After reading the case study on page 367 of William F. Stier, Jr. (2004) Athletic Administration: Successful decision
making, risk taking, and problem solving; answer the questions for discussion questions on pages 368-9. Following is
the case study and questions from the textbook:
The Case of the Sneaky Title IX Compliance
The president of the university, Carmen Shepherd, had just concluded the meeting with her athletic director, Joshua
Janacanna, and felt pretty good about what she had set in motion. She had always been in favor of equal opportunities
for all people and especially when it came to women’s opportunities in this society. However, she also was keenly
aware that the AD was correct in that football was somewhat of a sacred cow on this campus and brought in a lot of
money from alumni and other fans. In fact, she owed her job to the two biggest football boosters at the university
who went to bat for her as an individual who understood the importance of football for this university as well as the
need for appropriate opportunities for women and men in sports. The fact that she, as president, was expected to
accomplish both, i.e., insure that football had all the resources that the coaches (and boosters) deemed necessary
and insure that the institution met the requirements of Title IX was not lost on the president. That is why she
smiled as the AD left her office.
The president had suggested to the AD that perhaps a sport might be added to the athletic offerings in an effort to
counterbalance the unevenness of male versus female athletes that currently existed. The fact that football had some
120 athletes and wrestling had another 20 athletes (so-called participatory slots) really hurt the proportionality
test. She had emphasized to the AD that if the university could find (and add) a woman’s sport(s) that had 140 female
athletes, this would help balance the male/female ratio that was one of the three key points in meeting the
requirements of Title IX, according to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). She hoped that the AD would interpret her
suggestions correctly and come back with the recommendation that she wanted. After all, she wanted the school to be
in legal compliance with Title IX and also wanted to insure that football was not touched in a negative way.
When Joshua got back to his office, he called his administrative staff and several coaches together and shared the
essence of his meeting with the president. Together, they all worked hard in several brainstorming sessions on the
subject of how to solve the Title IX challenge, especially the imbalance in the number of male and female athletes on
various teams. The result of this and several other subsequent meetings was the recommendation that rowing be added
as a woman’s sport, with some 140 slots for athletes. “The addition of rowing will – in one broad stroke – solve our
Title IX problem once and for all,” stated the athletic director. He added: “I knew immediately what the president
was hinting at when she suggested we find a team or teams that had the potential for a very, very large team roster.
Well, we found one, with rowing.”
One of the women (Jeannie Bumgarden, volleyball coach) in the group asked: “Yea, but aren’t we just stretching the
rules in reality? Are we really obeying the intent of Title IX with this 140-roster team? Why, what team has 140
athletes? Aren’t we just throwing out (adding) the 140 participatory slots so that we can say we have equal slots
(participation) for men and women? This move may meet the legal interpretation of the law, but, in my mind, such a
move doesn’t do anything for the intent of the legislation. To be blunt, this is just a sham.”
“No, this is a legitimate effort to add a sport and a large number of female athletes to the overall scheme of
things. The fact that our roster involves 140 females is just an added bonus. Besides, who says we can’t add a team
with a large roster. Rowing has to be attractive for us because it involves both fall and spring competitive seasons
coupled with winter rowers and light-weight rowers (less than 130 pounds). We could also further break down the 140
athletes into varsity and non-varsity teams. In this way we can meet the needs of a very large group of female
athletes and would-be or wannabe athletes (at a reasonable cost in terms of people power and money) while we also
solve the potential problem of appropriate participatory slots (Title IX),” chimed in the football coach.
“Yea, remember a few years back when the University of Wisconsin (Madison) initiated rowing and immediately solved
their Title IX problems,” reminded the women’s basketball coach, Carol Simmons. (Steinbach, 2002).
“Ok,” stated the athletic director, “lets get with it and work out the details so that I can get back to the
president with the recommendation that she really wanted in the first place. We should be able to satisfy everyone
with this plan of attack.”
Steinbach, P. (2002). Open Oar Policy, Athletic Business, 26(11), pp. 32, 34.
Questions for Discussion
1. Summarize the salient elements of this case.
2. Is it common for presidents of colleges and universities to feel pressure from outside groups or forces as
Dr. Shepherd felt in this situation? Elaborate.
3. Why does the president feel so strongly that football must be successful on this campus?
4. Is Dr. Shepherd being honest in her approach to solving the Title IX potential problem? Explain your
5. What are the three prongs or methods by which institutions can show that they are in compliance with Title
6. In your opinion, did the athletic director approach his challenge appropriately when he returned to his
office? Why or why not?
7. Is the addition of a single women’s sport that involves such a large number of athletes (140) legitimate in
terms of meeting the proportionality test of Title IX? Explain your rationale.
8. Why can’t schools just add more roster slots (participatory slots) to a women’s sport (for example, increase
women’s basketball to 55 instead of the normal 12-16 athletes) in an effort to increase slots for women?
9. What makes this situation in which 140 slots are added for rowing more acceptable than merely increasing the
basketball roster for women from 15 or 16 to 55? Be specific.
10. Is the president, as well as the athletic director, acting in good faith (following the intent as well as the
letter of the law of Title IX) by proceeding as described above? Justify your position.
11. Are the volleyball coaches’ statements accurate or is she off base? Elaborate.
12. What general administrative principles or managerial guidelines are applicable here?
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