Roster Management Practice Questioned
The mention of Title IX results in different reactions from different people. I’ve always found myself at somewhat of a cross roads with Title IX. I have been active in the wrestling community most of my life and have seen opportunities eliminated in that sport. I am also a female who greatly benefited from Title IX. Along comes the Quinnipiac injunction, and Title IX has become a national issue once again.
On May 22, 2009 a federal judge issued an injunction preventing Quinnipiac from dropping its women’s volleyball program or any other female opportunities. The ACLU of Connecticut has taken on the case for the women’s volleyball student-athletes and coaches. Expect this case to get more and more interesting as it unfolds and moves forward in the judicial process. During the hearing last week, it came to light that Quinnipiac set roster minimums (floors) for its women’s sports and roster maximums (ceilings) for its men’s sports. This has become common practice nationally in order to ensure compliance with the proportionality prong of Title IX. However, what makes the Quinnipiac case interesting is that beyond these roster management numbers they were allowing men’s sports to cut student-athletes prior to the first competition and then add them back after that competition, and on the women’s side, coaches were carrying their minimums through the first competition without equipment or uniforms and then most of the women who were not allowed to travel or have uniforms and equipment would quit.Technically, participation is measured by the number of student-athletes on a roster as of the first competition. If they quit or are cut prior to the first contest, they don’t count, and if they’re added after the first contest, they technically don’t count. However, can a school really consider someone cut if they’re only off the roster for a week? Can a school really think they’re providing someone with an opportunity if they’re not giving them any equipment or uniforms? Managing Title IX, like any other law, is about managing liability. You always have to ask the question, if someone raised the question, do we believe we can defend our position? I would love to have been a fly on the wall during that conversation. Title IX is not about technicalities, it’s about the spirit of the law. I have to believe that Quinnipiac will have a difficult time defending its roster management practices as this case moves forward.
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