Why doesn’t UW-Eau Claire have a Varsity Baseball Team?

How Title IX has affected the UW-Eau Claire Eau Claire Baseball club

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Why doesn’t UW-Eau Claire have a Varsity Baseball Team?

The UW-Eau Claire men’s baseball club poses for a photo after their Winona State game last year.

The UW-Eau Claire men’s baseball club poses for a photo after their Winona State game last year.

Photo by SUBMITTED

The UW-Eau Claire men’s baseball club poses for a photo after their Winona State game last year.

Photo by SUBMITTED

Photo by SUBMITTED

The UW-Eau Claire men’s baseball club poses for a photo after their Winona State game last year.

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As spring is beginning to set in, the UW-Eau Claire Men’s Club Baseball team is making their way onto the baseball diamond.

This week the team began practicing for their first game which takes place April 8. against Whitewater at home. As they begin to practice and prepare for the season just as any other team does, one can’t help but wonder in a state where baseball is a major sport, why doesn’t Eau Claire have a varsity team?

The answer to that is Eau Claire did in fact have a Varsity Men’s Baseball Team at one point. According to Assistant Athletic Director Jill Millis, the last year that they played was the 1994-1995 school year. Answering why this happened is not easy. It comes down to Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972.

Title IX is a federal law which states, “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.”

The NCAA website states that Title IX effects college athletics in three ways; participation, scholarships and other benefits. The first is scholarships. Scholarships can only be awarded to male and female athletes in an amount proportional to their participation.

Next is other benefits. These include equal treatment of equipment, supplies, scheduling, practice times, travel, tutoring, coaching, locker rooms, etc.

The final way is participation. Title IX requires that women and men get equal opportunities to participate in sports. This doesn’t mean the sports must be identical, just that the opportunity to play must be equal.

The participation aspect is what is stopping the baseball team from being a varsity sport. The NCAA website states that schools must “provide participation opportunities for women and men that are substantially proportionate to their respective rates of enrollment of full-time undergraduate students.”

Eau Claire student Casey Grosshauser is an active member on the team who has not been able to play due to injuries.

“The funding isn’t there,” Grosshauser said. “It would make the men have one more varsity sport compared to the women, so there would have to be another women’s varsity sport being implemented as well.”

Despite not being a varsity team, there are perks to club sports. Club teams have a little bit more independence. Jon Bollinger, the Student Service Program Manager at the University Recreation Facility, explained how the club teams work.

“The clubs are all managed by the clubs themselves,” Bollinger said . “I oversee everybody to make sure that they’re doing things the right way, but they do their own scheduling of games, set up their own practices, make their own travel arrangements for away games. The bigger clubs such as baseball still play at conferences similar to what varsity teams do.”

While the fate and future of a varsity baseball team is unknown, Blugolds can still be proud of having such a well-organized program for club teams and a baseball team that has endured through change.

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