Tuesday was a somber day for student-athletes at both St. Cloud State and University of Minnesota Crookston when both schools announced the elimination of their football programs. The move impacts about 115 students at St. Cloud State, seven head and assistant coaches, and two graduate assistant coaches.
School officials at St. Cloud State said the move comes as part of a cost cutting measure, as well as aligning with the requirements of Title IX, which provides equal opportunities for male and female athletes in college. However, a researcher on the topic at the University of Minnesota says Title IX shouldn't be the scapegoat.
"When you have to make tough decisions to eliminate especially not-men's, non-revenue sports, you can often times simply say 'Don't blame me, Title IX made me do it,' and that's simply not fair," said Dr. Mary Jo Kane, who is the Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota.
In St. Cloud State's announcement, the school cited a growing athletics deficit of more than $1.6 million over the past four years.
"It's often the case that Title IX didn't make anybody cut programs, it's often about financial challenges," Dr. Kane said.
Title IX legislation turns 50 years old in 2022. Dr. Kane says it continues to change lives even nearly five decades since its inception.
"In two generations we've gone from young girls hoping there is a team to young girls hoping they make the team," she said. "I know a lot of their supporters are a lot of the young men who are now going to lose those opportunities. Let's not pit women against men. Let's just figure out a way to move forward so that everybody has an opportunity to participate."
St. Cloud State will drop men's and women's golf in addition to football. Men's soccer will be added to the Huskies' sports offereing.