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The New York Times has begun an investigation in Title IX compliance on campus with a look at how athletic departments fudge their numbers to stay within the letter, if not the spirit of the law.Because Title IX requires that the ratio of female-to-male athletes be roughly equally to the population of the school, teams often have to jump through giant loopholes to stay compliant.
- Texas A&M’s National Champion women’s basketball team has 32 counted players. 14 of them are actually men.
- South Florida’s cross country team has 71 listed runners! Only 28 of them actually competed in a race and some were not even aware they were on team.
- Some schools force runners join the cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track teams, so they can be counted three times.
- UC-Irvine women’s indoor track team competed in one meet a year and some women on the roster insisted they were not the team.
Most of these practices are not illegal, per se. Anyone who practices with a women’s team can be counted on the roster, even if they’re male, and women can be counted multiple times by appearing on two different squads.
The numbers wouldn’t hold up under the scrutiny of a full civil rights investigation, but those rarely happen and reporting attractive figures can keep investigators away.
The problem, of course, is football. Division I teams are allowed 85 football scholarships and many big programs include walk-on and practice players that swell their ranks to over 110. And at almost every school, it’s football that pays the bills.
So when it comes time to balance the rosters, it becomes nearly impossible to field enough women’s teams to match up. It’s also easier and cheaper to mess with existing rosters then it is to start a whole new team. (Especially one that only nets you a dozen new spots or so.)
So lesser men’s squads are gutted and women’s teams are manipulated to balance the figures.