Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This is a letter from Matt McGowan (of RUN OHIO) to NCAA President Dr. Brand:

Dear Dr. Brand:

On the Title IX web site under Athletics it states.Title IX governs the
overall equity of treatment and opportunity in athletics while giving
schools the flexibility to choose sports based on student body interest,
geographic influence.

How can one of the most popular sports in the State of Ohio and in the country be a sport Ohio University and many Mid American Athletic Conference universities decide to drop. Is it because you can count Men's Indoor Track and Field and the Men's Outdoor Track and Field program twice to reduce their men's number (in the OU case by 100 male athletes)? Would it be best if the NCAA didn't count indoor and outdoor track and field as two sports as it makes it a target for universities to cut? It would seem to me if the sport is this popular at the high school level; State funded universities should offer it to their students. (statistics listed below).

Another issue is the diversity of the track and field team. According The Athens Post on January 29, "Ohio University is the state's least racially diverse college and offers one of the lowest percentages of financial aid among similar schools in Ohio, according to the Ohio Board of Regents' 2006 Performance Report." Men's Track & Field has the third highest percentage of minorities on their team among the Men's OU sport programs.

It is my understanding that one of the main reasons why Miami University did not drop their Men's Outdoor Track and Field program in 1999 after their Athletic Director recommended it be dropped was the Board of Trustees saw it as one of the programs that attracted minorities to the university.

Some facts on track and field...

Men's Track and Field is the oldest sport known to mankind. Track and field has more countries in the world participating in the Olympic Games than any other sport. In Ohio there are 728 boys' high school track & field teams. Only basketball and baseball have more schools sponsoring a boys' team than track & field. According to the Ohio High School Athletic Association football has the most boys participating in a sport while boys track and field ranks third with 24,219 boys participating in Ohio high schools last year, just 49 fewer students athletes than second place basketball.

According to statistics from the 2005-2006 National Federation Association of State High School Association there were 15,497 schools offering boys outdoor track and field. Only boys' basketball had more high schools offering it than boys track and field. Boys high school track had the third most participants with 533,985, only football and basketball had more boys participating.


Matt McGowan
Editor/Publisher RUNOHIO

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