director Jack Weidenbach
In the long run, cost containment has indicated that if the Athletic Department cuts 109 mae athletes, it will
will lead to great changes in the way achieve the 60/40 ratio (women comprise 34.4 percent of varsity athletes at
Michigan and other Big Ten institu- Michigan). If football is eliminated from these numbers-which it should be
tions finance athletics. Tiering, a prac- because thereis no female equivalent- women's participation would surpass
tice already in affect at Penn State, the 40-percent goal.
consists of financing a sport according Another problem with reaching equality is that in high school, more boys
to its level of competition - confer- play sports than girls. According to the Michigan High School Athletic
ence,regional, ornational. Sports com- Association, 43.2 percent of high school athletes are girls. Because there are
andmen's baketbal, receveltheoot fewer females to choose from, there will inevitably be more male athletes.
flnancialsupportwhileconference-level But money, not participation, is the main disparity between the two sexes.
sports get the least. This will result in According to a 1990-91 survey conducted by The Chronicle of Higher
the limitation of where and how well Education, the Athletic Department spent 29.4 percent of its expenditures on
certain teams can compete according to women's sports. Correcting this ill is the way to achieving equity.
where they fit in the tiering structure. However, the numbers aren't that simple. The breadwinner sports -
"I'magainsttiering,becauseittends football and men's basketball - need to be kept separate. Michigan spent
topromotemediocrity,"Jones said."I'm $2,396,700 on football scholarships,recruiting and competition and $530,400
not comfortable with that. We're better on men's basketball.
served with club sports." Michigan fields 21 varsity sports - 11 for men and 10 for women. If
football and basketballareremoved from the equation there are nine sports left
for both men and women, but the spending is still not even ($1.779 million for
C O PI ES women and$1.9479 million for men).
These inequities are what the Act should attack. There needs to be equality
(fl in facilities and competition costs between men and women in sports like
gymnastics, swimming and track. When sports like these are equally funded,
universities will begin to achieve faimess.
The Big Ten's definition of equity implies that if men's sports are cut, it
improves the state of women's sports. The conference has provided seven
R EG. COPIES E suggestions for implementing the Act, two of which cut opportunities for men.
20# White, 8.5x11 "Most likely, to achieve these goals we will look to see if there are men's
participants. We can't add sports because that costs money. We have to do this
/ sports we can reduce," Weidenbach said. "We need to restrict the number of
and still reduce the budget."
CThe sportmost likely to becutatmostBigTenschools ismen's gymnastcs.
After the 1994 NCAA Championships, men's gymnastics loses its exemption
RESUMES to hold a championship because there are fewer than 56 teams.
Selected papers only Butcutting asport willnotonlynot lead to equity, but will violate the spirit
- - -of Title IX. Title IX calls for equal opportunities for the sexes. Cutting a sport
only creates more inequality, not equality.
The only realistic way to reach equality between the sexes is to treat sports
-with theexceptionofbasketball-equally forbothmen and womenin terms
C O P Y I N G offunding,participationandfacilities. ButtheBigTenpresidentswouldrather
611 Church Street put on a good public relations act instead of supporting an effective Gender
Phone:665-9200 Fax:930200 Equity Act.

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