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October 22, 2007

Historic Title IX Problems Turns Out To Be The Beginning For Swimming

When it comes down to an athletic director making a decision on which men’s team to cut funding solely because of Title IX issues, it becomes a problem reflecting the exact theme Title IX was amended for in the first place—sex discrimination in reverse fashion. Nowhere in the legal document does it say that in order to create the opportunities for women, funding and managing an athletic team, a men’s team must be dropped because of Title IX budget and scholarship problems. Probably one of the most historic cases occurred 13 years ago at the University of California Los Angeles when the athletic department decided to scrap the men’s swimming and diving team. UCLA wasn’t just an average college swimming program; it had a strong tradition, which boasted a National Championship in 1982, 41 Individual National Titles, and 16 Olympians. For the previous ten years, the Bruins finished in the top 10 every year, so when the athletic community witnessed the loss of a prestigious program in 1994 everyone was stunned. UC Irvine diving coach Curtis Wilson exclaimed, “Colleges are taking the easy way out to drop men’s programs. It’s an abuse of what Title IX set out to do.” At around the same time, UCLA also dropped another prestigious program, men’s gymnastics, which set a tone around the intercollegiate community that addition by subtraction is not a good thing for any university (Swimming: Left Behind).

UCLA is the biggest name program to be scrapped from college swimming, but over the past few years many other teams have been dropped. Last year alone, two Big East swim teams, Rutgers and Syracuse, were phased out. For Rutgers the swim team was just one of six sports to be cut during that season. The five other sports included men’s fencing, men’s heavyweight crew, men’s lightweight crew, men’s tennis, and women’s fencing. In Rutgers case the athletic department was losing millions of dollars, so the fact that they got rid of some sports is just, but five out six of the teams were men’s teams (Rutgers Men's Swimming In Jeopardy).

Posted by shaunpw at October 22, 2007 08:13 PM