Charlotte 49ers athletics director Judy Rose says the changes ahead in college athletics – including those laid out by the U.S. District Court in August about the use of athletes’ name, likeness and image – raise a key equity question: What will this mean for Title IX?
“Nobody knows where Title IX fits in this,” Rose said. “I think we have a feeling that we know but no ruling has been sent down.”
Universities are bound by law – and the threat of losing federal funding – to give female athletes the same benefits and opportunities they give male athletes. If, according to Judge Claire Wilken’s ruling, 97 scholarship football players and men’s basketball players start receiving a $5,000 annual stipend for each year they participate, to be set aside in a trust – what about the women?
Nancy Hogshead-Makar, senior director of advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation, said the short answer is universities will be required to give out equal benefit to female athletes.
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“Whatever benefits get thrust towards the way of football players and men’s basketball players will similarly be given to probably 97 (women), assuming your athletic department is 50-50 male-female,” said Hogshead-Makar, a former Duke University swimmer and gold medalist at the 1984 Olympics.
One way schools comply with Title IX is by offering women’s sports based on the ratio of women’s student enrollment to men at the university, so not all athletic departments are 50-50.
Whether schools will designate 97 female athletes to receive the benefits, or divide it equally among all female athletes, athletics directors aren’t sure, but some, such as Kansas State’s John Currie, will pay both women and men.
“Judge Wilken’s ruling doesn’t apply to any other sport; it just applies to those two sports,” Currie said. “But we don’t operate in a world with just those two sports, so we will comply with the law.”