Somebody has to Pay,
The ever-changing face
of college athletics
may have changed
again after a lawsuit against
the University of Texas was
settled out of court in the
Summer of 1993.
Seven female students at UT filed the lawsuit, complaining that
there were unequal opportunities for women. The
hinging point was that
there were more athletic
scholarships for men
(mostly due to large football teams). They also contended that women's sports
were not getting a fair
A nation-wide argument ensued.
How could the
nation's 106 Division 1-A
schools comply if the federal statute named Title IX
was extended to dollar for
dollar gender equity, rather
than just the amount of
men's sports teams to
women's sports teams.
Title IX was a statute that prohibited gender
discrimination by educational institutions that received federal funds.
UT agreed to add
two new sports, women's
soccer and softball to make
a more equal number of
men's and women's scholarship opportunities.
The University of
Houston had an equal number of men's to women's
sports, but none of the
women's teams had the
same number of players as
the near 150 member football team (more than half
of those players were not
on scholarship, but that
they had the opportunity
to be on scholarship
seemed to be the point).
"It will affect everybody in the country," said
UH Athletic Director Bill
Carr. "Right now about 32
percent of our athletic
scholarships go to women,
but we will probably have
to add more women's
UH could not drop
men's teams to compensate. The NCAA required
competing Division I-A
schools to have seven
men's and seven women's
sports, and that was exactly
how many varsity sports
UH had. Extra men's sports,
such as tennis and swimming were cut during the
economic and administrative turmoil in the 1980's.
Football seemed to
skew everything, though.
Many schools would be
equal without the football
program, but football was
the biggest revenue sport
in the country, so most athletic directors cried foul
when cutting back on football was mentioned.
"If football is not
given any sort of consideration as being a unique
product of history, and it is
(equity), then football will
be destroyed, and I am adamantly opposed to that,"
"I want to see opportunities for athletes in
other sports and for female
student-athletes as well,"
said Carr. "But I don't want
to see that happen by the
destruction of football."
Football had a
larger-than-life quality that
made it a commercial success, Carr said, and it was
unlikely that any women's
could have that same financial impact now, but
that some, like volleyball
and basketball, could be
marketed so that they become revenue making
sports, and not just funded
According to federal
court rulings, just because
economic reasons made it
better to have a large football team, economic reasons were not a defense for
may mean that the role of
the walk-on or the redshirt
may end in collegiate football.
was to allow more scholarships in women's sports.
While a school may only
be allowed 16 women's
that could be changed to
While UH and other
schools weren't exactly
closing their doors just yet,
the significant changes
from the UT and other lawsuits would change the way
the collegiate game was
Women's track is the largest women's team at
the university, yet it doesn't have as many members as the men's team has. Unfortunately, no
scholarship figures were available at press time.
Houstonian file photo, (center)
1 he women's swim team still exists under the
coaching of Phil Hansel, but the men's team was
disolved in 1983 to save costs. Photo by Thomas
Nguyen, (lower left)
t ootball may have everything to look sad about.
Although it is the cash flow of most athletic
programs, it takes more atheletes to field a team
than any other sport. Most universities can't
afford to add a large women's team to compensate. Photo by Thomas Nguyen, (lower center)
1 he little seen Tennis Team doesn't raise any
revenue for the university. It is funded by profits
from football, men's basketball and student service fees. Houstonian file photo, (below}
Gender EquityMl 69