BOISE, Idaho – Athletic programs at each of Idaho’s four publicly funded universities fell short of at least one aspect of federal Title IX standards, according to state data.
Data submitted to the Idaho State Board of Education in April shows the universities did not meet standards for equal treatment of athletes, sports participation or proportional scholarship funding during the 2017-18 school year, the Idaho Statesman reported last week.
Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in education programs receiving federal dollars.
Boise State University was the only state school during the 2017-18 school year that had substantially proportionate participation in sports. The university’s student population was about 54% women, and its athletes were about 54% women.
The university did not meet the proportionality standard for scholarship aid, with male athletes getting a more than 2% advantage, according to data.
The university should reach compliance by maximizing the athletic department’s women’s roster capacities, said Curt Apsey, Boise State athletic director.
The University of Idaho’s athletic participation did not match its student enrollment. The university hired a consultant that submitted a report on its athletic department earlier this year.
The report made 56 Title IX recommendations, including renovating women’s locker rooms and upgrading a practice field. Addressing all the recommendations are expected to cost up to $2.5 million, said Pete Isakson, the school’s acting athletic director.
“We knew some areas where there were no-brainers,” Isakson said. “We didn’t necessarily need the report to go ahead and start working.”
The university plans to ask the state to up its spending cap on athletics, he said.
Idaho State University was granted a $125,000 extension to its spending cap this year after reporting it failed to meet Title IX standards that included equal opportunities and treatments for athletes. The school has not had an active gender-equity committee since 2013.
“We knew that we wanted to have a gender-equity committee in place because I think it’s just the right thing for every athletic department to do – to have that committee that’s constantly looking at that issue so it’s not allowed to reach imbalances that just build each year,” Idaho State Athletic Director Pauline Thiros said.
The university is working on a five-year plan to address Title IX issues.
Lewis-Clark State University’s student population was nearly 61% women, but it had about 43% female athletic participation. It has developed a five-year plan to address gender equity.
“You always have to be thinking about what the way forward is, and are there areas of continued growth that need to be investigated, so a plan is a road map for a journey that, frankly, may never end,” university president Cynthia Pemberton said.
Among the efforts to reach compliance, the university has been granted a higher spending cap and it plans to add women’s soccer.
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