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Sunday musings 5/6/12

Sunday musings…

1) 5/5. Missed it. Cinca de Mayo is a fun tradition chez bingo; my day job intervened. Illness respects neither the clock nor the calendar.

2) Thug. The world’s biggest rabbit sleeps safely in his steel hutch despite three dogs who are very interested in his “well-being.”

The dogs discovered free-range cousins of Thug’s in the back yard. Didn’t go so well for the cousins.

Thug sleeps on.

3. Title IX. This is the 40th anniversary of the landmark federal legislation known as “Title IX”. Imagine, 40 scant years ago schoolgirls were cheerleaders or they sat in the stands. College athletic programs for women were offered as an after-thought if they were offered at all. The sports themselves were different, too. Ever see a video of a 1960’s girls basketball game? Weird.

Now? A 40 years-long explosion of athletic involvement and achievement in high schools and colleges across the land. Athletic scholarships for every sport that both men and women play. Indeed, at some schools the women’s teams are more successful and draw more fans than the men’s version.

Is it truly equal now? Have we reached a stage where there is true parity between men’s and women’s sports at the high school and college levels? Nah. Of course not. There’s this tiny little elephant in the room called football that thus far has no counter-balancing women’s equivalent, and it’s the biggest sinkhole of expenses at every single level. Drives the advocates of women’s sports nuts, but also screws up the math for men’s sports as well (more in a moment).

I have to confess to profoundly mixed emotions about this anniversary and Title IX. I have 2 sisters, both of whom played 3 sports in high school and both of whom made at least one Div. 1 team in college. It’s quite likely that they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to even play any of their sports at either level without Title IX. I have had too many friends to count who played field hockey, basketball, soccer volleyball in school who were able to take the lessons learned on the court or in the locker room and translate them into greater successes in life. Just like the boys.

So why the mixed emotions? The law of unintended consequences has never been repealed, and it rears its ugly head all the more frequently when a law is placed the the hands of single-issue tunnel-visioned do-gooders. Title IX has been responsible for the death (or failure to birth) of more men’s and boy’s athletic programs than any other single cause. The complexity of the math inherent in the law coupled with the one-gender viewpoint of those who enforce it has led to the demise of countless wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, volleyball and other programs on the MEN’S side of the ledger. Providence college dropped it’s baseball program the year after it made it deep into the NCAA play-offs due to Title IX.

I’m sorry…that’s whacked. Title IX makes no mention of “men” or women”, simply that there be no discrimination based on gender. The boy’s lacrosse program at our local high school was in danger of being dropped because it upset the balance and there was no new girl’s sport to make things “even”. Why? It wasn’t due to lack of support, simply that until this year there was no community call for a girl’s team. Whacked.

I wrote once about the difficulty of having a conversation with a “one-issue” person, someone who cannot see any aspect of the other side of an issue. Blind to it. How is it OK to deny young men the opportunity to play baseball of all things? And this at a school that does not field a football team.

Ah. There it is. The elephant in the room. The other “one-issue” individual in the conversation un-willing or unable to see any aspect of the other side. For it is football, of course, that skews the numbers in most circumstances. Providence College should be ridiculed, and one-gender Title IX crusaders mocked for allowing a fundamental sporting opportunity to be dropped in a non-football school. A pox on both sides, there.

But what of the others? The schools that drop successful wrestling, volleyball, tennis, and swimming programs for the men in order to balance the numbers and protect football (and basketball money)? What of the non-gender blind Title IX advocates who allow this to happen? What of the one-issue football supporters wearing blinders that prevent them from seeing anything in April other than Spring Practice? A pox on both sides here as well.

Reasonable people masquerading as adults should be able to resolve the football issue in a weekend. Heck, we’ve solved the BCS thing, haven’t we?

The original intent of Title IX was absolutely to remove the barriers to women and girls playing school sports. To bastardize that virtuous intent into a law that reduces the participation of anyone of any gender is shameful. We have seen in CrossFit and the CrossFit Games that equal participation results in equal thrills.

So Happy Anniversary to Title IX. Here’s hoping she is “born again” as she cruises toward 50.

Posted by bingo at May 6, 2012 7:49 AM


6 Responses to “Sunday musings 5/6/12”

  1. May 8th, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Apolloswabbie says:

    On a related note – have a prediction for the first school that fields a team of ind/team cf athletes?

  2. May 8th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    darrellwhite says:

    LOL! Nope…I think a CF team will mess up the boy/girl counts and run afoul of Title IX!

  3. May 9th, 2012 at 4:28 am

    Bailey says:

    What about a club team? Collegiate rugby thrives as a club sport in the north east. There are no archaic NCAA rules to follow, the team basically funds itself, and the benefits of participation in sport are realized.

  4. May 9th, 2012 at 8:26 am

    darrellwhite says:

    Great call, Bailey. The key thing is “the team basically funds itself” which relieves the school of any Title IX responsibilities. How about this: make football a club sport at the D1 level and allow outside funding. Athletes get scholarships and school gets all ancillary revenue. Remove the football players from the accountable numbers of athletes.

  5. May 10th, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Bailey says:

    That same argument could be made for all extra-/co-curricular activities in K-16 education. As a high school principal and long time coach I struggle with finding the balance between school sponsored sport/performance arts and the life lessons that can only be learned from these activities vs the communities clamor to reduce the taxes that pay for these activities.

    Should there be an acceptable “cost” that covers certain sports and activities based on traditional sports and arts? (ie. football basketball baseball/track and the band chorus and spring musical). Or, does the local school disrtict allocate a dollar amount that the administration uses to get the “biggest bang for the buck” and the remaining opportunities are covered by the community organizations outside of the school district?

    Crossfit NEEDS to be included in the physical education curriculum. My wife the PE teacher introduced me to Crossfit after I returned from Iraq (I am a Soldier in the Army Reserve). Since then I have been trying to get the key people in the district to see Crossfit as the future of true physical education. A competitive team from a school or club might provide a focal point or at least a key component of a good Information Operations campaign to expose the uninitiated to the benefits of Crossfit.

    The noble struggle continues.

  6. May 10th, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    darrellwhite says:


    Agree whole heartedly on the CF in gym class thing. We should talk sometime. I’ll email you some contact info.

    My point about football extends to all levels. Football participation messes up all of the numbers and is the most common cause of men’s sports being dropped because there is no women’s only equivalent to football. Take it out of the equations. Or use the men’s participation in all sports including football to generate your women’s number, then remove the football numbers and offer an equal number of men’s spots in other non-football sports. There’s a serious disconnect when proponents of Title IX say stuff like “there are still 1.3 million girls who don’t get a chance to play” instead of “there are 1.3 million football players who skew the numbers.”

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