Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gender Equity Causing Anxiety in College Ranks Some Schools Dropping Men's Teams While Adding Women's

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gender Equity Causing Anxiety in College Ranks Some Schools Dropping Men's Teams While Adding Women's

Article excerpt

In a bittersweet irony for soccer enthusiasts, the sport is growing and contracting at the same time on the college level.

While more and more colleges are adding women's soccer as a relatively inexpensive way to meet gender equity requirements, some schools also are giving the boot to men's soccer for the same reason.

On March 24, Illinois State became the third NCAA Division I school to drop men's soccer in the past eight months. North Texas and Central Michigan had bailed out earlier.

Illinois State and North Texas are adding women's soccer as part of their effort to comply with Title IX of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1972. The Redbirds also discontinued wrestling and increased financing to three women's sports and one men's.

Soccer coaches, as well as coaches in several other so-called "non-revenue-producing" college sports, are concerned that they are bearing the burden of creating athletic opportunities for women.

The National Soccer Coaches Association of America issued a position paper recently in which it said it "firmly supports Title IX and the creation of more opportunities for girls and women. But it believes those should not be created by reducing or eliminating participation opportunities for boys and men."

The position paper was part of the NSCAA's response to Wednesday's House subcommittee hearing on the impact of Title IX.

Illinois State had fielded a men's soccer team since 1978. Tim Carter, Redbirds coach since 1984, said he was well into one of his most successful recruiting years when he got the word.

"I never smelled this coming at all," he said. "I had no clue. Every year, our operating budget had been a little better and we had done more, been competitive. . . . We had represented the university with distinction."

Carter fears more men's soccer programs will be sacrificed if administrators don't change their criteria for evaluating compliance with Title IX. …

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