To the Editor:
Re “Dear Chancellor May — It’s time for ICA to stop playing games with student fees” by Paul Medved (guest opinion, Jan. 30):
I’m a big fan of UC Davis athletics and proud of our student-athletes’ stellar performance, both on the field and in the classroom. Intercollegiate athletics is where we interact most with the public, galvanize our alumni and supporters and burnish our reputation.
Sometimes misconceptions arise that threaten to tarnish our great reputation. When that happens, I need to respond.
A recent guest opinion suggests that our intercollegiate athletics program violates the student fee initiatives that help support it. The piece indicates that the university violated these initiatives when it cut four sports teams in 2010, during the Great Recession, and then mishandled $3 million in student fee revenue.
These are old claims. Missing from the piece is the crucial fact that two well-publicized, independent reviews found these allegations unsupportable. A 2011 investigation of the sports cuts found no misconduct, and a 2016 investigation found no policy violation or management concerns related to use of student initiative fee revenue.
The piece also misrepresented the university’s commitment to Title IX, the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in schools that receive public funds.
Every year between 2008 and 2015, the proportion of women and men in our intercollegiate athletics program has closely matched that of our undergraduate population, thus meeting the “substantial proportionality” test of the Title IX athletics regulations. In the recent years, however, the proportion of women in the undergraduate population has risen significantly, from 55 percent in 2012 to 59 percent today.
To adjust for this demographic change, we will add a new varsity women’s team in the 2018-19 academic year. I am excited about this opportunity. The decision on which team to add is still pending. We have a set of FAQs online that details the selection process.
Finally, the piece claims that UC Davis spends more on administering intercollegiate athletics than two of its rival schools combined. I am not sure where this information is derived, but it sure appears to be comparing apples and oranges.
At UC Davis, all of the compliance activity and academic advising for student-athletes is charged on the intercollegiate athletics budget, while many other universities cover these services in their student affairs budget. Our administrative costs encompass far more than administrators’ pay. More than half are for student-athlete services, including sports medicine, academic advising and strength/conditioning training and coaching.
UC Davis has thoroughly addressed and moved beyond the years-old claims revisited in the letter. We are operating in a new era with new leadership, and I have complete confidence in the leaders of our intercollegiate athletics program. They tirelessly support our student-athletes, provide great entertainment for our community and work closely with student leaders to address concerns.
GARY S. MAY, DAVIS
Gary May is the chancellor of UC Davis.
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