A rower’s perspective on Title IX

Boreen shouldn’t take out his misinformed hostility on the people Title IX protects.

This is in response to the April 24 guest column “Title IX needs change” by Christopher Boreen.

Thank you, Mr. Boreen, for pointing out that the University Athletics Department is not a professional sports league. That’s right, folks, we do attend a public university, a NONprofit organization designed to educate in all aspects of life: intellectually and physically.

Yes, 17,000 young men have lost athletic opportunities. Hey, at least they’ve had it in the first place, buddy. How many of your fathers and grandfathers played collegiate sports in their youth? How many of your collegiate mothers? There has been a net gain of more than 150,000 collegiate athletic opportunities for women because of Title IX, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

I have a bone to pick. Yes, the men’s rowing team practices out of a metal shed and works out in the basement of Peik Hall. It sucks. Props to them for overcoming adversity. Now you say “the women’s team gets to practice in varsity-caliber facilities.” What “varsity-caliber facilities”?

Please enlighten me, Mr. Boreen. Are you talking about our glorified hallway in Mariucci Arena that is our winter “home,” but only when the hockey players aren’t there? Or are you talking about our canvas tent below the coal facilities (that only exists half the year because of snowfall) that requires jumping over fences and railroad cars to reach, but only by groups at 6 a.m. because it’s too dangerous to walk alone? Or are you talking about the single-wide construction trailer that 60 athletes have to warm up in after coming off the water soaking wet from river water and sweat in 25-degree weather?

Am I missing something here, Mr. Boreen? I’m pretty darn sure the men at least have a metal roof over their equipment, where we have the open sky over ours. We’re out on the water three weeks later than the men in the fall and six weeks earlier in the spring with nothing more than our long spandex and elevated heart rates to ward off hypothermia. The Big Ten is one of the toughest Division I rowing conferences in the nation, and the current women’s facilities couldn’t compete with a majority of Division III programs.

Boreen mentions allocating funds where they belong based on profits? That would mean getting rid of every varsity sport except football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s hockey. His proposal would eliminate even more men’s athletic opportunities than there already have been. Title IX was intended to level the playing field or both genders in federally funded educational establishments, not just athletic departments. Boreen shouldn’t take out his misinformed hostility on those that have been afforded opportunities that should have been there in the first place. He shouldn’t fault the University for providing and caring for the welfare of all of its athletes. He should be writing letters to schools who have not cared enough about their athletes to interpret Title IX correctly instead of whining about and belittling the hard work and achievements of the athletes in “nonprofit” sports.

Tina Cho is a University student and member of the rowing team. Please send comments to [email protected].com.