The University of New Mexico’s athletic director and president together published a letter on the school’s athletic website this week announcing that an independent review had found the school struggling to meet federal Title IX requirements.
The letter was published along with the full report, which provided several recommendations to the school on how to regain Title IX compliance.
Title IX is best known for its mandates on gender equality. In the letter, athletic director Eddie Nuñez notes that understanding Title IX compliance can be complicated, but says “it is clear from the independent review that the University is falling short.” The school added beach volleyball as a women’s sport in 2015, which gave UNM temporary compliance and a grace period, but that program’s lack of a full-time head coach and lack of an on-campus facility are now issues for the school in its endeavors to meet Title IX’s requirements.
To make matters worse, the athletic department is also struggling with its own budget. The letter says that financial audits have “led to the conclusion that aggressive action to create significant savings will be required to avoid jeopardizing the future integrity of the entire athletic program.”
The report itself notes that women’s swimming & diving was UNM’s first women’s intercollegiate sport, added to the athletic department in 1972. The school now has 12 women’s sports and 10 men’s sports. But scholarships heavily favor the men. According to the report, the total scholarships spent on the football team ($2.93 million) are greater than the scholarship dollars spent on all of the school’s women’s sports combined ($2.83 million).
The report makes a number of suggestions, including shuffling roster sizes to bring the school into participation balance. As of 2016-2017, the school’s athletic department had participation from 317 men and only 247 women. 110 of those men are on the football team. The report recommends boosting the women’s swimming roster from 22 to 35.
You can read the UNM letter here and the full report here.