JMU ENACTS PROPORTIONALITY PLAN TO COMPLY WITH TITLE IX
HARRISONBURG — James Madison University's Board of Visitors voted today to approve a plan to bring the JMU Athletics program into compliance with Title IX.
The plan will take effect July 1, 2007, when the following varsity teams will be eliminated:
With 28 varsity teams, the JMU Athletics program ties for the rank of seventh in terms of the number of teams among all 327 Division I schools nationally.
"The JMU Athletics program is unusually large for a public university of our size," said Joseph Damico, rector of the JMU Board of Visitors. "With so many teams, we faced an insurmountable challenge coming into compliance with Title IX. Fundamentally, that is why the Board voted today for this plan."
The proportionality requirements of Title IX mandate that collegiate athletics programs mirror each school's undergraduate population in terms of gender. As of the fall semester 2006, JMU's proportions place it fundamentally out of compliance with federal law:
Jeff Bourne, JMU athletics director, said, "We explored every avenue in search of an alternative to this action. Lamar Daniel, a well-known consultant on Title IX compliance, has worked closely with us and he believes that this plan is our most viable alternative for reaching compliance with Title IX."
Once this plan is fully implemented, total participation in athletics will move to 61 percent female and 39 percent male, in alignment with current student enrollment. The university will then have 18 intercollegiate sports:
This decision affects 144 student-athletes currently participating in these sports, as well as three full-time and eight part-time coaches.
"Now that the Board has voted to enact this plan, our main concern is with our affected student-athletes and coaches," said Bourne. "We are taking great care to preserve the financial guarantees already made to our student-athletes. If you are a student-athlete on an affected team and you are receiving a scholarship, you will continue to receive that scholarship until you graduate."
Currently, eight students on the rosters of the 10 affected teams receive a total of $13,500 in scholarships. Access to sports-medicine and academic-advising programs also will be available to them. Any affected student-athletes who decide to transfer to another program will be provided with full assistance regarding the transfer process. Affected coaches will receive severance packages appropriate to the university's policies and procedures.
All of the financial resources recovered from the implementation of this plan will be redirected to provide the full complement of NCAA scholarships for women's golf, tennis and swimming. Partial scholarship funding will return to men's golf and tennis, with a plan to enhance to full funding by 2011.
To view online the press conference held Friday afternoon to announce the plan, go to media.jmu.edu/special/8_924.asx. Attending are JMU President Linwood Rose, Board of Visitors Rector Joseph Damico, Associate Athletic Director Sheila Moorman, BOV member Wharton Rivers Jr., and Athletic Director Jeff Bourne.