Archive for Friday, March 2, 2012

KU says Title IX satisfied in case

March 2, 2012


Kansas Athletics has filed documents that show it has satisfied a Title IX complaint lodged by a former Kansas University swimmer who had hoped to encourage the university to offer more men’s sports.

Ron Neugent, a Wichita dentist and former KU swimmer, filed an unusual complaint in 2009 under the law long used to bring about equality for women in athletics.

To comply with Title IX, a university must meet one part of a three-part test. Kansas Athletics stays in compliance with the law by closely watching the number of participants in men’s and women’s sports — sometimes monitoring rosters weekly — to ensure they’re proportional with the number of men and women enrolled at the university.

Neugent found that as of 2007-08, 51 fewer men than women participated in sports at KU. That meant men were the under-represented gender.

KU agreed on a course of action to resolve Neugent’s complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, which oversees Title IX regulations. The agreement didn’t mean KU was out of compliance.

To comply with Title IX, a university must show one of the following:

• It is providing athletic opportunities for men and women at a rate substantially proportional to the enrollment rates of men and women.

• It has a continuing practice of program expansion for an under-represented gender.

• It can demonstrate the interest and abilities of the under-represented gender are being fully accommodated.

In this case, KU chose to show it was in compliance with the first option.

“We are doing what we’re supposed to do in the spirit of the law,” said Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director.

Judy Pottorff, corporate counsel with Kansas Athletics, said the change made at KU was a very minor one. Though KU has never received specific direction on what “substantially proportional” meant, Pottorff said the school was told it was compliant in 2007 when its male-female participation in sports differed by 1.8 percent from the enrollment figures.

“It’s something we’ve always done,” she said. “We wanted to tighten it up to get it a little bit closer.”

After the complaint, KU’s sports participation exactly matched the percentages of men and women enrolled at the university. In December, KU had 294 men participating in sports and 283 women, which was almost exactly the same percentages of the 8,846 men and 8,484 women enrolled on the Lawrence campus.

Debbie Van Saun, Kansas Athletics’ senior woman administrator, watches the rosters carefully, and works with coaches to ensure their participation numbers stay proportional to enrollment percentages. While one person dropping out might not be significant, if the percentages get off by 10 people or more, the school will work with coaches to adjust roster sizes for upcoming seasons.

Title IX complaints at the school are rare, Pottorff said.

Neugent said he was disappointed with the university’s response. In a letter to Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, he said he hoped that KU could take steps to add men’s swimming and diving, and men’s tennis. That’s a move that could help its standing in the Directors’ Cup, a competition among universities that measures athletic performance in 10 men’s and 10 women’s sports, Neugent said.

Today, KU offers seven men’s sports and 11 women’s sports.

“I was hoping they would take it as an opportunity to add men’s sports,” and still comply with Title IX, he said. “Most schools don’t have that opportunity.”


08Champs 6 years, 2 months ago

Personally, would rather see them add men's wrestling than diving or tennis. We've got some great talent in this area. I'm just saying.

kusp8 6 years, 2 months ago

We also have some great tennis players in the area. There have been multiple pro-tour players that have come out of Topeka. Just sayin.

08Champs 6 years, 2 months ago

Which is why I said "personally" - prefer watching wrestling to diving or tennis. And it's a less expensive sport to house. No specialized facilities are needed - gyms are already in the high schools and colleges.

kuguardgrl13 6 years, 2 months ago

But we already have a poor and diving well. We even used to have a men's swimming and diving team a few years back. My guess is this former swimmer is bitter that his team isn't around anymore.

Cai 6 years, 2 months ago

KU used to have a men's swimming and diving team, as well as a tennis team. they were axed for money reasons.

notasheeple 6 years, 2 months ago

" they were axed for money reasons."

Indeed, that is what the article you linked said. I'm curious what the Title IX balance was back in 2001?

And if the Title IX balance needed to be shifted, wouldn't it be a fortuitous opportunity to cut Men's Swimming and Diving and Men's Tennis rather than add costly new programs, like Women's LaCross, Women's Hockey, and Women's Curling?

I wonder.

notasheeple 6 years, 2 months ago

And if the former athletes and fans of the axed programs just couldn't quite scratch together enough change by next Monday to fund the programs into perpetuity, welllll, then...

too bad, so sad.

Vinny1 6 years, 2 months ago

They were axed for money reasons, but not only money reasons. KU was behind in Title IX and either had to add women's sports or cut mens sports. It was far far far more cost efficient to cut the mens sports. So they did. Easy decision.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

As a former men's swimmer at KU, we were told it was about money, not title IX. However, the swimming and tennis alumni were given no opportunity to raise money. Gayle Sayers said he would contribute to keep these two sports. Now the closest university to offer men's swimming is Missouri. No other university in Kansas offers it despite a lot of high school programs around the state.

Vinny1 6 years, 2 months ago

  1. Why would you add them when all they do is cost you money?
  2. If you add more mens sports you have to add more womens sports. Now you are adding even more sports that lose you money.

patkindle 6 years, 2 months ago

this discussion reminds me of is christmas always on a sunday??

Liberty275 6 years, 2 months ago

Sorry I don't follow sports enough to comment on the article, but that headline image will sell more papers. Kudos LJW.

goodcountrypeople 6 years, 2 months ago

When it comes to meeting legal standards and requirements, KU like other entities and people in Douglas County gives themselves way too much credit and in reality falls disappointingly short of what federal law mandates and peer institutions willingly and in good conscience hold themselves accountable to.

kuguardgrl13 6 years, 2 months ago

Why does Title IX have to be so complicated? Why can't it be equal numbers of teams or one extra for women to make up for football? Everything at this school has to be about basketball, and no other sports matter. Don't get me wrong, I love basketball, but we can't deny the many other talented athletes we have or could have.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.