Boise State University has dropped men’s wrestling in pursuit of adding a baseball team to their athletic department. As a result of that, per the Bonner County Daily Bee, the school now must spend up to $1 million dollars more on women’s sports annually as well as update those facilities to meet standards set by Title IX.
Documents and budget reports from the school show that adding baseball, even with the cut to the wrestling program, still gives a significant advantage to men’s sports and facilities at BSU. The wrestling program was actually the lowest-budget men’s sport team on campus, and with that team getting the axe, the average quality and value of men’s facilities has now risen. The baseball team reportedly plans on moving into a new stadium that costs somewhere in the ballpark of $40 million.
An external Title IX consultant reported in 2014 that the new baseball team addition “may be interpreted as Boise State administrators choosing to improve the men’s program before remedying compliance concerns for women’s programs. Such actions may suggest that the administration of Boise State University has chosen — intentionally — to violate Title IX through intentional discrimination.”
In an effort to strengthen the average values of women’s facilities and meet proper standards, BSU made playing surface and sound system upgrades to Bronco Gym, where the women’s volleyball team plays. Additionally, the women’s swimming and diving team’s locker room has had some renovations, while AD Curt Apsey said that the department is planning upgrades to the softball pitch.
According to research done by the school, hundreds of thousands of dollars need to go towards women’s sports recruiting, travel budgets, equipment budgets, and housing/dining budgets, with special attention given to softball as baseball’s sister sport. This research also suggests possibly adding a women’s sport– water polo and lacrosse are mentioned. That isn’t to say that either sport is being seriously considered (Apsey said that “nothing is imminent”), but their additions are in the realm of possibility.
Water polo is only a varsity sport for women at four Mountain West institutions– San Diego State, San Jose State, Fresno State, and Hawaii. The Fresno State program was recently established last June. Though they all have teams, none of them compete in the Mountain West as the conference doesn’t sponsor the sport.