The Region VIII Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has provided Brigham Young University results of a Title IX Compliance Review of the University's athletic program.
The report concludes that "BYU is considered to be in compliance with (Title IX) regarding athletic scholarships and regarding athletics," providing the University implements several changes outlined in its Corrective Action Plan submitted to DOE.The review, begun in March, was a routine examination of BYU's athletic programs to see if there was any evidence of discrimination on the basis of gender. Title IX of the 1972 Amendments to the Higher Education Act prohibits such discrimination.
"This letter of findings is not only very positive in its substance and tone, but it will be positively helpful to BYU," said BYU President Rex Lee. "It gives us the detailed guidance we need to fully comply with the law, and we will do everything in our power to meet our obligations as they are set out."
In a letter to the Office of Civil Rights, President Lee outlined the areas in which the University has agreed to make improvements. They include:
- Assessing the current and potential students' athletic interests and abilities. This will include an evaluation of women's sports popular in the region and in the Western Athletic Conference and a survey of current BYU students' interests in women's sports. In addition, the University agrees to implement additional women's sports, if necessary, to equally accommodate female students' interests and abilities.
- Providing additional competitive opportunities for women's athletic teams.
- Providing female athletes equivalent access to practice facilities.
- Providing female athletes equal access to training facilities and providing trainers for away competitions.
- Providing female athletes with equivalent housing arrangements when they are required to be on campus during official vacation periods.
- Providing equivalent sports information personnel coverage to women's teams, as provided to men's teams.
- Providing equivalent support for the broadcasting of events for women's teams.
- Providing support services and clerical staff to meet the needs of women's teams.
Lu Wallace, the Women's Athletic Administrator at BYU, said, "I feel very positive about the report. We were aware of most of the concerns that exist, so no big surprises surfaced. The survey on athletic abilities and interests will provide us with the information needed to determine the direction we will move in the next few years."
Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance from the Department of Education. Although BYU is a private university, it must abide by Title IX restrictions because students receive loans, grants, and other financial assistance from the federal government.