Counterintuitive Consequence of the Day

Would passage of a new Equal Rights Amendment mean that Providence College could reinstate its baseball team? Ilya Somin of the Volokh Conspiracy thinks it’s a possibility…

As currently interpreted by courts and federal administrative agencies, [Federal law] essentially requires universities to have equal numbers of male and female sports teams, regardless of the amount of interest that male and female students have in athletics. This is a fairly obvious gender classification and one that probably won’t survive strict scrutiny under the ERA.
Providence College eliminated baseball in 1999, after the NCAA determined that it had too many programs for male athletes. Here’s Reason Magazine describing the end of baseball at PC
In the late ’90s, Providence found itself in a familiar bind. Women accounted for 59 percent of its students, yet they were only 43 percent of student athletes. The school was facing a peer review by the NCAA, and it needed to show quick “progress” toward gender equity. Providence simply had too many male athletes, and the easiest course of action was to cut some men’s programs to bring its numbers into line. In the fall of 1998, the administration announced that the 1999 season would be the last for the school’s 78-year-old baseball team. After 2002, Providence would no longer support men’s golf or tennis. Not one new women’s team would be created, but the male-female ratio would still be greatly improved.

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17 years ago

Too many athletic departments across the country responded to Title IX the way PC’s did. A measure that was supposed to create more opportunity for female athletes didn’t, and on top of that, it took away opportunities from male athletes.
I can’t think of too many other schools that dropped baseball, which isn’t all that expensive a sport (it’s not like the entire roster was on scholarship). And men lost not just sports like wrestling, where’s there’s really no established female counterpart, but also volleyball. Even some schools with well-established women’s and men’s volleyball programs dropped men’s.

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