Consultant: Title IX Progress Excellent
Efforts within the Division of Athletics to achieve compliance with Title IX - the 1972 federal regulations requiring colleges to offer male and female student-athletes opportunities, scholarships and amenities roughly equivalent to their proportion in a school's enrollment - have succeeded, according to a consultant and federal data collectors.
A report by Lamar Daniel, a national consultant in gender equity and sports management, praised UConn's work, noting that goals outlined for the third year of a five-year plan developed by the Division of Athletics in 1995 have been met and, in some cases, exceeded.
"The voluntary commitment to full compliance sets the University apart from the great majority of universities in Division I, and the openness of its actions makes it unique among intercollegiate institutions," Daniel said.
He also praised UConn for not eliminating any sport to achieve compliance, as some other institutions have done.
The consultant's observations were supported in a study of American colleges' and universities' compliance efforts reported in the April 7 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education. In the story and accompanying charts, UConn was listed as one of only 36 universities in the nation considered to be in compliance - defined as within one percentage point of complete equality - with the regulations.
Daniel said UConn' s new efforts should focus on "roster management," or tweaking the number of male and female participants and scholarship offers as needed, to remain in balance.
"We as a University have worked very hard to achieve compliance," said Lew Perkins, director of athletics. "Our student-athletes, male and female, enhance this University's sense of spirit and pride, and they radiate the qualities that the University as a whole puts forth. They in turn deserve the best experiences we can provide for them."
Perkins noted that, while achieving compliance, success on the fields has been enhanced: combined, UConn's 23 varsity teams last year had a winning record of 326-134 and one tie. At the same time, the academic achievements of the scholar-athletes have remained high.
Additionally, most of the costs incurred during the process were borne by the Division of Athletics.
Beginning in the 2000-01 academic year, the number of scholarships will increase, as women's ice hockey becomes UConn's 24th varsity sport. Inclusion of women's hockey, which is expected to field up to 25 athletes, will bring the male-female participation rate even more in line than has already been achieved, said Daniel. His report recorded 341 men and 294 women as participating in varsity programs; the hockey team will bring the women's numbers up to 319.
The football team's move from Division I-AA to Division I-A will not adversely affect UConn's compliance, Daniel and athletics division officials said. Since the five-year plan's inception in 1996, the football program has been listed as carrying 95 players - the maximum allowed a Division I-A program by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The approximately 22 extra awards allowed for Division I-A football programs will be phased in and essentially matched, as the women's hockey program phases in the 18 scholarships they will be allowed under NCAA regulations.
Additional scholarships also will be awarded to women who participate in several other sports that are not now fully funded. Since the Title IX plan was adopted by the Board of Trustees in February 1996, women's crew and women's lacrosse have been added to the roster of sports offered at UConn.
Besides achieving compliance with Title IX regulations regarding participation rates, scholarships, and budgetary matters, Daniel's report states that UConn men and women student-athletes are treated equally in all 11 areas that comprise Title IX legislation, including opportunities for pre- and post-season play; distribution of equipment and supplies; training staff and facilities; tutoring and academic support opportunities; number of games played and availability of practice facilities; and recruitment opportunities.