Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Madison in need of baseball team

For just about two years now, I’ve been saying that if it
weren’t for the near-unbearable winters, the University of Wisconsin would be
perfect. The “work hard, play hard” mentality present here in Madison
is truly something special, something we may take for granted on a daily basis.

But upon further review, I was wrong.

UW has one more glaring blunder that until recently, I’ve
failed to recognize. As Badger fans, we’ve been pampered with a trio of top
10-caliber men’s sports programs, something very few collegiate fans get to


But to be quite honest, I’m greedy. This school has about
30,000 undergraduate students. This school is part of the Big Ten Conference.
This school, for crying out loud, should have a baseball team.

In case you were wondering, the reason for the absence of a
baseball team revolves around something called Title IX.

Sort of.

Title IX is a United States law enacted in 1972 to eliminate
sex discrimination in schools. In its original form, the amendment never
mentioned discrimination in collegiate athletics; that came later.

In 1979, the U.S. Department of Health, Education and
Welfare instituted a three-prong test, which tested the compliance of
institutions’ compliance with Title IX. According to the test, institutions
must either 1) provide athletic opportunities substantially proportionate to
the student enrollment, 2) demonstrate a continual expansion of athletic
opportunities for the underrepresented sex or 3) provide full and effective
accommodation of the interest and ability of the underrepresented sex.

Because of the ambiguity of these three prongs, Title IX
provides great room for interpretation. To me, it seems like as long as any
given athletic department makes significant strides to expand its women’s
sports programs, it is in compliance with Title IX.

Proponents of Title IX are in favor of equity among
collegiate athletics; that is clear, and I am all for it. Despite the
differences in the level of play or revenue generated from sporting events,
women’s teams should receive an equal amount of scholarships as men’s teams.
Women’s teams should have the same practice opportunities and the same travel
accommodations as men, too. But let’s be honest — as of right now, women’s
sports fail to create the excitement men’s sports create.

If I sound pompous and chauvinistic, I’m sorry; I’m really
not trying to be. Last year I covered the UW women’s basketball team and
enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoyed going to games and watching Jolene
Anderson shoot the lights out. The Badger women’s hockey team won back-to-back
national championships coming into this season, too. So obviously, Wisconsin
Athletics is doing something right on the women’s side of things.

Again, I’m all for the expansion of women’s sports, just as
long as it’s not at the expense of the men’s, which it is currently doing.

The funny thing is, Title IX advocates frown upon the
deletion of men’s sports to compensate for attention given to women’s. In no
part of the amendment does it require athletic departments to eliminate men’s
sports programs, if you read the three-prong test. So my question is: Why can’t
UW have a baseball team, a piece that’s been absent from the athletic puzzle
since 1991?

Madison is one of only six Big Ten schools to field a men’s
hockey team and one of eight Big Ten schools to have a men’s soccer team. That
said, in order to institute a baseball team, UW Athletics would need to get
creative, economically speaking. The fact that there is no equivalent for
football in women’s sports makes things tricky as well.

But it can be done. After all, Michigan pulls it off. J.J.
Putz was a Wolverine.

In a world dominated by males in the early 1970s, I applaud
the founders of Title IX, as equality among sexes in sports should be a desired
goal for all.

In a perfect world, the slogan for the professional softball
league, like Major League Baseball, would be “I live for this.”

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Until then,
UW Athletics, bring back Wisconsin baseball.

When the weather gets nice, I like to sit out at the Terrace
and enjoy the company of Lake Mendota. But quite frankly, I’d rather be in the
stands, enjoying web gems with a bag of peanuts in hand.


Derek is a sophomore majoring in economics. If you miss
baseball as much as he does, you can e-mail him at
[email protected].

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