U strives to balance aid in women’s, men’s sports

Dylan Thomas

University female athletes might not be receiving equal scholarship opportunities, a women’s law group announced last week.

The National Women’s Law Center, in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Title IX Education Amendments, named the University in a list of 30 institutions that failed to award female athletes their “fair share” of athletics scholarships.

But University officials said the University is in compliance with Title IX, which forbids sexual discrimination at institutions that receive federal funding. They said the University is phasing in some scholarships for women’s sports and said female athletes will soon receive a proportionate number of scholarships.

Part of that process includes the addition of women’s rowing to University athletics, said University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg.

Title IX allows new scholarships to be phased in over a four-year period. The University is in the process of awarding the maximum number of scholarships for women’s rowing.

Regina Sullivan, senior assistant athletics director, said the University is in the second year of the transition process. The women’s rowing team will use all 20 of its available scholarships by the 2003-04 school year, she said.

Wendy Davis, coach of the women’s rowing team, said she doesn’t think the University is being unfair to women’s athletics.

“The ‘U’ has been trying to do this in good faith,” Davis said. “(The scholarship money) is available for us as soon as we bring our numbers up.”

According to National Collegiate Athletic Association guidelines, the maximum number of full and partial scholarships for all men’s athletics teams combined was 172.2 for the 2001-02 school year. The men’s athletics department uses 96 percent of its countable athletics aid, with a total of 165.62 scholarships.

Women’s athletics awards 81 percent of its available scholarships, with 119.64 of 147 scholarships in use.

Rowing currently allows the most scholarships of any University women’s athletics team.

Davis said the University is working to balance athletics aid.

“We’re just a little bit behind the timeline,” Davis said.