New York Times reporter Katie Thomas accused Marshall University woman’s tennis coach John Mercer of taking walk-on athletes who could not compete at the NCAA level to help satisfy Title IX requirements. Thomas also accused Marshall’s athletic department of encouraging woman’s athletics to accept walk-on’s while discouraging the same practice for men’s teams.
Here are the Marshall relevant parts of Thomas’s article:
Ever since Congress passed the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX, universities have opened their gyms and athletic fields to millions of women who previously did not have chances to play. But as women have surged into a majority on campus in recent years, many institutions have resorted to subterfuge to make it look as if they are offering more spots to women…….
At Marshall University, the women’s tennis coach recently invited three freshmen onto the team even though he knew they were not good enough to practice against his scholarship athletes, let alone compete. They could come to practice whenever they liked, he told them, and would not have to travel with the team……
South Florida is not the only university to open its rosters to women, no matter their skill level. Florida State and Marshall encourage their women’s coaches to accept many walk-ons — generally athletes who were not recruited — while often prohibiting or limiting the same practice on men’s teams.
At Marshall, John Mercer, the women’s tennis coach, added three freshman walk-ons to satisfy the athletic department’s 10-player team minimum. “They’re being nice and trying to help us fill the spots, to help our rosters,” he said. While practices are optional this year, a Marshall official said more will be expected of the walk-ons next year once their class schedules are arranged to accommodate regular practices.
The Office for Civil Rights does not require athletes to compete to be counted. Still, some have questioned why elite Division I programs are opening rosters to underqualified athletes.
Read the whole story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/sports/26titleix.html?_r=3&hp