The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.
Collegiate sports and scholarships go hand in hand. Murray State, along with many other universities, wouldn’t have some of the sports talent it has without the incentive of financial aid. What’s interesting, however, is where those scholarships are actually going.
More than 40 years ago, a federal law was passed with the intention of leveling the playing field – pun intended – of men and women’s sports. This law, Title IX, was created to establish equality between the two genders in both athletics and academics.
This is a lofty goal, and one Murray State isn’t meeting. As of right now, there are more scholarship-funded women’s sports than men’s – three more, to be specific.
The imbalance is due to the fact that Title IX measures “equality” by tabulating the number of individual participants instead of looking at teams as a whole. Team revenue and success are not taken into consideration.
For instance, Murray State’s football team boasts a roster of 98 male athletes. The female equivalent to this team doesn’t exist.
How does a university make up for a disparity like this? They cut other men’s teams – no matter how successful – and increase the number of women’s teams.
Murray State had to cut men’s track and field nine years ago for this reason. On the bright side, women’s softball was then brought to Murray State to increase the number of female athletes.
The discrepancy caused by the football team remains a problem, though. Their athletes are the benefactors of 63 of the approximately 184 athletic scholarships. More than 30 percent of the money set aside for athletes, regardless of gender, is going to an all-male football team with a low success rate.
Gender inequality aside, there needs to be less of a gap between the number of scholarships being awarded to male football players compared to the number being awarded to the other men’s sports. We understand the number of football players is necessary. However, cutting the number of full scholarships these players get could allow for more scholarships to be awarded to other teams.
Men’s baseball only gets approximately 12, men’s golf only gets approximately five and men’s tennis only gets approximately five. We’ll say it again – men’s football gets 63.
Men’s basketball is in the same boat, as they only get 13, and their team is composed of athletes who have garnered us national attention and championship titles. Attendance is high, revenue is strong and the talent is, in our opinion, incredible. The athletic scholarship ratio should reflect that, but it doesn’t.
Women’s basketball gets more scholarships than its male counterpart, and the team certainly isn’t as successful.
We don’t mean to bash any of our Murray State teams. We love our women’s teams and the Murray State football team. We support them win or lose.
We’re only stating the facts.
Scholarships need not be awarded based on the number of athletes per team, but on the success of those athletes.
This isn’t a question of athletic gender equality, as long as the number of scholarships awarded to male athletes is the same as the number of scholarships awarded to female athletes – which isn’t the case right now. This is a question of logic.
There may be equality in the number of female and male athletes, but there should also be equality in the scholarship ratio.
Equality as a whole shouldn’t suffer in pursuit of equality of the sexes.