September 30, 2006 at 1:42 pm #5601
HARRISONBURG — James Madison University's Board of Visitors voted today to approve a plan to bring the JMU Athletics program into compliance with Title IX.
The plan will take effect July 1, 2007, when the following varsity teams will be eliminated:
Jeff Bourne, JMU athletics director, said, “We explored every avenue in search of an alternative to this action. Lamar Daniel, a well-known consultant on Title IX compliance, has worked closely with us and he believes that this plan is our most viable alternative for reaching compliance with Title IX.”
To me, this seems like the primary focus was budget cutting with a secondary thought of Title IX compliance. If the only focus was Title IX compliance, why would they cut women's sports? Why wouldn't they just cut a few men's programs or decrease their rosters and add women's programs? At the very least, why not cut fewer men's programs and no women's programs?
September 30, 2006 at 3:24 pm #21681
So, from 1972, when Title IX was first implemented, until now JMU has not been in compliance? Wow. It seems that this stems essentially from budget reasons, the AD had to eliminate X number of scholarships (and salaries, equipment, travel spending), period, and the reason that the elimination appeared to be so unbalanced between the genders was because the number of scholarships offered between the genders had been (from how this cut makes it appear) significantly unbalanced for years (decades?!) in favor of males, especially when one considers the budget needed to fund the women's sports which are being eliminated and that needed for all those men's sports. If it was solely (or even chiefly) about Title IX, then why were there also cuts of women's sports? Blaming Title IX is a cop-out, what is really behind the cuts is that the university/AD failed to raise the funds to maintain the scholarships, staff, equipment, and travel to keep those varsity sports on campus — or, that JMU is not fortunate enough to be affiliated with one of the BCS/men's basketball power conferences and so misses out on that level of funding. This type of thing has been happening at quite a few institutions which are non-BCS programs in the past several years and it will no doubt continue to happen.
October 3, 2006 at 6:16 am #21682
October 3, 2006 at 12:07 pm #21684
Twelve times as many students – 4,065 – took in each Dukes football game at Bridgeforth Stadium that year, but without the aid of student-fee subsidies, Mickey Matthews’ Division I-AA team operated at a deficit of nearly $2 million.
Hmm, and I'm always hearing about how football programs pay the way for the rest of the sports. Maybe not. The truth is I pretty much knew this already. Outside of a relative handful of large division 1 schools, the football team is the biggest money pit in a school's athletic program. Sure, it brings in more money than the other sports but it costs so much that its total budget makes it the biggest money pit on campus at nearly every campus in the country.
October 3, 2006 at 2:59 pm #21685
October 4, 2006 at 2:39 am #21687
Well, I usually hear it another way, at least from one of the smartest sportswriters in the game, John Feinstein. To hear him tell it, for most DI athletic departments it is basketball that is the big money gainer. Schools that get into the NCAA Tournament in March, not to mention advance deep into the bracket, get a rather significant payday and – I believe – (unequal) shares go to each school in the conference with which that school is affiliated. Plus there is good money from being on national or even regional telecasts several times a season, which is a definite reality for schools in the major conferences and even those in the mid-majors. For football, it is essentially only programs in BCS-aligned conferences that get any money as bowl money is distributed evenly among all the schools in the conference, but it is not enough to offset all the expense and often much of the bowl money is used to buy trinkets and toys for the members of the participating team. The only programs that make money from football are those with great television contracts (namely Notre Dame) and huge stadiums that they routinely fill, especially via season-ticket sales. The biggest of the bigs – Notre Dame, Michigan, Nebraska, and their ilk – are the only ones finding profit via football. All the rest – the Kansases, the Ball States, the Kentuckys, and the North Carolinas of the world – are not even one red cent in the black for the football program when taken by itself, and so many mortgage the opportunities they could provide in other varsity sports via their athletic departments just to chase the all-but-impossible BCS bowl bid. I learned long ago that the NCAA cares little for the fortunes of distance runners, among so many others, and that neither is the NCAA the lone cause nor is it really the solution to the current ills of the sport in the US. Regarding both of the articles linked above, I do agree that the JMU administration did indeed face a moral imperative, though it seems that few outside of the 4000-odd students (~25% of the student body) who actually go to the football games (where they are granted free 'admission') would really care if Linwood Rose did indeed gut the football program. Why put the interests of fans, whether proverbial raindrops or oceans, above those of the students, especially the student-athletes? Fans are nice, but for whom does the athletic department exist? If JMU's football team is indeed a viable 'marketing tool' then why have I heard of JMU previously yet never realized that JMU even had a football team until I read these articles? I fail to see how pumping so much dough into a truly mediocre football program will in any way benefit the fulfillment of the university's mission. The fact that JMU had offered so many varsity sports was indeed impressive, though, especially given the size of the athletic department's budget as well as the primary source of funding for that budget.
October 4, 2006 at 2:49 pm #21688
I would agree that basketball makes money for more schools than football does, if nothing else simply because it costs schools much less. Far fewer athletes which means fewer scholarships, fewer coaches, and less equipment would be only the obvious savings.
That said, if we are to consider how many schools are making money off of basketball compared to how many schools are out there in total, it's still a drop in the bucket. I actually doubt the JMU basketball team is making the school money, although it is probably costing the school much less than the football team, especially since the costs of things like an arena to play in and practice facilities can be split between the men's and women's teams.
The bottom line is that this was about much more than Title IX and they very likely didn't consider the total cost per athlete of the sports or the list of teams being cut would have looked very different.
October 7, 2006 at 8:46 pm #21689
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