College NCAA

Adding Men’s Lacrosse? Not So Fast

Lauren Dykstra_4425

Editor’s Note: After reading a recent Lax All Stars blog titled “Who Will Add D1 Lacrosse Next?” and the follow up post “Responding To Criticism From The Growth Blog“, Tony Lowe of Elev8 Sports Institute got to thinking of the reasons why big time sport schools, like Florida State and University of Florida, have not ventured into Men’s Lacrosse, while schools like Boston University, Richmond, Furman, Marquette, and Jacksonville have.

The full answer is actually quite complicated, but in my opinion, the root cause and dominating issue surrounding the current expansion model is Title IX.

For those unaware of Title IX, it’s a portion of the Education Amendments enacted in 1972 stating that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance…

Now, many of the lacrosse players reading this blog may not know a world where women are discriminated against and denied equal opportunities in education or sports. The reason that they don’t know about that time is because of Title IX’s many successes. Lately, Title IX has been in the news quite a bit again as ESPN celebrated 40 years of Title IX, and recently began airing a variation of their 30 for 30 documentaries, called “9 for IX.”

While Title X has been very beneficial in the quest for equal rights in education, like almost any overarching legislation, it has also caused some problems. Here is where it relates to Lacrosse:

When Title IX states that all “education programs or activities” should be equal and not denied on the basis of sex, that means, in the world of college sports, that you basically have to have as many Women’s sports as Men’s, or at least be working towards that goal of equal opportunity. There have been many different interpretations, but most sports, including Lacrosse, have Men’s and Women’s versions. Soccer, Volleyball, Track and Field, Tennis and Swimming all offer Women’s and Men’s versions as well. Baseball has Softball.

The issue, at the end of the day, is often the fact that Football has no women’s sport to truly offset it as a men’s sport. Field Hockey is not even close in terms of numbers of players, or expenses. If a school has football, they are often times pushed by some portions of Title IX to add a sport on the women’s side, or find a better balance, especially if they plan on adding new sports.

For schools like Boston University, and Marquette, who each added Division 1 Men’s Lacrosse recently, the solution is simple: they don’t have football programs. Furman has Women’s Volleyball but not Men’s. A Furman grad informed me that they also got a large donation that stipulated lacrosse had to be added as part of the donation. Their President is also a pr0-lacrosse guy coming from Yale and W&L. It seems like Title IX may not have played a role at this smaller school for those reasons. Of course then we look at Richmond, which has 7 sport for men, and 9 sports for women, and it seems like a potentially different situation. Jacksonville University has added Women’s Sand Volleyball to offset their football program to some degree.

As for the two Florida school mentioned earlier, Florida State can add Men’s Lacrosse easier then University of Florida. FSU currently doesn’t have a varsity Women’s Lacrosse team so they could conceivably add Men’s and Women’s lacrosse to be compliant with Title IX. It would still be uneven, but a team for both sexes get us closer to equality. The University of Florida however, already has Women’s Lacrosse, so they would have to find another Women’s sport to add, if they truly wanted to consider adding men’s lacrosse.

No one can dispute the historic accomplishments of Title IX, but for men’s lacrosse, and other smaller sports intent on growing, it does have its flaws. Maybe the solution is to allow Football only as an exempted extra men’s sport, or to recognize cheerleading as a varsity sport. Maybe the solution for lacrosse growth is something else, and to focus on non-football schools. But until a new solution is proposed, Title IX will have a huge impact on the growth of BOTH men’s and women’s lacrosse, at the NCAA Division 1 level.

Check out more from Tony Lowe on Elev8 Institute’s blog!

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5 Comments

  • To Title IX has lost its use in todays world. When it was made women were fighting for rights and now women are close to being president. If anything add womens rugby as a offset to mens football. Its pretty cheap. No pads needed only a ball. I hope they look to redo title IX a lil to stop hurting smaller sports, mainly LACROSSE!!!

  • Title IX still has it’s place. Does the title require a set number of places be available to men and women or that an equal number of sports be available? if it’s places then there’s how many players on a US football team? thats gotta be worth more than the 12-20 on field+subs you get from womens lax, as well as probably 2 more sports(in europe it would anyway). would a full squad of cheerleaders make up for a College football team? that seems like the easiest way to even out numbers as the 2 sports are closely related anyway.

  • Something that I have always been confused about is the actual inner workings of Title IX. I commonly hear that there must be an equal number of men and women sports at a school but I keep on finding this to not be true and it is more based on scholarships. At OSU where I attended there are 7 men’s sports and 10 women’s sports but in my time on campus I never heard anyone complaining about there being more womens sports then mens. The same is for UofO who recently added men’s baseball, having 7 men’s sports and 10 women’s sports. Even at FSU a school mentioned in the article has 8 men’s sports and 10 women’s. I constantly see articles such as this one that try to compare the number of mens and womens sports at schools but this is obviously not how Title IX works. I would love to see an article written by someone who did their research and actually stated how Title IX is really affected the growth of lacrosse and not just complaining about how a women’s sport must be added for men’s lacrosse team to also be added.

  • Something that I have always been confused about is the actual inner workings of Title IX. I commonly hear that there must be an equal number of men and women sports at a school but I keep on finding this to not be true and it is more based on scholarships. At OSU where I attended there are 7 men’s sports and 10 women’s sports but in my time on campus I never heard anyone complaining about there being more womens sports then mens. The same is for UofO who recently added men’s baseball, having 7 men’s sports and 10 women’s sports. Even at FSU a school mentioned in the article has 8 men’s sports and 10 women’s. I constantly see articles such as this one that try to compare the number of mens and womens sports at schools but this is obviously not how Title IX works. I would love to see an article written by someone who did their research and actually stated how Title IX is really affected the growth of lacrosse and not just complaining about how a women’s sport must be added for men’s lacrosse team to also be added.

    this is a really interesting point that you bring up
    the NCAA wants gender “equality” but then they don’t care if there are less men sports than women’s. It might be because of the scholarship thing you brought up, it may be because the NCAA doesn’t care, or maybe it’s because for title IX there just has to be more women’s than men’s?

  • Why so much confusion about Title IX? Just do a little online research. A couple important points…

    1. Title IX is not an NCAA rule. It’s federal legislation. The NCAA isn’t forcing gender equity. The government is. The NCAA has almost nothing to do with it.

    2. Title IX is not about sports. It covers all education that receives any federal funding. It is much more about equal opportunity in education. How it effects college sports is just a minor byproduct. That’s partly why it is so hard to change.

    If you want to change Title IX there’s only one way to do it. Elect people (congress, senate, president, etc) who want to change it. Good luck finding a politician who feels that strongly about it and is willing to make it part of a platform.

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