San Jose State: $1,285,330
Traditionalists will bemoan the loss of some programs, claiming they provided a meaningful service to the university. Evidence of that is mainly anecdotal. For the most part, nonrevenue varsity sports serve only the participants and a small cadre of supporters, a poor return for annual losses that in many cases exceed $500,000 per team. One could easily argue that club sports offer student-athletes an experience that is at least as rewarding (right).
It is indisputable that by doing away with the 16- and 14-sport minimums and having schools field only those men's teams that are able to break even, every athletic department's financial situation would improve dramatically. It also opens the door to even more savings.
—Operating deficit of the Louisville's women's rowing team
For a moment focus on a number that isn't preceded by a dollar sign: 80.
That is the number of male athletes Mississippi would cut under SI's model: 32 football walk-ons and 48 athletes from three unprofitable men's teams. It would be reasonable to assume that in the next phase of SI's model, Ole Miss would cut a corresponding number of female athletes. But it is not that simple. Nothing with Title IX is.
For schools to be considered Title IX compliant they must meet one of three "prongs." The first—and most demanding—prong requires that a school's athletic participation mirrors the male-female ratio of its undergraduate population. The other prongs are more ambiguous, but generally state that a school is not violating the law if it's expanding athletic opportunities for women, or at least not hindering them.
When schools say they are Title IX compliant, they typically mean under Prong 2 or Prong 3. What prong a school qualifies under is important during the next stage of SI's model. A university that is compliant or close to compliant under Prong 1 can make massive cuts and save a million dollars or more. Those relying on Prong 2 or 3 cannot make any reductions, because to do so would undermine the argument that they are making progress toward gender equality.
Mississippi's sacrifice of 80 male athletes would be significant, yet its ratio of male-to-female athletes would still be slightly skewed in favor of men at a school that is 53% female. As a result, Mississippi could not cut any women's sports. Oregon's loss of 36 male participants would make the school Prong 1 compliant, but just barely. Like Ole Miss, it could not touch any of its women's programs. Louisville and San Jose State, on the other hand, were Prong 1 compliant before SI's reductions, and therefore can duplicate the reductions made on the men's side.