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Miami trustees consider Title IX

12/14/1998

Miami University trustees today (Friday, Dec. 11) heard reports on what to do about Title IX, the federal law that mandates equal opportunities for men and women in intercollegiate athletics.

"We have a very difficult situation here. I want to assure everyone that this board will work for a solution, being as fair and equitable to all parties as we can," said Richard A. Farmer, chair of the Miami board of trustees.

Miami's intercollegiate athletic program is facing a projected annual deficit of $893,000, even if--as previously recommended by a university-wide committee--wrestling and indoor track are phased out, said Edward J. Demske, senior vice president for finance and university services.

Assuming long-term aggressive fund-raising and marketing efforts are successful and raise an additional $500,000 annually, the athletic program's yearly deficit is still expected to total more than $393,000. The only alternative for dealing with the shortfall is to eliminate additional men's sports, Demske reported.

Miami's situation is similar to that at other institutions, said Joel Maturi, director of intercollegiate athletics. "We have a cloud hanging over us until a plan is in place. We will accept any decision that you come to."

The Mid-American Conference requires Miami to provide men's teams in baseball, basketball and football, said Demske, who estimated Miami could save from $297,000 to $278,000 annually by phasing out three men's sports from a group of four--golf, soccer, swimming and tennis.

No current athletes would lose scholarships and every effort would be made to assist coaches in any sport that is eliminated, Demske said.

"Regrettably, the university is in a budgetary and legal situation where eliminating men's sports is imminent," Demske said. "This is the time for alumni and friends who are proud of Miami's athletic traditions to provide financial support via season ticket purchases, annual gifts and the creation of endowments."

Action by trustees on Title IX compliance could be as early as the Feb. 5 meeting.

Trustees also:

  • Approved establishing a quasi-endowment to fund future improvements to residence and dining halls with a surplus $1 million from previously issued bonds. Falling interest rates have created the surplus, university officials said.

  • Approved spending about $25,000 to be matched by $25,000 from the Ohio Board of Regents to develop construction cost estimates for a proposed child care center on the Oxford campus. The expenditure does not commit the university to building the center, but will make more detailed analysis possible.

  • Approved contracts totaling more than $2 million for construction projects on the university's three campuses.

    Projects included: $672,833 for air conditioning improvement on the Hamilton campus; $433,397 for modifications to meet Americans with Disability Act requirements at the Center for Performing Arts and Millett Assembly Hall; $354,772 for the first phase of the Hughes Hall rehabilitation; $323,690 for water piping and fire hydrant upgrades at Miami Middletown; and $309,990 for steam supply and condensate return lines from the steam tunnel at the Oxford campus to Williams Hall.

    Background on Title IX's implications for Miami and the athletic policy committee's recommendations can be found at http://www.muohio.edu/npio/title9/reportresponse/.

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