CSUN still adheres to an expired agreement between the California National Organization for Women and the CSU system that ensures that more women than men participate in sports.
The Cal-NOW agreement called for gender equity in sports in accordance to the proportion of a school’s population. The percentage of female athletes should be within 5 percent of the female student body, said Janet Lucas, interim athletic director.
“We try to meet these requirements of equity,” Lucas said. “Equity is more of what is fair rather than what is equal.”
Women make up 58.7 percent of CSUN’s student population. In order for CSUN to currently follow the Cal-NOW agreement, the university has to be within a 5 percent bubble of 58.7 percent. The number of female athletes on campus, therefore, would have to be within plus-or-minus five percent of that percentage, between 53.7 and 63.7 percent.
Cal-NOW filed a lawsuit in 1993 against CSU campuses, claiming that the universities were not following the Title IX Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination, including athletics, and requires school athletics to be within one percent of the female student population at a university or college.
An August 2005 report from the U.S. Department of Education shows there are 442 participants in 20 sports at CSUN, 11 of which are women’s sports. There are 240 participants in women’s teams, which makes it 54.2 percent.
Since the football program was cancelled in 2001, women’s soccer (1995), golf (1996) and water polo (2001) have been added to the university to provide women with more sports and more opportunities to participate, Lucas said.
The agreement does not only call for more women in sports, but also for more funding.
Women’s sports at CSUN receive 62 percent of athletically-related student aid, while men receive 38 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s report.
According to the same report, Men’s sports made $187,312 in total revenues. Women’s made $73,640.
The agreement also places certain restrictions on sports that involve both men and women. In cross country and indoor and outdoor track, the number of male participants cannot exceed over 70, while for women, the minimum number of players is 85, said Donald Strametz, CSUN track coach.
It also encourages more women to walk on and try out, Strametz said.
Strametz has been at the university since 1979, and has witnessed the changes in women’s participation in sports.
More scholarships provided for women and the restricted number of male participants is something that coaches have to think about now when recruiting, Strametz said.
The case never went through the legal process and the CSU system made an agreement with Cal-NOW to increase the numbers of female athletes and be within a 5 percent deviation of the total female population, Lucas said.
“Title IX is very difficult to follow,” Lucas said. “Most universities don’t follow it because it is so difficult, especially when you have football.”
Having football at a university complicates a school’s ability to accommodate with Title IX requirements because the number of participants in the sport, which could have been a small reason it was cut by CSUN, Lucas said.
Since the agreement, the number of women athletes soared. In 1992-1993, 34.5 percent of athletes were female. The number went up nearly 20 percent in 1998-1999, with 53.3 percent, according to the 1998-99 Cal-NOW report.
CSUN is one of 11 campuses in the CSU that were in compliance with the Cal-NOW requirements. There are 19 campuses in the system with NCAA Division sports, Lucas said.
The Title IX and Cal-NOW agreement have really changed CSUN sports for the good, Lucas said. The population of women in the university is more than men, and it should also be mirrored in athletics, she said.
The changes in women’s sports in the past 29 years have been significant, but it does not hurt to have more, Strametz said.
“There’s always room to grow and get better,” Strametz said.
Equality would consist of splitting the number of student athletes and money allocated to each sport at 50 percent each, said Megan Ching, junior point guard for the women’s basketball team.
The number of athletes should not depend on the number of students on campus, she said.
“It should be more even because then everyone has an equal right to participate,” said Ching, junior point guard for CSUN’s women’s basketball team.
Oscar Areliz can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.