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The Right Approach...Views on the world of bowling.

Volume 4, Issue 1, The 128th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez

      When the WIBC asks its members to contact their congress people in Washington D.C., it must be important. And of course, if this is a women's issue and a bowling issue, every member must agree with the call to arms sent out by WIBC, right? Well, I'm a woman andI'mm a bowler, but when I contact my congress person this week, it won't be to tell them to strengthen or maintain Title IX, it will for just the opposite. I'll ask them to dismantle it.

      Simply put, Title IX was a provision placed in the education codes some thirty years ago that requires equity in sports funding and scholarships. Certain sports are male only, have large departments, and have even larger budgets--like football. So basically colleges and universities were forced to add women's teams where there was available money, and to actually cut long-established men's teams where they didn't have the money to bring the women's sports up to the same level. It doesn't matter if certain sports are more popular, or actually make money for the schools, allowing for even more scholarships.

      In order to accommodate Title IX, certain colleges and universities have been looking for easy, low-cost sports to add to their programs. Women's bowling fits because the teams are small, many colleges have on-site centers or can use a nearby public center, and the teams don't cost a lot to fund since equipment is often donated by ball manufacturers. But the real rub is this, while WIBC is adamant about keeping Title IX, what will they do when YABA boys grow up and want bowling as an NCAA sport for men? Right now, what WIBC doesn't want to say out loud is that men's NCAA bowling is never going to happen. Certainly colleges can't add a men's sport without adding an additional women's sport or removing another men's sport. Will WIBC be as ready to ask their members to talk to congress about Title IX when it comes to men's programs?

      The fact that my alma mater lost a football team several years ago still makes my blood boil. I can only imagine the negative publicity if it had been dismantled in order to accommodate a women's bowling team.

      And there are serious implications for junior bowlers who already have earned thousands in scholarships through years of bowling leagues and tournaments. NCAA rules are clear about amateur and professional status. While bowling arguably has the greyest view on what defines a pro, any youth bowler joining the NCAA will have to abandon any money earned and waiting in a SMART account. If you bowl for money, you can't bowl NCAA. So what will happen to all the money tied up in the child's SMART account? While it's heady for someone to say they're on a partial scholarship or a full-ride to a certain university, far more children of both genders are helped through local scholarships from leagues and tournaments which they can take with them to any university in the country including ones that don't even have a bowling team.

      Make no mistake, I'm all for bowling in college. I wish that bowling was a "real" sport when I was in college and not just an intramural one. But I'd never be so short sighted as to say having just women's teams in the NCAA is acceptable. Heck, having only women's teams in the NCAA is embarrassing. Quite frankly, there are plenty of reasons for bowlers and nonbowlers to dislike Title IX, and only a very self-serving reason to hope it stands. And I won't pretend that a few teams thrown in around the country for women only is a good start. It's simply a bad idea.

Gotta Split,


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