By Laura Pappano
That is, coaches manipulated rosters to meet Title IX requirements with men’s teams dropping players (and women’s teams padding rosters with players who wouldn’t get uniforms, equipment, playing time, or be able to travel with the team) in time for the school to submit required reports to the U.S. Department of Education showing they met gender equity rules.
Quinnipiac, like many colleges, chooses to demonstrate compliance with Title IX by meeting the proportionality prong of regulations. This means that the percentage of males and females in the student body must be reflected in the percentages of male and female athletes.
Increasingly, schools have used “roster management” as a tool to do this, meaning they will set target roster sizes for each sport to make numbers add up. This approach – we are hearing – is vulnerable to cheating.
Quinnipiac softball coach Germaine Fairchild, testified that she had been ordered to carry 25 players on her roster when she would normally have 17 to 19. Because these additional players were essentially only for compliance purposes (she did not receive extra budget to support their participation), most of them quit and by spring she could trim her roster to a manageable and appropriate 17.
“The number of female athletes receiving actual benefits was 17, not 26,” she testified, according to news reports.
Such manipulation of roster slots is outrageous – but likely not new and not limited to Quinnipiac University.
Unfortunately, the DOE collects, but doesn’t scrutinize the data it demands (or apparently care if it looks different from the NCAA numbers). This is a matter that needs attention – otherwise all the happy talk about the “benefits of Title IX” are merely camouflage for old-style gender bias.