Friday, October 14, 2011

Title nine...so misunderstood ...

The other day Pat Clifton wrote an editorial for Rugby Magazine on the state or college rugby in the US. He made an impassioned case for rugby at the varsity level, largely as an alternative to football, which is outrageously expensive. you can read it here... http://www.rugbymag.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2303:college-rugby-state-of-the-union-part-deux&catid=101:op-eds&Itemid=302

I enjoyed Pat's article and agree.

The commenters, however, enraged me. Many of the comments were about Title IX, or, as one commenter called it, 'the elephant in the room'. He asserted that Title IX is what is holding rugby back from becoming a varsity sport, and that even if he came to the table with an outrageous amount of money, he wouldn't be able start a men's varsity program, because of Title XI. He didn't consider starting a women's program with the fictitious outrageous amount of money, which prompted another commenter to state 'thats exactly why we need Title IX.

The thread then turned to a discussion of ticket sales and the marketability of women's rugby, with lots of thumbs up about women's rugby not being as exciting as men's rugby, and how somehow has something to do with Title IX (to which I can't help but wonder, has he ever seen a high level women's match, or is he comparing d3 college women to the men in the rugby world cup?)

But I digress.

What enraged me was how much approval and agreement there was about how Title IX is a problem. While big time college sports like football and basketball do have a revenue component, most do not. Has anyone ever heard of a d2 wrestling or golf program generating revenue for a university? No. Because varsity sports a not about ticket sales, or marketability, or entertainment. Varsity sport programs exist for the players who participate. There are volumes of incontrovertible evidence that participating in well run, structured, competitive athletic program pay a lifetime of benefits. Athletes have greater academic success, use drugs less, have a lower incidence of unplanned pregnancy and STDs, and have a higher degree of success in the workplace. If I'm going to pay to send my hypothetical daughter to college, a college thats accepts public funds (the only schools that title IX applys to) then she damn well better have access to the same opportunities as my hypothetical son. I want them both to get all the benefits and personal growth that sports provide. THAT is why Title IX exists. It's not some BS wanna-be affirmative action program that hurts men's sports, that is, unless you think pushing out daughters to achieve and be successful is a waste of tax dollars.

If you ask me, we'd be better off lobbying the NCAA to reduce the number of football scolarships for third string kicking team, since just one of those would fund a rugby program, and two of them would fund two rugby programs, providing more athletes of both genders with an opportunity for personal growth and development, which is why they are in college in the first place. I DO NOT CARE if you think my hypothetical daughters game 'isn't exciting enough'. She isn't playing entertain you.

To the commenter who thinks that attendance differences for the finals of the women's and men's rugby world cup is a good reason to trash Title IX, here's a thought: for the first time last year, every women's rugby world cup game was sold out. We couldn't have sold more ticket if we wanted. So next time? We are going to need a bigger stadium. And I really hope you don't have any daughters.

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