Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, June 24, 1999

R A I N B O W _ S P O R T S

’Bows grade low
on gender equity

A faculty group says the
university is behind, but also
blames the Legislature

By Pat Bigold


A committee of faculty members gives the University of Hawaii athletic department and the Legislature mixed grades on progress toward achieving gender equity.

The Manoa Faculty Senate Committee on Athletics compiled its report on how well the university is doing on implementing its self-imposed six-year plan to comply with the mandates of Title IX.

The goal has been to increase the percentage of UH's scholarships given to women to 45 percent by 2002.

The faculty report said the percentage had reached 42 percent by 1997-98 after the addition of women's water polo and women's sailing.

Committee spokesman John Cox hastened to note that although the report criticizes, he does sympathize with athletic director Hugh Yoshida's plight in working toward gender equity with inadequate money.

Yoshida has a $1 million deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30.

"Gender equity is the law and we have to get there sooner or later -- preferably sooner," said Cox.

"But it's kind of hard to expect the athletic department to achieve this by paying for it alone. In making clear what needs to be done, we are also saying that state government needs to come in and help."

Cox cited the Legislature's decision not to fund development of Cooke Field as a reason the university must delay establishing a women's track and field program.

"Track and field was going to help a lot with respect to numbers," said Cox, referring to the fact that it would have added 13 scholarships.

Those scholarships would bring the percentage of scholarships awarded to women to 44 percent.

"Track and field can also help other sports," said Cox. "For example, a track and field athlete might also be involved in another sport. So you get a double hit there."

The report said it was "particularly disturbing" that the Legislature this year chose to only fund improvement of the soccer and football grass practice fields across from Rainbow Stadium, while declining to come up with $6 million to develop a soccer stadium at Cooke Field.

The soccer stadium project would have made it possible to repair the dilapidated Cooke Field track and pave the way for the track and field program.

The faculty members said the original intention of the university's gender equity plan was to make a soccer stadium and a softball stadium priorities over the improvement of any existing facilities.

The report said that establishing women's track "must be addressed with the greatest urgency" so that the school can achieve Title IX compliance by 2002.

Yoshida said he's cautiously hopeful of adding a track program by 2000-2001.

"Then again we may not have a facility that will let us get a track program going," he said.

The report praised the athletic department for making sure the softball stadium was finished in time for the 1998 season.

But it went on to say, "flawed construction of the facility clearly tempers the value of this development."

The stadium was designed in such a way that some fans could not see home plate.

Although renovations are under way to improve the view, the report pointed out that it won't completely solve the problem: "... the women's facility will remain substandard as there will still not be full visibility of the field from all seats in the stadium even after the repairs are completed."

Yoshida acknowledged that visibility will not be 100 percent for fans.

"It's going to be like any other facility out here," said Yoshida. "There are still going to be some shortcomings, and hopefully those will not distract."

But he said improvements being made to the field itself will serve to improve softball recruiting.

"We'll have a first-class facility from the standpoint of playing conditions and that's very important as to how people view our program," said Yoshida.

The report also criticized construction cost-cutting that created the softball stadium's lack of officials' rooms, locker rooms, equipment rooms, meeting rooms, coaches' offices and a concession area.

Yoshida said facilities for softball officials are available but removed from the softball stadium.

He also pointed out that the Legislature recently approved about $200,000 for a batting cage for the softball team.

That is not mentioned in the faculty report.

"We are cutting $155,000 from our men's budget and we've added about $55,000 for women's programs," said Yoshida.

The report said the distribution of money for recruiting is "flagrantly inequitable."

The ratio cited was 74 percent for men and 26 percent for women.

"A greater effort must be made to hold down men's recruiting costs, and additional resources must be channeled towards efforts to recruit women athletes," the report stated.

"We've increased our women's recruiting (funding) substantially," countered Yoshida.

"But for us to get back on our feet financially, we have to look at revenue programs. I know it does not meet some of the tenets with regard to Title IX and gender equity. But football generates a lot of our money."

Cox said that he personally believes increased recruiting funding of a program like women's basketball could result in greater revenue from that sport.

The report also bemoaned the scarcity of female head coaches on campus. Currently there are only two teams (water polo and golf) that have them.

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