Deceptive Roster Management Threatens Integrity of Title IX
A recent New York Times article, “College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equity,” highlights roster manipulation, a disturbing practice utilized by colleges and universities across the country to comply with Title IX. In order to achieve parity in the number of male and female participation opportunities, institutions are engaging in deceptive practices such as counting male practice players as female participants, triple counting female track/cross country athletes who do not participate on all three teams and allowing underqualified walk-on athletes to participate on women’s teams to pad rosters.
Strictly speaking, some of these practices are not against the law nor do they violate the reporting procedures outlined by Title IX. However, these practices are concerning because they undermine the intent of Title IX, which is to provide equal access to opportunities for male and female students. Institutions that deliberately manipulate athletic rosters to inaccurately reflect the actual number of participation opportunities for female students threaten the integrity of Title IX.
We hope that institutions realize that engaging in dishonest reporting practices not only threatens equal access, but also sends the wrong message to students. Providing misleading information in order to satisfy the requirements of a federal law is not the type of behavior that we want our students to mirror. In addition, increasing gender diversity is an integral component in enhancing the collegiate experience for all students, male and female alike. We encourage institutions to maintain a commitment to expanding opportunities for female student-athletes in ways that truly benefit female students and adhere to the basic tenets of Title IX. Together, we can protect the intent of Title IX and continue to expand meaningful opportunities for all student-athletes.
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