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Expanding Football Roster Has Title IX, Logistical Issues


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Looming large are issues regarding compliance with the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX, especially the clause in the law called the “proportionality test.” This rule states that the number of men and women on varsity teams should be proportionate to the overall number of men and women enrolled at the school as full-time undergraduate students.


“I’d like to accommodate (Frost’s) desire” to expand the roster, Moos said in an interview Wednesday with HuskerOnline. “But we do have that issue with Title IX” along with locker room facilities challenges, organized practice schedules, and other daily management nuts and bolts to sort through.




Moos said there are not firm plans yet on how to accomplish that, but he expects to begin discussions with Frost, compliance and finance experts in the athletic department by early March. Those discussions will then be factored into athletic department budget plans for the 2018-2019 fiscal year that begins in July.




While there’s long been a mythical aura surrounding Nebraska’s walk-on program given its important to the team’s culture and success, there’s also no denying that adding 20 or so more walk-on athletes to the roster this year comes with significant legal and management challenges.


If Nebraska wants to raise the total number of athletes in football by about 20, here are some of the questions Frost and Moos must evaluate: Would the athletic department need to make cuts in male sports to stay in compliance with Title IX? Would the number of female athletes be expanded, raising the possibility of adding a new women’s sport? And what about taking several years to grow into a larger roster rather than all at once?



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Here’s one way to look at the financial commitment. Aside from tuition, room and board, walk-ons at Nebraska get many of the same benefits that scholarship athletes receive each year, according to a walk-on benefits brochure provided by the athletic department.


That covers academic resources, valued at $10,500, for things such as tutors and MacBooks; a food allowance of up to $640 in addition to provided meal plans; access to the student athlete assistance fund of up to $1,400, which provides reimbursement for car expenses, cell phone, furniture and business attire; and access to the training refueling stations, which provides $800 for protein shakes, fruit, and other healthy choices. All of this comes to an annual value of $13,340 per walk-on.


There’s more, according to the benefits brochure: A value of up to $2,500 for the athlete performance laboratory; and the potential for post-eligibility benefits of about $7,500 for career and academic advancement.


That adds up to a total benefits package valued at $23,340 per walk-on. That amount does not include equipment, Adidas apparel, gifts from post-season participation and complimentary admission -- four tickets to each home and away contest, and six to a bowl game, the athletic department said. In this regard, non-scholarship athletes receive the same benefits as athletes on scholarship.


By using $23,340 as a baseline, the total financial commitment for adding 20 walk-ons comes to $466,800. That does not include any additions or subtractions from other men’s and women’s sports to meet Title IX requirements.


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Well, cutting a men's sport would be the less desirable option, but It could happen.


Here is a list of B1G-sponsored women's sports that Nebraska does NOT participate in yet:

- Field Hockey (12-scholarship limit)

- Lacrosse (12)

- Rowing (20)


Nebraska has three non-B1G-sponsored Varsity Women's sports:

- Bowling (5)

- Rifle (3.6)

- Beach Volleyball (6)


And here are some other non-sponsored possibilities:

-Fencing (5)

-Hockey (18)

-Water Polo (8)


Additionally there are some sports that the NCAA has designated as "emerging sports" for women, and are actively trying to grow, including some incentives and grants:

-Equestrian (15)

-Rugby (12)

-Triathlon (6.5)

-Archery (formerly an "emerging sport", no longer regulated by NCAA, but can still count towards varsity athletes)

Edited by Kiyoat Husker
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18 minutes ago, Red Five said:

At some point doesn't having 150+ players become a coaching hindrance?  There has to be a tipping point somewhere.

You definitely have a point, and I am sure Frost and his staff are wondering what exactly is the magic number for the roster.  Frost wants to try to go with a bigger roster, and see how it goes for a couple years.  It's very possible that they realize they need to reduce the number of walk-ons and the roster size in order to better manage the team.

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2 minutes ago, Red Five said:


That was might first thought reading that list.


There aren't a lot of teams that compete in Division 1 at the moment, but you would have instant familiarity with Wisconsin, Ohio State, Minnesota and Penn State, who all have teams. That, and its a niche enough of a sport at this level that you could develop a solid following, similar to what UNO went through when they started their hockey program. 



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1 hour ago, GSG said:



Found a Report from 2011 that looked at Michigan State's revenue and costs by sport:



So for MSU in 2011, only the Football team turned a profit.  Three other teams at least provided revenue, even if they operated in the red:

Men's Hockey, Men's Basketball, and Women's Basketball.


All the other teams provided Zero revenue, because they didn't charge admission, (including baseball, softball and volleyball)


_CREW (rowing) was one of the highest-cost women's sports, at 1.1 million.

- Compare that with Men's Hockey: Revenue: 1.2 million, cost: 1.8 Million, net -0.6 mil.

- I'm sure Women's Hockey would draw less than Men's, but would at least provide SOME revenue vs. Zero for rowing.


* I'm guessing that if Women's Hockey was the only D-1 Hockey in Lincoln, it might actually draw very well.  We support Women's Basketball and Volleyball better than most Big Ten Schools.  The Bank can be converted to Hockey for games, and they already have a practice facility....

Edited by Kiyoat Husker
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1 hour ago, Red Five said:

At some point doesn't having 150+ players become a coaching hindrance?  There has to be a tipping point somewhere.


That will be the interesting part.  Frost has definitely talked about having 3-4 stations going at once so that "everyone" is actually getting reps instead of watching.  Even four stations times 30 guys (11 offense, 11 defense plus some subs) is 120 so there would still be a challenge to get everyone working.  


And there there's who would be in charge of each of the groups.  I would think the coaches would mostly be with the first group and maybe a little with the second group.  I suppose that leaves GAs to work with the other groups.

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