Deflecting the Penalty Kick of Title IX
March 10, 2003
Brigham Young University officials will not raise men's soccer from the club level to varsity status, as it has done for women. They say it would cost too much and require the university to add another women's sport under Title IX, the 1972 law that forced schools to offer women equal opportunity in sports.
So the university is taking a novel approach to funding men's soccer: for about $40,000, provided by donors, the team purchased a franchise in an amateur soccer league that operates outside the National Collegiate Athletic Association's control.
B.Y.U. officials say they think the university can provide improve the competitiveness of men's soccer while remaining in compliance with Title IX and while spending considerably less than the $500,000 it would cost to field a varsity team.
At first glance, the possibilities seem intriguing:
- As universities struggle with budget restraints and requirements to provide equal opportunities for male and female athletes while not reducing their multimillion-dollar spending on football, B.Y.U. has found an innovative way to boost soccer.
- This might spur other creative solutions to stem the elimination of men's teams in such sports as gymnastics, wrestling and swimming, sports officials said.
- Brigham Young's male soccer players will not be paid or given scholarships and by joining a league not governed by the N.C.A.A., the team can avoid restrictions on recruiting, practice, games and travel.
Perhaps this will provide an alternative way for soccer-scarce schools in major football conferences like the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference to add men's teams.
Source: Jere Longman, "B.Y.U. Soccer Finds Novel Alternative to N.C.A.A.," New York Times, March 7, 2003.
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