Would Semi Pro status release big revenue sports from Title IX limits?

What would happen if the major revenue generating football programs in the NCAA decide to change their designation to semi pro?

 

In his opinion piece published in Forbes, Will Paying College Athletes Ruin Everything We Love About College Sports? Not If We’re Smart About It,”  ASC Director, H. Clay McEldowney offers insight into that question.

 

“As a matter of law, the Title IX statute is specifically designed to govern educational matters, and established regulatory precedent shows that Title IX does not apply to professional sports.”

 

One example of a semi pro college team that is free from Title IX compliance restriction is Brigham Young University’s men’s soccer team. The school fields a team in the Premier Development League, a division of the United Soccer League. As you can see below, BYU does not list the men’s soccer team as part of its Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act report.

BYU EADA Stats

As the ASC’s NCAA soccer study revealed, there is a huge opportunity gap between male and female soccer players in the NCAA.  Male players have far fewer opportunities to play and earn scholarships than their female counterparts thanks to the limits created by Title IX’s gender quota. Maybe BYU’s soccer team is paving the way to a new world of college athletics, which meets the underserved interest of male players.

Why Title IX Rules Might Turn Out the Lights on High School Baseball Tradition

When Patsy Mink, the former Congresswoman from Hawaii, worked to create the anti- discrimination law that would later become known as Title IX, she was motivated to end horrendous gender quotas that capped enrollment of women in medical and law schools.  But she probably never expected that the law would cause high school administrators to turn off the lights on boy’s high school baseball games.

Fans of the Lake Washington High School baseball team in Kirkland, Washington are in an uproar over the threat to end their over 30-year tradition of playing baseball under the lights in a public park.

According to T.J. Martinell in the Kirkland Reporter, the impetus for the change is compliance with Title IX:

“A letter from Lake Washington High School Principal Christina Thomas reveals that one of the main rationales behind removing the Kangs baseball team from Lee Johnson Field was to make things more fair for the girls softball team and address possible federal Title IX violations.”

[…]

“If male athletes, like baseball players, are able to play in a big game atmosphere during prime time in a top flight facility and female athletes don’t have the same opportunities, then the law may be violated.”

Parents of the players have organized an online petition to fight the move. Over 1,100 people have already signed it.

As Martinelli previously reported:

“One aspect of the dispute is whether the move would save money or cost more. LWHS, for example, believes the proposed move curbs costs by eliminating the rental fees for using the field, which is owned by the city of Kirkland. The Kangs Baseball Booster Club contends it would cost more to move them back to the high school. Plus, the Booster Club has offered to pay the rental fees, according to the online petition.”

The American Sports Council fully supports the language of Title IX that clearly forbids discrimination on the basis of gender and the principle of Title IX that support equal access and equivalent funding for female and male teams. It is the outdated regulations that are used to enforce the law that are the problem and need to be reformed. Until these bad regulations are changed, we will continue to see more stories like this one where boys are punished in ways which yield absolutely no benefit to girls.

Dr. Bob Wuornos Offers Insight On The Future Of College Sports

In his commentary, The Future of Other College Sports, published today in the National Review Online, Dr. Bob Wuornos, founder of the Men’s Intercollegiate Gymnastics Support Program (MIGSP) offers some clear insight into both the dilemma and opportunity presented by the NCAA rule change that allows Division I schools to pay athletes stipends. Too few sports leaders are willing to be as candid as Dr. Wuornos is in his assessment of the problem and his presentation of a realistic path forward for non-revenue sports.

From his commentary:

‘As stewards of our sports, we need to plan and prepare for the future. Change can be traumatic, but it also presents us with opportunities to rethink and reevaluate to create a better future.

Hundreds of teams have been dismantled in the disastrous enforcement of gender quotas. But in a number of cases, alumni and sports communities have stepped forward to endow or fund their programs, ensuring their survival. This can serve as an example for how to deal with the present crisis.’

