College Sports Council asks James Madison Univ to Play Fair

By Eric Pearson | Jan. 11, 2007, 5:20 p.m. (ET)
January 11, 2007

CSC asks JMU to 'Play Fair'

On Friday, January 12, members of James Madison University's (JMU) Board of Visitors (BOV) will revisit their September 2006 decision to eliminate 10 sports teams in order to comply with Title IX's proportionality requirement. JMU's athletes and campus leaders have asked the administration to postpone the fateful day until 2010, so that students currently enrolled at JMU can finish their athletic careers without needing to transfer.

There is no doubt that Title IX's proportionality regulation is unreasonable and unfair. It creates an inflexible gender quota system that forces schools to apply numerical limits on men's sports teams. Unfortunately, JMU has joined other schools across the country that are dropping teams as they feel increasing pressure to comply with the gender quota. However, many of those schools have granted the very reprieve to their athletes that the JMU students have requested, so the proposal to keep the teams in play until 2010 is not without precedent.

JMU should do what is right - allow the students the full benefit of their athletic experience. Postpone the elimination until 2010, and in the meantime, the College Sports Council and its national coalition of reformers will work to end the gender quota and save the teams. Title IX's gender quota is unreasonable and unfair. This is an opportunity for the BOV to demonstrate to everyone that the individuals who lead JMU are themselves reasonable and fair, by letting the teams play out to 2010. The CSC asks the BOV to play fair, don't blow the whistle on the athletes before their game is over.

Eric Pearson
College Sports Council

This letter was also submitted to the newspaper in Harrisonburg, Va.