When Title IX Backfires: Cutting the Men's Track and Field Program

A week ago the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga decided to cut the men’s track and field program:

The men’s indoor and outdoor track & field teams will no longer be programs, according to Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics David Blackburn.

The Mocs are concluding their five-year Title IX process, which is aimed at bringing the program in compliance with the Federal Law.

The men’s indoor and outdoor track & field programs will still compete this semester and finish out the season.

As for men’s cross country, participation will be limited following the 2014-15 season.

“This was a very difficult decision,” Blackburn said in a press release.  “You never want to cut a program, but based on our current Title IX situation and the current financial climate, it was a decision that had to be made.”

It’s tempting to think that, with “political correctness” ruling on our campuses, the students would just let this roll.  But you’d be wrong.  In the 3 February 2015 print issue of The Echo, we have the following:

Patrick O’Brien, Chattanooga senior, started a petition to bring back the men’s indoor and outdoor track programs.

The petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/chancellor-steve-angle-save-utc-men-s-track-and-field.

So far, 928 people have participated in the petition to save the program.

As of now it’s up to 1500 signatories, well above 10% of the student body.

I hope that UTC finds a way to follow the good sense of the students and not the bureaucratic enshrinement of past ideology.  After all, this is the university system of Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols, who did so much to change people’s perception of women’s athletics.  (This is also the university system where Chattanooga’s Lady Mocs beat the Lady Vols early in the season, too).  It’s time to see things as they are.

My other piece on Title IX is here.

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