Two Students Suing Kentucky Over Title IX Compliance Issues
Two Univ. of Kentucky students "filed a lawsuit" against the school alleging "discrimination against female student-athletes," according to Stunson & Eads of the LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER. UK President Eli Capilouto and AD Mitch Barnhart were "named in the lawsuit, which states the university is not in compliance with Title IX rules," which require men and women to have the same opportunities in sports. According to the lawsuit filed yesterday, UK "has not added a sport during Barnhart's tenure, despite a self-study" in '04 in which a committee "suggested the university should expand athletic opportunities for women." The lawsuit also accuses the school of "being in violation of all three facets of Title IX, including inequitable opportunities, scholarships and benefits provided to female student-athletes." Iowa-based law firm Newkirk Zwagerman, which is representing the students who filed the lawsuit, wrote that women make up 55% of UK's student population, but only 41% of the school's "intercollegiate varsity athletes." UK Exec Dir of Marketing & PR Jay Blanton said that the school is "fully compliant with Title IX and its regulations." Zwagerman said that "important lawsuits" like this one have been "filed against smaller schools, but that it's significant for the issue to be brought up at a school as prominent in sports as UK" (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 9/26).
NOT THAT SIMPLE: In Louisville, Tim Sullivan notes the lawsuit's claim that UK would "need to add approximately 183 women to its athletic programs to achieve compliance with Title IX" is "misleading." Strict proportionality is "just one of three tests a school can pass to meet federal gender equity requirements." But UK's "scholarship spending and the participation rate of its female students are similar" to those of Western Kentucky Univ., whose Title IX practices have been "under investigation for nearly three years" by the Dept. of Education's Office of Civil Rights (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 9/26).