Contact: Eric McErlain
April 20, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 20, 2010 - The College Sports Council denounced an effort by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to undermine student interest surveys as a way to comply with Title IX. The decision by the OCR comes just weeks after the US Commission on Civil Rights issued a report calling for Title IX reform, including surveys.
At a time when the US Commission on Civil Rights is calling for reform of Title IX, this is a step backwards for everyone that cares about fairness in athletics, said Jessica Gavora, the College Sports Council's Vice President for Policy. In 2007, Gavora testified before the Commission and urged that the model survey be more widely adopted.
Students, women and men alike, are more than capable of expressing their interests, and especially when it comes to extracurricular activities on campus their voices should be heard, Gavora said.
Ever since the Cohen v. Brown decision in 1995, schools have understood that sticking with the proportionality gender quota would make them safe from lawsuits. The 2005 clarification offered for the first time a model survey that schools could use to comply with Title IX by measuring the interest of their students.
This reform rollback by the Obama Administration is a gift to the trial lawyers' lobby and will mean that more sports teams will be eliminated like at Duquesne University where 4 men's teams were recently terminated, said CSC President, Leo Kocher.
Surveys can give the students a voice in the decision making process of sports sponsorship. It appears that the Obama Administration has yielded to pressure from the NCAA and gender quota advocates in weakening the value of student interest surveys for Title IX compliance, said CSC Chairman Eric Pearson.
Instead of working with students to demonstrate how model surveys could work for everyone, the NCAA has actively undermined their use in order to silence the voice of the students, much as a majority of NCAA administrators tried to prevent Women's Sand Volleyball from obtaining official designation as an emerging sport, Pearson said.
The College Sports Council is a national coalition of coaches, parents, athletes and alumni.
Additional Background: www.collegesportscouncil.org
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