 

Through his volunteer work at MIGSP, Dr. Wuornos has shown how social enterprise can play an important role in preserving and promoting collegiate sports like men’s gymnastics, a sport that has been decimated by Title IX’s gender quota. MIGSP offers a way for alumni gymnasts, whose collegiate programs fell to Title IX’s unreasonable compliance regime, to support existing college teams.

In most cases, even offers of money from big donors are not enough to save a team when a school is found to be out of compliance with gender quotas. However, in the rare cases where Title IX compliance is not a factor in the decision to eliminate a team, sometimes we hear heartening stories of generosity from former athletes giving back to their sport. The extraordinary effort by the gymnastics community with the MIGSP leadership that saved the Cal-Berkely gymnastics team is a shining example of such generosity.

Reforming Title IX regualtions, so that gender quotas no longer create arbitrary numerical limits on athletic opportunites, is essential to the future of non-revenue sports. Free of Title IX’s current restraints, social entrepreneurs like Dr. Wuornos will be able to do their good work, helping to start up new college programs for future generations of athletes in sports like gymnastics, and in doing so, giving back to the sports from which they have benefitted so much.

ASC launches EducationAndAthletics.org a new resource center for the paying players issue.

ASC launches EducationAndAthletics.org a new resource center for the ‘paying players’ issue. The micro-site includes the ASC’s Declaration of Principles relating to the paying players issue.

Here is where the ASC stands.

Declaration of Principles- Education and Athletics

The ASC believes that true value of college athletics is not found in crowd filled stadiums or on prime time television broadcasts. We place the highest value on the educational experience that participation in sports offers to students. Most college athletes are not superstars or media darlings, but when you match athletics with a strict academic curriculum, it is not just the champion athletes that walk away as winners.

Over the past hundred years, collegiate athletics has evolved from a random collection of hard scrabble, student run teams into today’s highly structured enterprise that generates billions of dollars. Now the very structure that was built up over the past hundred years, which supports thousands of athletes, is threatened.

More at www.EducationAndAthletics.org

No, to Presidential Commission- Yes, to new NCAA structure

One of the Women’s Sports Foundation’s favorite and often cited economists, Andrew Zimbalist of Smith College, has called for a Presidential Commission to address the recent crisis in NCAA Division I sports triggered by the paying players issue.

In his article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, professor Zimbalist doesn’t offer any ideas for an optimal outcome for the problem other than more government. Asking the federal government to create regulations to control costs is like asking the Ultimate Fighting Championship to offer solutions to control violence in sports.

Then why would he propose a Presidential Commission? In one word, it’s about control. A Presidential Commission on college athletics would be conducted through the US Department of Education. Anyone who is experienced in DC politics knows that the “inside the Beltway” groups would hold outsized influence in every step; from staffing the commission, controlling selection of testimony, and creating final recommendations.

In this case, one organization with critical influence in the Obama Administration’s Department of Education would be the National Women’s Law Center, a key ally of the Women’s Sports Foundation. With the NWLC on the inside of the process, there’s little doubt that their political agenda would drive the commission. This is the same agenda that twisted Title IX enforcement into the unreasonable gender quota regime we have today. A Presidential Commission is not the solution to the problem. It would only grant power to the same sort of government functionaries who have helped make such a mess of Title IX compliance.

So what’s the alternative? Instead of another commission, it’s time for college administrators to acknowledge that when they start paying football and basketball players ‘stipends’ in response to the O’Bannon decision they will create a semi-professional status for these athletes.

The football programs in the Big Five conferences clearly operate under a different set of priorities than the rest of the schools in the NCAA. Maybe now is the time for those revenue focused programs to go their own way in pursuit of profits. Meanwhile, the vast majority of schools, the institutions that believe in the educational value of intercollegiate athletics, can follow a separate path free of the financial and legal pressures that will be a consequence of semi professional college sports.

Richard Broad Joins American Sports Council Board on Eve of NCAA College Cup

Addition of Respected Figure in U.S. College Soccer Underscores Damage Title IX Doing to Men’s Game

With the men’s college soccer world gathering in Cary, N.C. this week for the NCAA College Cup, the American Sports Council (ASC) is pleased to announce the addition of Richard Broad to its board of directors.

