Men’s varsity soccer team not in the administration’s plans

Navigating the poor dirt road that leads from Cleveland Avenue to the University of MinnesotaâÄôs recreational soccer fields can be a treacherous journey filled with sloppy, rain-soaked potholes. Though the road is poorly maintained and can be difficult to navigate at times, the fields themselves are another story, University club soccer President Ben Bykowski said. And so far, having the opportunity to play and practice on the well taken care of fields has translated into wins. The team has performed well this year, beating a variety of local opponents, with much thanks to some very talented players. In the state of Minnesota, Merrick said, âÄúsoccer is the most popular sport from a participation standpoint for male athletes.âÄù He said he would like to see the club team evolve into a varsity program, but isnâÄôt very optimistic. âÄúItâÄôs unfortunate that thatâÄôs not going to happen,âÄù he said. The Title IX story Title IX legislation was introduced as part of a federal statute in 1972 and went into regulation in 1975. Originally intended to address sex discrimination in educational programs, Title IXâÄôs role was eventually expanded to include athletics as well. âÄúIf we did not have Title IX opportunities in higher education may be different than it is now,âÄù said Dr. Jim Turman, director of the UniversityâÄôs department of recreational sports. According to Title IX, the ratio of male and female student athletes must be proportionate to the ratio of male and female students at an institution, Regina Sullivan, the UniversityâÄôs senior woman administrator said. Translated to real numbers, this means that a school with a student body composed of 50 percent female students and 50 percent male students must also consist of 50 percent female athletes to 50 percent male athletes. âÄúTitle IX is a fabulous law that has done tremendous things for providing opportunities for women, demonstrating to women and men what women can do athletically,âÄù she said. However, Title IXâÄôs relationship toward the UniversityâÄôs club soccer program outlines a modern complaint against the legislation. The UniversityâÄôs 2008 first-year class was composed of 55.3 percent female students while male students only comprised 44.7 percent of the incoming class, according to University freshman class surveys. Critics contend that Title IX only focuses on the raw numbers, and schools where there are far more women than there are men find athletic opportunities tilted disproportionately in favor of women. Sullivan likened the situation to a family that invests money in a sonâÄôs athletic experience then is forced to consider its position when it has a daughter. The choices presented are, essentially, to devote all the resources to one child or find some way to divide the pie. âÄúIn some cases with a limited amount of resources institutions found a way to share,âÄù Sullivan said. âÄúDoes that result in some adjustments in how they allocated resources? Yes, it did. Was that to the benefit of the whole? In my mind, yes.âÄù In âÄòthe foreseeable future âĦ âÄô The question remains: Will we ever see a menâÄôs varsity soccer program? If it ever added the program, the University might have to look into adding another womenâÄôs program as well in order to remain in compliance with Title IX. âÄúWe are aware that boys soccer at the high school level in Minnesota is very popular,âÄù Sullivan said. âÄúWeâÄôre not in a position financially at this point to look at adding another sports team.âÄù The University holds Title IX compliance as a top priority, Turman said. âÄúAdding an additional menâÄôs sport at this time would violate federal law,âÄù he said. âÄúI donâÄôt think thatâÄôs going to be likely in the foreseeable future.âÄù