Women’s sports are, contrary to much commentary, *not* the cause, in the typical case, of the elimination of men’s sports. That can be a convenient excuse for university administrators who are looking to cut budgets or axe a program popular with alums but that is bleeding the institution (like Boston University football in the 1990s).
College sports bigwigs are spending a lot of time these days warning that if football and men’s basketball players get to start sharing more fully in the revenue that their labor produces, it will have “Title IX” implications, because Title IX, they imply, requires exact parity in spending between men’s and women’s sports. This is false. Instead, the government applies a three-pronged test that gives schools much more flexibility than Title-IX bashers typically acknowledge. As the WSF explains, there are significantly more male collegiate athletes than female ones and a substantial disparity in spending on men’s and women’s athletic scholarships (and that doesn’t account for the much wider gulfs between men’s and women’s sports when it comes to coaches’ salaries and facilities).
These are mainly just scare tactics. As Jay Bilas has said, schools will have choices. If they choose to cut women’s sports, it won’t be because they were forced to. They will simply have prioritized huge coaching salaries and palatial facilities over athletic opportunities in sports that don’t generate significant revenue. The changing legal landscape will, without question, force some institutions to think differently about how they allocate resources and opportunities. But Title IX isn’t shutting down any successful football program. And the richer-than-ever big-time sports machine can find the money, if they wish, for sports that don’t draw millions of TV viewers, but do achieve what the NCAA claims is its primary purpose – to provide great educational and life opportunities for its participants.
Read the whole primer (linked at the top).