MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan University celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Title IX legislation today in grand style as the CMU Board of Trustees unanimously approved the addition of women's golf and women's lacrosse.
The women's golf team is scheduled to begin competition during the 2014-15 academic year, while the lacrosse program will start play in 2015-16. The addition of the programs will continue Central Michigan's long-standing compliance with Title IX and will provide equitable athletics participation and education opportunities for both men and women.
"This is truly an exciting day for Central Michigan University and our athletics program as we continue to provide additional opportunities for young women to pursue their athletic and academic dreams," CMU Director of Athletics Dave Heeke said. "These sports are great additions to our overall program and will attract outstanding student-athletes who will contribute to our Championship Culture."
With the addition of these two programs, the university will offer a total of 18 sport programs - 11 for women and seven for men.
"Since Title IX was passed 40 years ago, and years prior to the passage of this amendment, we have taken pride in the leadership of our administration as they provided opportunities for women student-athletes", said Executive Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator Marcy Weston. "These new opportunities are just another step toward maintaining our culture of compliance."
Women's golf returns after 30-year hiatus
Women's golf, which was last offered as a varsity sport by the university in 1982, will hire a head coach in the spring of 2013. The new coach will use the 2013-14 season developing a recruiting base, while working with the administration to identify practice and competition venues, along with assembling a 2014-15 competition schedule. The Chippewas will become the 10th Mid-American Conference institution to field a women's golf team.
The Michigan High School Athletics Association recognized 327 girls' golf teams for the 2012-13 season.
CMU's women's golf program will compete at the NCAA Division I level for the first time in its history, as the program competed in the AIAW during the 1970s and 80s.
Fastest-growing sport finds its way to CMU
The athletics department will have a women's lacrosse head coach by the spring of 2014. The coach will develop a recruiting base and competition schedule in 2014-15, to be ready for competition in the 2015-16 season.
Adding the fastest growing women's sport both at the high school and collegiate level will make Central Michigan the only MAC institution to field a women's lacrosse team at this time.
According to the US Lacrosse Participation Survey, the number of women's lacrosse teams at the NCAA level increased 30.3 percent between 2005 and 2010, and the number of high school girls' teams increased 48.4 percent. The USL survey also revealed Michigan's 8,075 youth players as the ninth-highest total in the country.
Committee's work not yet complete
Following nine months of research, the Gender Equity Committee, as part of its charge to maintain Title IX compliance into the future, recommended the addition of two female sports programs at the September 20 Board of Trustees meeting.
"We looked at what is popular in our state and our region," committee chairperson Dr. Judy Chandler of the physical education and sport department said. "We considered how we would have the greatest opportunity to recruit here in Michigan first and we also wanted sports that would fit both our university and Mount Pleasant communities."
The committee, charged by CMU President Dr. George E. Ross in January 2011, also reported at the September meeting it found equal treatment of male and female student-athletes during its rigorous review of scholarships and other programmatic benefits such as facilities, practice times, tutoring, travel, apparel, equipment and marketing.
"I am very pleased that the committee's work validated the overall excellence of our athletic program and our strong commitment to all student-athletes and their experience," said Heeke.
The board's resolution also states that the committee will continue to investigate the possibility of adding as many as two more undetermined sports at a later date.