Aug 11

Revisiting Title IX: Is it a Roadblock or Pathway to Men’s College Lacrosse Growth?

Dr. Ellen J. Staurowsky recently wrote a very interesting and thought provoking article for College Sports Business News in which she discusses the actual growth of men’s lacrosse, and whether or not Title IX has been a “Roadblock” or a catalyst for that growth.  Her article is a response to a discussion between broadcasters, during the Denver v. Hopkins televised tournament matchup, about factors that were impeding the expansion of men’s lacrosse on college campuses.  Specifically she is reacting to Quint Kessenich’s comment that “Title IX is a roadblock.”

Lacrosse has grown in popularity at an amazing rate, but there is no doubt that the growth of the men’s game at the collegiate level is not as significant as the growth at the youth and high school levels.  Title IX is often the easy scapegoat for stalled growth at the collegiate level.  Staurowsky “examines data from the NCAA’s Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report, noting, for example, the substantial difference in average squad sizes in men’s and women’s collegiate lacrosse and how those have changed over the years. She also looks at the actual changes in sponsorship of Men’s Division I teams and discusses the situation at Boston College (an ACC member with a lacrosse team that plays in the MCLA).”(laxpower)  She points out that in fact the growth of the women’s game at the collegiate level because of Title IX has helped pave the way for the growth of the men’s game in new regions:

For those who conceive of Title IX as a roadblock that once removed would allow men’s lacrosse to grow at a faster rate should heed the note of caution in the expression “be careful what you wish for.”  Rather than serving as a roadblock to the development of the sport, Title IX may well have created a pathway for the sport to gain traction in athletic departments because of the need to add women’s programs.  Surely, the expansion of the sport beyond the regional niche of the Eastern U.S. has not occurred solely because the sport is played by men but because the sport is played by men and women.

To read the entire article on the College Sports Business News page click here.

Another interesting read from last fall is:

“Title IX still restricting growth of lacrosse at the collegiate level” by Brian Schneider at Inside Lacrosse.