Colleges finagle to meet female athletic targets | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Colleges finagle to meet female athletic targets

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 7:12 AM

Title IX, which led to a huge increase in female athletic participation in college, has left many men unhappy because of the impact on male sports. It has also led to cheating, the New York Times reports today. Women outnumber men in college, but NOT in sports participation. To meet Title IX goals, some schools have resorted to creative means, sometimes outright cheating.

One — legal — wrinkle is to count men who practice with women teams as women. This technique was used at Texas A&M, which recently won a women's national basketball championship under the leadership of a former Hog coach.

The problem — though you dare not call it that around these parts — is football. The average team is bigger than it was 30 years ago — about 111 players at the average major college. The push to swell women's numbers is required to match the expense devoted to football.

But as women have grown to 57 percent of American colleges’ enrollment, athletic programs have increasingly struggled to field a proportional number of female athletes. And instead of pouring money into new women’s teams or trimming the rosters of prized football teams, many colleges are turning to a sleight of hand known as roster management. According to a review of public records from more than 20 colleges and universities by The New York Times, and an analysis of federal participation statistics from all 345 institutions in N.C.A.A. Division I — the highest level of college sports — many are padding women’s team rosters with underqualified, even unwitting, athletes. They are counting male practice players as women. And they are trimming the rosters of men’s teams.

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