Title IX Finances Aren’t Adding Up

Legislation intended to safeguard equal treatment of male and female college athletes is failing, according to a USA Today Investigation.

The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA)—passed in 1996—requires co-ed institutions that participate in a Title IX federal assistance program to submit an annual report to the Department of Education by October 15. The act aims to guide schools in balancing expenditures for men’s and women’s teams.

But 41 schools, making up more than 34 percent of NCAA Division I-A athletic programs, reported at least one error in their 2003 and 2004 revenue and expense figures. The errors ranged in value from pocket change to a $34 million data-entry mistake by the University of Texas.

However, Harvard’s reports have been error-free in previous years, according to director of communications for the Department of Harvard Athletics Chuck Sullivan.

“We view [complying with EADA reporting procedure] as an important part of our NCAA responsibilities and it help us monitor compliance with federal Title IX regulations,” Sullivan said.

In the 2003-2004 calendar year Harvard Athletics’ expenditures for male teams amounted to $1,781,469, according to the Department of Education website. Expenditures on the women’s side amounted to $1,444,650. Harvard boasts the largest Division I athletic program in the country, with 21 men’s teams and 20 women’s teams.

But other schools had more blemished records. In the EADA reports, five community colleges—which are not a part of the NCAA—were classified as Division I-A schools, a Division II-A school was classified as Division I-A, and no data was found for the University of Arkansas for 2003, despite the school’s claim that it filed its EADA report.

The NCAA is aware of the errors and maintains an adjusted set of expense records. However, it does not release these adjusted records in order to protect the privacy of its members, Chief Financial Officer of the NCAA Jim Isch told USA Today.

Isch also said that an NCAA committee is considering reforms that could include making data public, though he did not say when the decision would be made.

Despite compliance, some NCAA schools oppose EADA requirements because preparing reports requires time and hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. They also complain that the reporting is disconnected from how athletic departments operate.

But some legislators worry that the report’s problems have broader implications for gender equality in college athletic programs. Mass. Senator Edward M. Kennedy ’54-’56 called the report’s errors “troubling.”

“It’s essential…to have reliable information on gender equity in college sports so that we can deal with the discrimination that still exists,” the Senator told USA Today.