Richard Broad is a nationally known television commentator and former head coach of men’s soccer at both the college and high school level. He is President of American Soccer Programs and founder and former Director of Middle States Soccer Camp.  An educator and teacher of the game, he has provided training and guidance for numerous highly successful players.

“The ASC is truly honored to have Richard Broad join our organization. He brings to the ASC a lifetime of achievements in the sport of soccer, and with that extensive experience comes a comprehensive understanding of the problems that the sport faces,” said ASC Chairman, Eric Pearson. “The ASC team is devoted to preserving and expanding opportunities to play sports for future generations of Americans, and Richard will bring a voice for soccer to all our advocacy efforts.”

Richard Broad said, “It is an honor and a great opportunity to join the Board of the American Sports Council. This organization has made an important contribution to the preservation of numerous intercollegiate sports programs across the nation.”

Boys Soccer is ranked as the 5th most popular high school sport by the National Federation of State High School Associations according to participation rates. However, due to the restrictions created by Title IX’s gender quota, opportunities to play and earn scholarships at the NCAA Division I level are severely limited for male soccer players compared to female soccer players.

In 2010, the ASC published a frequently cited analysis of the gender disparity in college soccer. That analysis found that in addition to the limits on scholarships, college soccer teams for men have been eliminated in order to comply with Title IX, while many of the nation’s most successful athletic programs refuse to add the sport for fear of running afoul of the law’s senseless gender quota.

“Despite the worldwide growth of soccer, as evidenced by the massive interest in the 2014 World Cup, soccer faces a number of the same issues as other intercollegiate sports and in recent years has seen several long-established programs discontinued,” said Broad.  “I hope, through my involvement with ASC, to call attention to soccer as well as contribute to other sports which are in need of advocacy.”

Men’s College Soccer and the ASC

It was in 2009 that the ASC (then called the College Sports Council) first uncovered serious disparities in the number of scholarships offered to men and women in sports where both genders compete. Building on that analysis, in 2010, the ASC became the first organization to shed light on how the enforcement of Title IX has retarded the growth of men’s soccer even as the game has expanded to new levels of popularity here at home. Today, fear of Title IX lawsuits prevents many of the nation’s most prestigious athletic programs from adding men’s soccer as a sport because doing so would run afoul of the law’s ironclad gender quota. Meanwhile, other schools faced with complying with the law like the University of Richmond, Towson University and Mount St. Mary’s College, haven’t hesitated to cut men’s soccer outright.

About Richard Broad

The primary focus of Richard Broad’s soccer career has been at the college level.  After serving as Assistant Coach at the University of Massachusetts and later at Princeton University, where he played intercollegiate soccer, he became Head Men’s Coach at George Mason University.  In nine years, he raised the program from NAIA and Division III status to national prominence at the Division I level. His teams were consistently ranked in the Top 20 nationally and twice selected for the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.   He was twice named Coach of the Year in the South Atlantic Region.  He was also selected Head Coach of the East squad in the Senior Bowl.

At the secondary school level, Coach Broad won championships in Connecticut, Florida and Pennsylvania.  Later, as Head Men’s Coach at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia, he took his squads to the state tournament four times, winning the Virginia State Championship in 2000.  In addition, he has trained numerous successful club teams including the three time Regional Champions, Braddock Road Blue Jays.

He is especially committed to the development of the serious, highly-motivated soccer player. He has guided over 500 young men and women through their college selection and contributed substantially to the development of MLS players Michael Lahoud and Abe Thompson as well as United States National Team members Oguchi Onyewu and Clarence Goodson.

Richard Broad is a widely recognized television commentator for college and professional soccer.  He has worked for the Big Ten Network, Fox Soccer Channel, CSTV, CBS Sports Network and has covered both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Division I Championships.  Currently, he is an analyst for ESPNU.  A Princeton University graduate, he holds a Masters degree in education from the University of Massachusetts.

Is COLLEGE PRO coming to the NCAA?

