Dixie State University has added five women’s sports since 2006 to stay compliant with Title IX.
With the 11 female sports at DSU, and the shown ability to add women’s sports by adding five new female teams over a 10 year stretch (tennis and cross country 2006-2007, golf 2011-2012, and outdoor track and swimming 2016-2017), DSU is currently compliant with Title IX.
According to the Dixie Athletics website, DSU currently has 11 women’s sports with a total of 187 female athletes at DSU: basketball (13 players on the roster), cross country (18), golf (seven), soccer (39), softball (22), swimming (20), tennis (nine), track (19), volleyball (20), cheerleading (eight) and dance team (13). Comparing that to the six male sports on campus, which feature 105 athletes on the football roster alone, including baseball (37), basketball (18), cross country (9), golf (10), and soccer (36) for a total of 215 male athletes.
“We do not have to have a ratio of opportunities equal to the student body ratio of females to males,” Athletic Director Jason Boothe said. “There are three different ways to comply with Title IX and the ratio one is only one of the ways. We are compliant in another way by showing progress by adding sports over time.”
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association website an institution is in compliance with Title IX if it meets the all of three requirements:
1. Participation: Women and men be provided equitable opportunities to participate in sports. The sports do not have to be the same for both males and females but just that there is an equal opportunity to play. There are three ways an institution can meet this requirement.
A) Provide participation opportunities for women and men that are substantially proportionate to their respective rates of enrollment of full-time undergraduate students;
B) Demonstrate a history and continuing practice of program expansion for the underrepresented sex.
C) Fully and effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex.
2. Scholarships: Female and male student-athletes receive scholarship dollars proportional to their participation.
3. Other Benefits: Equal treatment for both females and males in eleven provisions (ex. Equipment, scheduling, travel)
“I usually attend men’s games more than women’s because the women usually play earlier, and I can’t make it,” Jessica Gomez, a junior mass communication major from Mesquite, Nevada said. “So, when I get out of work I can usually make the men’s games.”
Gomez said she likes watching volleyball, tennis and softball because she played them before. She also said she would want to watch lacrosse if it came to DSU.
Priestly Itoependa, a sophomore medical laboratory science major from Kumba, Cameroon, said he mostly attends men’s sports at DSU because his friends are more interested in the male sports.
Itoependa also expressed his interest in lacrosse.
“I [would attend] women’s lacrosse,” Itoependa said. “It [would] be something new, and I have never seen it live.”
While DSU does not have official plans for more women’s sports, there are sports being identified as possible additions down the road.
“We have identified possible [women] sports for additions to our offerings,” Boothe said. “But they in no way are 100 percent going to happen at this point. They are, in no order, sand volleyball, triathlon and lacrosse.”
The next women’s sport, Boothe said, has the strongest possibility of coming to DSU is women’s indoor track. There would not be a building for indoor track to compete at DSU, but rather would train outdoors and travel to compete at different indoor events.
Although DSU athletics are currently compliant, the department will need to continue adding opportunities for women’s sports until it matches the ratio of females to males on campus.
“We will be surveying the entire student body over the next few weeks to determine the interests of the students for additional sports and what the demands are,” Boothe said. “The results from that will help us begin to determine what sports, if any, including the ones listed above, that we need to consider for the future.”