Football team debate is not a battle of sexes

Gender equality through Title IX is not the only thing holding Sonoma State from bringing back a football team. Everyone knows we don’t currently have one ;but once students find out we used to have one, they become puzzled as to why we don’t now. 

Our athletes here are nearly equally divided into men and women. Some might think that has everything to do with Title IX, but there is a much bigger picture at play.

Title IX guarentees gender equality to women in sports. What most people don’t know is that Title IX goes beyond the realm of sports. It gives gender equality to women in a multitude of areas including access to higher education, career education, employment, standardized testing, technology and more. Plenty of schools across the country are not in compliance with Title IX laws, but Sonoma State is.

So, since we are an institution that has gender equality, there would need to be some equalizing if we brought back a football team. Since a collegiate football team can hold around 80 players, there would have to be a lot of female sports added to balance that number out. 

Title IX states that the percentage of male and female athletes needs to be about the same as the percentage of males and females enrolled at the school. Right now that lies at around 60 percent female and 40 percent male. 

With the addition of an 80-man football team, that would mean adding sports teams to include the participation of 120 more female student-athletes. That would mean adding five to eight more National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II teams for females.

So why can’t this all happen? We have enough of a student population for it as well as enough club sport participation to make it happen. I know some athletes on our school’s club sports teams feel as though they should be sanctioned and funded as NCAA teams. Title IX and Sonoma State would allow it, but the athletic budget would not. As a student assistant in the athletic department, I always hear complaints from coaches about not having enough funding to compete in the recruitment process with other teams in our conference and division. 

It costs about $7,000 for an in-state student to go here, depending on units taken. Even if an average of half scholarships were offered to a football team, that would add up to $280,000 needed for funding. That’s $280,000 that coaches here wish we had right now. 

That $280,000 wouldn’t have to be matched in the addition of those five to eight female teams. But, plenty of athletes depend on scholarship money to at least reduce the cost of tuition in college. Many student-athletes make their choice of going to a particular school because they are offered more scholarship money as opposed to another school that offers them less. So it would only make sense that these hypothetical female student-athletes would follow suit.

With less money being thrown their way, fewer women would want to come here to play their sport. So adding a football team really has nothing to do with Title IX. Our athletic budget combined with the money from our donors doesn’t provide enough funding for our current teams to consistently compete at a high level. 

So, regardless of the Title IX rules, if more teams were added they would not be able to be anything more than mediocre, at best. There is no room for a football team here at SSU.