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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Tuesday, January 28, 2003
1:21 PM

I tire of repeating the same explanations about the foulups in Title IX enforcement, but unfortunately the Post doesn't tire of repeating misleading defenses of it. In Sally Jenkins' column last Saturday, football programs are identified as one of the big scourges. Jenkins:

The chief difficulty with Title IX compliance is not social, or legal, but economic: Bloated athletic department budgets of $40 million and up, spiraling deficits, and excessive numbers of football scholarships make it financially impossible to achieve gender parity without cutting something, so athletic directors cut men's wrestling

So I return to this observation by Jessica Gavora from last summer:

Using data from the 1996-97 academic year, University of Arizona economics professor R. Bruce Billings calculated that Division I-A football programs on average earn 43 percent of all sports revenues and incur 26 percent of total sports costs. The same analysis shows that the number two revenue-producing sport, men's basketball, earns 16.1 percent of average total revenues while incurring 7.5 percent of average total costs. These revenues over expenses go back into the system to fund other programs.

Feminists decry the high costs of big-time football programs as if they were robbing the budgets of women's sports. In fact, according to an analysis done by the Chronicle of Higher Education, it is the "have" schools, whose budgets are bursting with "tainted" profits from football and men's basketball, that do the best job of providing opportunities and spending for women's athletes.

The schools that belong to what the Chronicle calls the "equity" conferences with big-time football and basketball television contracts and bowl games--the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific-10 and Southeastern conferences--are those that field the largest and most diverse women's sports programs."

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