Before you accuse me of being a sexist pig, might I remind you that I have a wife and a daughter. And on the surface, Title IX is a good law. It allows women access to sports (as well as other areas). But when it is clearly slanted due to an agenda, it defeats the purpose of the legislation. Look no further than current DePaul Blue Demons‘ athletic director Jean Lenti-Ponsetto. She clearly abuses DePaul’s mens basketball team while giving the girls’ teams at the school everything they want and need.
Written in 1972, Title IX was designed to allow equal access. The most crucial part is…
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…
And those words have given women in our country some wonderful chances. For example, my wife was allowed to participate on the debate team in high school which opened up many opportunities in her life. In previous years, debate was an activity dominated by boys. While I could talk about my wife all day, let’s keep this to the men’s basketball program at DePaul.
While the DePaul men’s basketball team plays in an outdated Allstate Arena, the girls basketball team was built a new on-campus arena. The softball team was built a new stadium and the soccer teams (and this does apply to the men’s team as well) has a new field. But I promise you that the field was built primarily for the girls. Practice times and access to facilities are actually slanted towards women’s athletics.
So in essence, DePaul is actually committing reverse-discrimination. The men’s basketball program is being discriminated against due to gender. While anyone with half-a-brain would realize that a strong and relevant men’s basketball team will fund everything else DePaul wants to do athletically, DePaul’s administration thinks Lenti-Ponsetto is the greatest thing since sliced bread. So much so that they recently extended her contract. When I’ve reached out to the school’s president, he’s pointed to the improvements of some of the lesser-revenue sports. Mrs. Lenti-Ponsetto has not responded to my correspondence (despite me being a men’s season-ticket holder and booster). Throughout the athletic department, she’s surrounded herself with her old cronies and yes people that reinforce how great of a job she’s doing. And apparently it’s working. No one will tell her that her agenda has ruined men’s basketball.
If you ask people around the country about DePaul, do you think that any of them give two craps about the women’s golf team (words I told the school’s president)? Being a non-football school, you’re known for your men’s basketball team. I’m sure that Butler and Georgetown have some wonderful women’s programs, but does anyone really care? While Title IX mentions equal access, it doesn’t force us to watch women’s sports (and I did watch and support our softball team while I was a student). So in essence, our athletic director has made it her mission that if DePaul fans want to see more successful programs, you’d better start watching our girls. Because you’ll get no joy from our men’s basketball program.
Maybe one day, someone at the school will have the guts to stand up for the male athletes. As long as there’s Lenti-Ponsetto, men’s basketball will be a laughing stock while our esteemed athletic director is showered with praise and awards. Just because she’s a poster-child for success through women’s athletics (she played four sports at DePaul) doesn’t mean it has to be shoved down our freaking throats. As the bio on the DePaul Athletic website points out…
Since moving into an administrative position over 20 years ago at DePaul, Ponsetto has had a significant impact on the status of the DePaul intercollegiate sports scene. She introduced four women’s sports – indoor and outdoor track, cross country and women’s soccer – to varsity status.
Your honor, I rest my case.