CSUN KNEW IN '95 OF POTENTIAL CUTS.
Cal State Northridge administrators knew since 1995 that their athletic program's Big Sky conference affiliation coupled with gender-equity requirements could result in the cutting of men's sports, said Big Sky Conference commissioner Doug Fullerton on Monday.
Speaking at a meeting of the Cal State Northridge Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics, Fullerton said conference officials recognized that proportionality laws mandated by the California State University's agreement with the California branch of the National Organization for Women would call for one of two adjustments: ``Bring the women up or reduce the men.''
``We tried to lay it out in '95 to Northridge, Oregon State and Sacramento, and you're the first one to deal with it,'' Fullerton said. ``We knew that would be a problem and we (asked) Cal State Northridge, `What would you do?' Your issue were facilities and Cal-NOW. I'm sorry that for some reason, people didn't catch on to the issues in '95.''
Fullerton said the university must now pick between two choices to solve the issue. Either Northridge goes on to drop the men's sports - as it tried to do this summer with baseball, volleyball, swimming and soccer - or ``dump a bunch of money on the women's side to make it work.''
The Big Sky requires 14 core sports, and most schools in the conference fund six men's teams and nine or 10 women's in order to reach compliance, Fullerton said. Of the nine universities in the Big Sky, only the two Cal States - Northridge and Sacramento - are bound both by Title IX and by the Cal-NOW consent decree, which requires that the male-to-female athlete ratio mirrors the student population on each campus within 5 percent.
For the 1996-97 school year, males made up 42 percent of Cal State Northridge's undergraduate students while females made up 58 percent, reported senior associate athletic director Judith Brame. In Northridge's 16-sport roster - eight for men and eight for women - 61 percent of athletes were male.
``That's where the rub is for the institution,'' Brame said.
Men receive 55 percent of the scholarship money. The operation budget is split 58 percent to 42 percent, and recruiting expenses are 57 percent to 43 percent, with the higher amounts going to men's programs.
The figures are short of the Cal-NOW requirements but have improved drastically since 1990, three years before Cal-NOW consent decree was signed. Back then, the athlete gender breakdown as well as scholarship distribution equaled to two males per one female. Male sports programs received 71 percent of the operating budget and 68 percent of recruitment funds.
``I don't know why Cal-NOW sued the universities they did and why they picked athletics,'' said Dr. Jeanette Mann, Title IX compliance officer. ``I think the long history of discrimination in athletics is more hurtful and more visible than discrimination in areas like engineering.''