Setting the Record Straight: Correcting Erroneous Information on Lafayette's Distribution of Athletically Related Student Aid

June 27, 2007

EASTON, Pa. - In the current issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Lafayette is incorrectly listed among the colleges that gave the smallest proportion of scholarship aid to female athletes, relative to their proportion of all athletes, in the 2005-06 academic year.

The faulty information is contained in a table that accompanies an article entitled "Title IX Enforcement Called 'Deeply Troubling'" in the Chronicle's June 29 issue.

Based on incorrect data drawn from the Department of Education's online Office of Post Secondary Education Equity in Athletics Database, the Chronicle reports that women made up 53.2 percent of all students participating in intercollegiate athletics at Lafayette in 2005-06 and that the College allocated 39.4 percent of athletically related student aid to women athletes, resulting in a difference in these proportions of 13.8 percent.

Actually, however, the percentage of women athletes in 2005-06 relative to the total number of athletes was 44.5 percent, and the difference between the percentage of women athletes and the proportion of athletically related student aid allocated to women was 5.1 percent.

The error in the Chronicle occurred because the Department of Education database incorrectly lists the unduplicated number of women athletes in 2005-06 as 59 and the unduplicated number of men athletes as 52. Based on this, the Chronicle reports that women made up 53.2 percent of the total number of athletes.

However the actual unduplicated number of women athletes was 233, or 44.5 percent of the total number of 523 athletes. The Chronicle correctly lists the proportion of athletically related student aid allocated to women as 39.4 percent. Hence the difference between the percentage of women athletes and the proportion of athletically related student aid allocated to women is 5.1 percent.

The unduplicated number of men athletes in 2005-06 was 290, or 55.5 percent of all athletes. Men were allocated 60.6 percent of athletic aid, a difference of 5.1 percent on the plus side.

The Office of Post Secondary Education's athletics database erroneously gives the numbers of women and men athletes who played more than one sport (59 and 52, respectively) in 2005-06 as the total unduplicated numbers of women and men athletes, noted Bruce McCutcheon, director of athletics, who has taken steps to see that the errors are corrected.

"We are eager to set the record straight on this. We are firmly committed to equity in the allocation of athletically related student aid, and our program is certified for conforming to NCAA operating principles in that area as well as in academic integrity, governance, and rules compliance," McCutcheon said.

"But in spite of our commitment and the NCAA credentialing that reflects our good record on equity, because the vast majority of the athletic aid we distribute is based on the students' demonstrated financial need, it is not possible to employ a formula that will ensure an outcome of perfect equity in the distribution of aid to men and women athletes each year. The figures for 2005-06 reflect that."

Lafayette offers 23 varsity sports, 11 for men, 11 for women and one that is coed.