Responding to yesterday’s post urging James Madison University to survey its students before implementing its plan to cut ten athletic teams in order to comply with Title IX, I got a call from JMU Spokesman Andy Perrine. In defense of his university, he pointed out that JMU couldn’t use the student survey because there are two women’s club teams on campus that have expressed interest in becoming variety teams. The survey as it is now constructed would obligate JMU to add those teams — and ignore any unfulfilled interests on the part of men on campus.
This raises a critical point for all of us arguing for using actual student interest instead of quotas to comply with Title IX: any student survey should be directed at both men and women, and the resulting obligation on the part of universities should be to fill the interests of both sexes to an equivalent degree, not just attend to the women and ignore the men.
And contrary to those who are arguing that the JMU cuts were financially motivated , Perrine confirmed that “we wouldn’t have done this if it weren’t for Title IX.” All JMU sports are in the black. And every penny they save from the cuts is being put back into — you guessed it — women’s sports.