Quinnipiac Volleyball Players Testify in Title IX Lawsuit

quinn1Michael P. Mayko and MariAn Gail Brown of the Connecticut Post quoted me in an article about the Title IX lawsuit against Quinnipiac University concerning the school’s decision to drop women’s volleyball from its athletic program.  I was quoted on connection with the three prongs of the test for Title IX compliance:

Even if the number of men’s and women’s sports opportunities are in direct proportion to overall enrollment, to survive a Title IX claim, a university would “need to show a history and continuing practice of expanding opportunities for the underrepresented sex. The third element is that you fully and effectively accommodate the interests of the underrepresented sex,” Fitzgerald said.

The Court is currently hearing testimony in connection with the plaintiff’s injunction to stop Quinnipiac from eliminating the team while the case is pending. 

 Here is an interesting quote from one of the Quinnipiac players:

“When I found out I wasn’t going to have volleyball anymore, I told my mom my life was over,” testified Kayla Lawler, who was given a four-year athletic scholarship last fall to come to Quinnipiac. Now Lawler is hoping to find another school where she can play.

She said her chances of transferring to another school that would provide a scholarship to play volleyball are close to impossible because “it’s so late in the recruiting process” and they have made commitments to others.

Quinnipiac presented a compelling counterpoint to the plaintiff’s argument, as women’s volleyball was not the only sport eliminated.  In fact men’s golf and men’s track were also eliminated and competitive cheerleading was added as a varsity sport.

The issue of Lawler and any Quinnipiac player passing on opportunities at other schools to attend Quinnipiac,  only to learn that the program will be cut is compelling.  Also, it is emblematic of a larger issue: student-athletes making their college choice based on athletics.  (See previous post “Should Memphis Recruits Be Allowed to Follow Calipari?”).  Student-athletes, more so than coaches or universities, face considerable disadvantages when a program is cut or the coach who recruited them leaves.  For student-athletes, transferring to a comparable program can be difficult.  Other schools have set their rosters; scholarship and financial aid money has been allocated; and student-athletes may be forced to sit out for a year due to NCAA regulations.

Comments

  1. Daniel,
    I saw your comments in the article and I was a little worried that the public might misinterpret the three-prong test based on your comments–or on how the reporter presented them anyway.
    As I am sure you know, the three-prong test only requires schools to meet one of the three standards in just one of the areas Title IX covers (opportunities). QU has, by eliminating volleyball, automatically made itself noncompliant with prongs two and three. It cannot show a history of expansion when it just cut a women’s team. And it cannot prove it is meeting the interests and abilities of its female students where there are clearly women on campus who can and do want to play volleyball. And last I checked the numbers, they were not near proportionality.
    As for the addition of cheerleading, well it’s not a sport sanctioned by the NCAA; it does not have a national championship (governed by the NCAA). I believe this is the angle the ACLU will take if pressed about the addition of cheerleading. It is hard to justify cutting a sport like volleyball in favor of an activity OCR generally considers to be an extracurricular activity and that the NCAA does not even have on its list of emerging sports.
    It’s a very interesting case, and I suspect it will be precedent setting.

    • The University of Maryland has competitive cheer that counts toward Title IX. The OCR was consulted prior to the decision. It receives the same benefits that are afforded to any other student-athlete, including scholarships, academic advisors, strength coaches, on-site trainers, locker rooms and media training.

Trackbacks

  1. […] most commonly associated with collegiate athletics, such as the recent lawsuit against Quinnipiac, Title IX also applies to high school athletics, not to mention activities beyond athletics.  […]

  2. […] Quinnipiac Volleyball Players Testify in Title IX Lawsuit […]

  3. […] Quinnipiac Volleyball Players Testify in Title IX Lawsuit […]

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