I read an article yesterday on the success of Kent State University sports, in terms of both results and fundraising. The article described the success as follows:
Golden Flashes baseball advanced to the College World Series, [men's] golf finished tied for fifth in the nation, wrestling was ranked at No. 13 in the nation, men’s basketball topped 20 wins for the 13th time in the last 14 seasons, and the football team is going to a bowl game for the first time in 40 years.
Those teams not only carried the Kent State brand into the national spotlight, but they helped athletic director Joel Nielsen generate over $3.5-million in fundraising for Kent football and baseball alone, most of it over the past 12 months. Fundraising for the other programs remains high as well.
As I read this piece, I wondered about women’s sports as all the above sports involve male athletes. The article did mention both the men’s and women’s golf teams flying around the country to compete, and it did note the renovation of the men’s and women’s basketball offices. However, the focus of the piece was on football, wrestling, and baseball, sports with no female counterparts that would naturally share the wealth. Thus, I wonder how the donations the successful men’s sports garner are being distributed so as to fulfill the demands of Title IX. Nielsen talks of using fundraising to enhance the football program:
“When we arrived, we talked a lot about what it would take to have football success,” Nielsen said. “One of the things we looked at was that we were poorly resourced in football, primarily with our people. President (Lester) Lefton gave us the green light to go out there and talk to football donors, talk to people who wanted to see football be successful. We had about 20 people step up that first year, some significantly. That allowed us to pay some competitive salaries.
I wonder how the school has gone about maintaining equity with women’s sports. I jokingly wonder if the solution might be found in today’s piece on April Goss a walk-on kicker for the football team. If she is going to the bowl game and dresses with the rest of the team, that could make it so the football team is no longer a men’s sport but a co-ed sport. But I do not think that really works for Title IX.