One of the hottest trending topics now in college sports is the discussion about schools paying athletes stipends in addition to their scholarships. The NCAA has opened the possibility for schools to pay athletes with the recently proposed Division I Board of Directors governance restructuring. The issue picked up additional momentum recently when the athletic director at the University of Texas seemed to indicate that sports powerhouse was ready to pay its student athletes $10,000 per year in addition to tuition, room and board.

But for some, paying players is taking things a step too far, creating a separate class of semi-professional athletes. In the Burlington Free Press, University of Vermont President, Tom Sullivan said:

“Quite frankly, it looks like and feels like compensation as opposed to tuition for education … That is a commercial enterprise, not academic or an educational enterprise. That makes it look like an employee ­employer relationship.”

Sullivan’s athletic director, Bob Corran, struck a similar tone in the same story.

“Long term, I’m very, very concerned with where intercollegiate athletics are going to go as a result of this,” Corran said. “But, on the other hand, maybe this gets us to the point where enough people say, ‘listen big five, go do what you do, go do it someplace else. We’ll do what we do.”

Maybe Bob Corran is onto something. The Ivy League came up with its solution over 50 years ago when it abolished athletic scholarships altogether and went to a 100% need-based model for student athletes. A half century later, Ivy League schools boast some of the largest athletic departments in the nation, offering full slates of sports for athletes who play for nothing more than the love of the game. Meanwhile, programs like the University of Texas can’t even manage to sponsor a men’s soccer program in a state with a burgeoning Latino population totally in love with the sport.

So while a handful of big time athletic programs might be ready to go down the ‘College Pro’ path, perhaps it’s time for the vast majority of schools to head in another direction and double down on providing a traditional student athlete experience, one that’s more in line with their traditional educational mission.

Club and Intramural Sports Now in Title IX Crosshairs

For years, the ASC warned that gender quota advocates would insist on the enforcement of Title IX’s Three Part Test in high school sports. Unfortunately, that prediction has recently become fact.

Now our warning is this: Watch out collegiate club and intramural sports. You are next!

According to a news story posted last week by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, a working group there has written ‘revised gender equity guidelines’ for Title IX compliance for collegiate club and intramural sports.

The working document, “Toward the Development of National Intramural and Club Sport Gender Equity Guidelines,” has yet to be published, though according to Dr. Jacqueline McDowell of George Mason University, a select group of NIRSA’s members as well as the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights have already received an advanced copy of the document.

Dr. McDowell has posted a YouTube video where she discusses their proposals.
At 15:28 in the audio Dr. McDowell states, “the substantial proportionality test, it can be used for intramural sport…”

Guideline recommendations such as these made by NIRSA often precede actual policy changes. There’s more than enough detail here to worry us that the same sort of gender quotas and spending controls that we’ve seen applied to college varsity sports will someday be used to regulate club and intramural teams.

In a way, the threat here is far more significant in the total numbers of athletes who could be impacted. A 2008 New York Times article by Bill Pennington said that while the NCAA governs about 430,000 athletes, more than 2 million student athletes compete in club sports.

We have witnessed significant growth of intercollegiate club leagues in men’s lacrosse, swimming, volleyball, and wrestling, among others. These collegiate club leagues have grown in response to the reduction of playing opportunities for males at the varsity level caused by the cutting and capping of teams in order to comply with the gender quota.

NIRSA plans to unveil the new guidelines to the public at their conference in Texas in 2015.

Wrestling Hall Of Fame honors H. Clay McEldowney

We at the ASC are proud to share the news that on September 21st our own H. Clay McEldowney was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, NJ Chapter as ‘Outstanding American.’

When asked at his induction ceremony what he sees as the greatest challenges facing the sport of wrestling, McEldowney listed Title IX’s gender quota, which results in the dropping or roster capping of Olympic sports, such as wrestling, track & field, and soccer; college coaches, many of whom are unable to effectively deal with sports politics, public relations, and encouraging alumni support groups; and pay to play, the probable aftermath of the O’Bannon case, which could take resources away from the “non-revenue sports” in favor of revenue sports like football and basketball.

