Coaches to lobby over Title IX


MINNEAPOLIS -- Concerned that college football coaches will lobby a conservative Congress to weaken Title IX regulations, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association yesterday began efforts to head off the football coaches' efforts.

The WBCA, meeting here in conjunction with the NCAA women's Final Four, announced a lobbying and letter-writing campaign of their own, to challenge the College Football Association and the American Football Coaches Association.

"We will be instrumental in our security. We will work to keep Title IX in effect," said Penn State women's basketball coach Rene Portland yesterday during a news conference attended by some of the bigger coaching names in the sport.

On Wednesday, federal court Judge Raymond Pettine gave Brown University 120 days to produce a plan to comply with Title IX of the federal education regulations, which requires schools to have "a substantially proportionate" ratio of female to male athletes.

The school, which has indicated that it will appeal Pettine's decision, had dropped women's gymnastics and volleyball teams to cut costs.

In recent years, athletics officials have dropped some men's sports, such as wrestling, rather than add women's sports, to attempt to reach such a ratio.

Fearing the loss of scholarships from their programs, college football coaches have lobbied Congress to have their sport exempted from Title IX regulations.

Their concerns could find more sympathetic ears in Washington now that Republicans have taken control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

"Obviously we're concerned or we wouldn't be taking this step. We're not asking for cuts of football or men's sports. We're only asking for proportional representation," said Portland.

"The bottom line is, anyone who has a son and a daughter wants the same opportunity for their son and daughter. It has to do with peace and quiet in your house when your daughter starts yapping about equal opportunity."

Said Maryland coach Chris Weller: "We have laws in place and they are there to make sure that everyone's rights are upheld. This is a fairness issue."

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