BY MATT AARONSON
Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 24, 2008
LSA Student Government passed a resolution Wednesday night condemning the University's co-ed intramural sports policies for sometimes awarding females more points than males in competitions.
The vote passed with 12 in favor, four against and four abstaining.
Though the body passed the resolution, it will likely amount to little more than a symbolic gesture, with recreational sports officials saying they plan to keep the rules in place regardless.
Jan Wells, associate director of recreational sports, said before the meeting that the resolution would have no bearing on the University's intramural sports policies.
“We are not governed by the LSA government,” she said.
The resolution, sponsored by LSA juniors Steven Benson and Kim Buddin and LSA sophomore Stephanie Baum, argues that the University’s recreational sports department is not mandated to follow the guidelines suggested by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association.
The resolution cites an excerpt from the Federal Title IX legislation, which says “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” It also cites the University’s nondiscrimination policy.
In the less competitive tier of intramural soccer games at the University, a goal scored by a woman is worth two points. In other sports, including basketball, women get mor points for the same accomplishments.
Wells said her group is open to conversation with students about the rules.
“We are very welcome to individuals coming and talking with us and sharing their concerns. We have a Student Advisory Committee that we present these kinds of suggestions,” she said.
She said the staff meets to look at what the national association recommends as well as what the rules other schools around the country are using.
Wells was accompanied by Recreational Sports Director Bill Canning and Assistant Director Nicole Green at last night's meeting.
Canning, a University alum, started his career as the director of co-recreational sports at UCLA in 1973. He told the body that when he started there, very few women participated in intramural sports.
“The philosophy behind co-ed sports is to keep both sexes involved in the game,” he said.
He said different kinds of modifications arise from different situations.
“When you combine men and women together, you must modify those rules to give each sex equal footing,” he said.
He cited a rule dictating batting orders in softball so pitchers can't intentionally walk male batters to get to female ones.
The resolution was scrutinized before being brought up for a vote.
LSA senior Weston Brunner, who opposed the resolution told a personal story from his time playing co-ed intramural soccer at Emory University before transferring to Michigan. He said that at Emory, which doesn't use modification rules, women tended to get very little playing time. Most stopped participating after the second game, he said.
“It is about having fun. If they’re riding the pine, they’re not having fun,” he said.
Some representatives said the resolution had good intentions, but not enough research had been done for the council to come to a sound conclusion.
LSA sophomore Mike Dunleavy said there would be “better grounds behind it if we had evidence.”