A recent New York Times report revealed that many NCAA Division I athletic departments are unethically counting male practice players for women’s sports teams as women for Title IX compliance reporting purposes.
Universities and colleges must report their male and female athletic participation numbers each year to the Department of Education. To avoid public embarrassment and possible lawsuits, a growing number of universities and colleges are doing end-runs around Title IX. It’s a classic case of gaming the system.
Another popular tactic of some schools is to artificially pad the size of rosters for women’s sports in order to appear closer to compliance with Title IX than they really are. For example, at the University of South Florida more than half of the women on the cross country roster didn’t compete in a single race in 2009. Many of the women on the roster didn’t even know they were on the cross country team.
Schools call these tactics “roster management.” Last year, a federal judge ruled that Quinnipiac University in Connecticut had violated Title IX by utilizing a variety of questionable practices, including requiring that women’s cross country runners join the indoor and outdoor track teams so they could be counted three times on Title IX compliance reports.
A 2010 Office for Civil Rights investigation concluded that the University of California, Irvine’s women’s indoor track team was a ruse, and as such, Irvine was not complying with Title IX. Irvine’s women’s indoor track team competed in just one meet per year and several women on the roster “vigorously stated” that they were not on the team.
New York Times sports columnist George Vescey, in discussing the Title IX chicanery employed by athletic departments across the country, wrote, “These tactics smack of voter registration drives that included a stroll through a hallowed cemetery, jotting down the names of the dearly departed who presumably would still love to have their votes counted.”
Nancy Hogshead-Makar, an Olympic swimmer and the senior director of advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation, said, “The fraud is disheartening. Intercollegiate athletics are rare educational opportunities, subsidized with our tax dollars, which deliver superior lifelong returns on investment. When an athletic department engineers itself to produce only the appearance of fairness they flout the law and cheat women.”
In an official response to the New York Times report, the Women’s Sports Foundation said, “As long as intercollegiate athletics is generously supported with our tax dollars, these scarce educational opportunities should be allocated fairly and equitably between our children.”
The League of Fans believes we need to do all we can to protect and enforce Title IX. If not, Title IX violations and weak enforcement of the law will undermine our progress toward equity in sports for all Americans. As such, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) must be pressured to aggressively enforce Title IX and improve education regarding the law.
— Ken Reed, Director & Senior Analyst, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a long-time member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
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Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon