Brand Sends a Message on Title IX at NCAA Convention

Feb 2, 2007

There is a scene in the movie “We Are Marshall,” where a beleaguered Marshall University President stands in the rain outside the NCAA offices in the early 1970s hoping to get the NCAA to change its mind and make freshmen recruits at Marshall eligible to play football.
Given the tragedy that befell the university, the NCAA relents, demonstrating its compassion.
That also happens to be the NCAA that President Myles Brand was trying to project at the NCAA Convention last month. One of the areas, in particular, that Brand cited was Title IX.
Brand took umbrage at “attacks” on the gender equity law in his speech.
“The most recent (attack), initiated by the Department of Education, seeks to ease compliance by permitting the results of an e-mail survey of the student body to demonstrate that interest among young women – the under-represented gender – is being satisfied. But even a well-constructed survey can at best be a partial answer. Such campus surveys are notoriously unreliable, especially when a lack of response is taken to be a negative response.
“The NCAA Executive Committee passed and publicized a resolution that clearly and strongly advised against the Department of Education approach. By and large, colleges and universities have not adopted that approach, but a few institutions have done so. It would be appropriate for those that have used the Department of Education’s survey to reconsider and reevaluate its means of complying with Title IX.
“It should not be the case that men’s participation opportunities are diminished to comply with Title IX. The best way to meet the requirements of Title IX is to increase opportunities for women.
“Specifically, I certainly hope no university cuts sports in order to comply with Title IX. There are always alternatives, and the NCAA staff is ready and able to work with an athletics department to identify acceptable alternatives to cutting sports.
“Despite financial pressures, an investment in intercollegiate athletics in order to assure proper compliance with Title IX is appropriate. Participation in athletics for young women, as it is for young men, provides opportunities for personal growth in terms of attitudes and experiences that lead to successful careers and citizenship. If we provide these opportunities for growth to young men, how can we, in good conscience, deny them to young women? Young women deserve all the opportunities afforded to young men.”


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