And not cut any men's sports? Dream on.
No, I'll stay right here in reality and give you the numbers. Eliminate 15 football scholarships at $8,000 each. Get rid of two assistant football coaches at, oh. $45,000 each. Now add the cost saved in benefits for those coaches at 25 percent of their salaries. Factor in, at about $1,000 a head, the equipment, medical and insurance costs saved by reducing your football squad by 55, and that's nearly $300,000 in found money—with which you could start enough women's teams to comply.
Comply, shomply. One fine hue and cry will go up at that idea.
I'm sure. But we've already seen the most garish hues and heard the most bloodcurdling cries, and still the sun comes up each morning. In 1975 the NCAA reacted to Title IX by supporting federal legislation called the Tower Amendment, which would have exempted revenue-producing sports—that is, football and men's basketball—from the law's purview. After the Tower Amendment failed to pass the House, the NCAA filed suit in 1978 against the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to again try to take football and basketball out of the equation. And NCAA executive director Walter Byers uttered his famous remark that because of Title IX, "impending doom is around the corner." Now Schultz, to his credit, is calling gender equity "a moral issue."
Can't you see that the challenge of complying with Title IX offers big-time college sports their best chance to scale back to reality? Athletic-department ledgers are soaked in red ink. The NCAA's billion-dollar basketball deal with CBS comes up for renewal in 1997, and given the current advertising climate, it'll be a miracle if the rights fee doesn't go down. After years of excess, college presidents finally appear determined to rein in their athletic departments. And Congress is in such disfavor that it'll do anything to enhance its image—and taming the leviathan of college sports scores points with voters across the spectrum.
Just wait. The feds are going to be on college sports like white on rice. Some congressmen, the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission arc already saying, "Fine, keep pouring resources into football and men's basketball. Go ahead and behave like pro sports franchises, and we'll treat you accordingly. We'll tax and regulate the bejesus out of you."
There's nothing Schultz dreads more than federal intervention. And the NCAA can help avoid it by making compliance with Title IX a condition for membership. The NCAA gives "death" sentences to schools that flout its rules; it could do the same to schools that disobey the law of the land. Comply or die. And if the NCAA won't act, the conferences should. Actually, your dear old Big Ten already has. It has adopted a plan that requires each member school to reach 40 percent women's participation in sports within five years. Of course, the proposal originally called for 50 percent female participation within 10 years, but that goal was dropped—probably because the Big Ten numbers 11 schools and doesn't trust itself to count to 10.
Snide, aren't we?
It's hard not to be, given how long the wait has been. Title IX was one of the Education Amendments of 1972. But the first federal regulations enforcing Title IX weren't promulgated until 1975, and schools were given until 1978 to comply. Then Title IX was emasculated by the U.S. Supreme Court, whose decision in Grove City College v. Bell in 1984 effectively ruled that the law's provisions didn't apply to athletics. After Grove City, scores of pending complaints or reviews were suspended, scaled back or dropped. Title IX wasn't effective again until Congress passed, over President Reagan's veto, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988, which made it clear that Title IX applied to athletics. So the law has really been enforced for only half of its life. That's why the mood wasn't as grim as it might have been at the Title IX birthday parties in June.
Just what I suspected. The women's libbers are having a grand old time. Damn that Title IX.