Title IX helps RCC equality

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By Vanessa Overbeck

By Vanessa Overbeck

RCC is working to address the needs of student athletes by meeting the requirements of Title IX. Under Title IX, RCC must provide equal benefits, opportunities, and treatments to men and women athletes. According to the law, the college must provide the same quality and quantity in all areas of athletics to men and women from equipment to traveling to recruitment.

Eighteen years ago, when Linda Lacy, Vice President of Student Services, first came to the college men and women coaches earned different salaries for the same work. Women also received less credit for doing the same jobs as their male counterparts. “Today, this is not true,” she said. “We hire faculty first. Then hire as coaches second.”

Thus at RCC a coach’s earnings are determined by his or her experience as an educator and years spent at the college.

Prior to 1999, the year Robert Schermerhorn accepted the position of Associate Dean of Physical Education and Athletics, there’d been no study done on RCC’s progress towards compliance with Title IX. But every yearthe federal government requires an online update to determine if the college is continuing to comply with Title IX by showing a history and continuing practice of program expansion.

Under Title IX, RCC must provide men and women with the same quality and quantity of athletic supplies. Schermerhorn assures student athletes that they have nothing to fear in this regard. The ASRCC supplies the athletic programs with much of their funding, to the tune of $220,000. “No one else does this,” Schermerhorn said.

The college has also made improvements over the last five years in the area of travel. In the past, baseball players traveled by bus to away games, while softball players used vans. Today, in compliance with Title IX, both teams travel by bus.

However, RCC students are not receiving equitable treatment in the area of coaching. According to Schermerhorn’s 1999 study, “There are disparities in the number of full-time coaches for the men’s teams compared to the women’s teams.”

This disparity persists today having lost two fulltime women’s coaches to the Physical Education Department.

“Due to budget constraints, it’s hard to get full-time tenure coaches,” Lacy said.

However, Schermerhorn just hired the college’s first full-time women’s athletic trainer.

Another area where RCC falls short of complying with Title IX is facilities. This was the major complaint of student athletes.

“Wheelock Stadium, Huntley Gym and the aquatic center are in need of remodeling,” said Schermerhorn.

Women athletes at RCC do not have the same size and quality of facilities as men athletes. They do not have a team locker room or adequate facilities for the storing and distribution of equipment. The training room is also on the “men’s side” of the athletic complex.

On Nov. 16, the Board of Trustees approved more than $2 million of Measure C funds to improve Wheelock Stadium, which is not regulation and thus unfit for hosting competitions. Portions of these funds will also go to updating the locker and training rooms. These changes will bring RCC into further compliance with Title IX.

Finally, although 58 percent of RCC’s student population in 2000 was female, only 39 percent of the student athlete population was female. Currently, RCC has 10 men’s teams and 9 women’s teams, but this spring Lacy will be reevaluating adding women’s golf in 2006.

Lacy and Schermerhorn also attribute the discrepancy in numbers between men and women participants to a lack of recruiting. Schermerhorn will retire this semester, but he will return in the spring as a consultant. Lacy hired him to write a recruiting manual and to train coaches on recruiting methods. With the addition of women’s golf and an increase in participation in other sports, RCC will be in compliance with Title IX.

In response to RCC’s continued efforts to address Title IX issues Schermerhorn stated, “I think we’re committed and we know where the problems are. We’ve made strides and I hope my predecessor continues on that avenue.”

Lacy said, “we made movement as rapidly as can be expected,” and we will continue to see improvements in the immediate future.

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