In the early 1990’s, as Chairman of the Friends of Princeton Wrestling, McEldowney led the successful 3 year effort to prevent the elimination of Princeton’s varsity wrestling team after the university announced its intention to discontinue it. Since that time, Clay has worked tirelessly to share with sports leaders who are willing to listen the key strategies that helped save the Princeton wrestling team.

Clay is a founding Director of the ASC and has served on its Board of Directors as Board Secretary since the ASC’s inception in 2002.

“It’s been a true honor and privilege to know and work with Clay,” commented ASC Chairman Eric Pearson. “Most people have no idea just how generous he has been in donating countless hours to help save college sports teams.”

ASC President, Leo Kocher added, “The passion, influence, resources, and hard work that Clay has generously given to the ASC’s cause has been crucial for thousands upon thousands of students for whom sports have made such a difference – and many thousands more in the future.”

His efforts on behalf of wrestling earned him, with actor Billy Baldwin, the Impact Award in 2012 from the Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine (WIN), the leading publication covering high school, collegiate and international wrestling, in recognition of his involvement with preventing the discontinuation of wrestling and other Olympic sports at many colleges.

The Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association, the nation’s oldest collegiate wrestling conference, honored McEldowney as ‘Man of the Year’ in 1997 and inducted him into the EIWA Hall of Fame in 2013.

The ASC agrees that Clay is an outstanding American.

Appeals Court Ruling Paves Way for Gender Quotas in High School Sports

The followers of the American Sports Council (ASC) will recall that we’ve been warning for years that gender quota activists were setting their sights on applying Title IX’s proportionality rule to high school sports. Now, with a recent federal court ruling, that day has come.

In a September 19, 2014 decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court judgment in the case Ollier v. Sweetwater Union High School District.

From the decision:

“The Government’s position rejects Sweetwater’s argument that Title IX should be applied differently to high schools than to colleges, as well as the idea that the district court’s “substantial proportionality” evaluation was flawed.6 We agree with the Government that the three-part test applies to a high school.

This is suggested by the Government’s regulations, See 34 C.F.R. § 106.41(a) (disallowing sex discrimination “in any interscholastic, intercollegiate, club or intramural athletics”), and, accordingly, apply the three-part “effective accommodation” test here. Although this regulation does not explicitly refer to high schools, it does not distinguish between high schools and other types of interscholastic, club or intramural athletics. We give Chevron deference to this regulation. See note 5, supra. See also McCormick ex rel. McCormick v. School Dist. of Mamaroneck, 370 F.3d 275, 300 (2d Cir. 2004) (applying three-part test to high school districts); Horner v. Ky. High Sch. Athletic Ass’n, 43 F.3d 265, 272–75 (6th Cir. 1994) (same).”

Back in 2011, the ASC sued the Department of Education to prevent the use of strict proportionality in Title IX at the high school level because it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In 2012, that complaint was dismissed, not on the merits, but based on the court’s position that since the ASC did not suffer any injury due to the Three-Part Test’s application to high school sports, that it did not have standing to sue.

At the time, Joshua Thompson of the Pacific Legal Foundation had this to say about the decision and its implications:

On its face, the Three-Part applies to intercollegiate athletics. Indeed, its actual title is, “A Policy Interpretation: Title IX and Intercollegiate Athletics.” It requires that colleges engage in sex-balancing by requiring institutions to have a proportional representation of male and female athletes at each school. While this alone is constitutionally troubling, the rub with this latest lawsuit is that sex-quota activists have been using the Three-Part Test to force sex-balancing on high schools. The law neither allows this nor was ever designed for this.”

The implications here are profound. In high school, the gender balance of students is essentially 50/50. Despite this, about 1.3 million more boys than girls participate in high school sports. For boys, interscholastic competition is their preferred type of extracurricular activity. Given that most high schools are under extraordinary financial pressures, the easiest way for any school to comply with Title IX’s Three-Part Test will be to limit the number of boys who participate in sports in order to make the numbers balance. That will likely result in roster caps, and eventually, the outright elimination of many teams.