As it moves forward with the addition of baseball to its athletic programs, Boise State will likely need to increase its investment in women’s sports.
In April, Boise State announced that it was planning to add baseball to its offerings in the coming years, effectively reinstating a sport it had not fielded in decades. While no specific timeline was presented for when the baseball program will begin, Boise State did reveal that it intends to drop its wrestling program.
The result is one that will likely affect Boise State’s financial outlook, and how much money it spends on men’s programs as compared to women’s. Baseball is projected to cost the school more money than wrestling, and the extra expense for a men’s sport does change the university’s outlook when it comes to Title IX compliance.
To address the increased disparity between men’s and women’s sports, Boise State will need to look to invest in areas of its women’s athletic programs. Removing wrestling from the mix increases the gap between men’s and women’s facilities, and that gap may only grow depending upon where Boise State’s baseball program ends up playing. More from the Idaho Statesman:
According to Boise State documents and emails, the athletic department faces “additional scholarship and facility challenges within gender equity” with a “significant disparity” in facilities and a “significant advantage” for men’s teams in recruiting, travel and housing/dining budgets with the addition of baseball.
Cutting wrestling, which had what Boise State’s documents termed “terrible facilities,” actually widened those gaps. The wrestling team’s budget also was among the department’s lowest. With wrestling removed from consideration, the average men’s facility is superior to what the women have — and that’s before the baseball team likely moves into a brand-new, $40 million stadium proposed by the Boise Hawks.
“Disparities between male and female programs would increase in significance, most severe related to facilities,” according to a Boise State report on the possibility of eliminating wrestling and adding baseball. “… Gymnastics practice facility (was) canceled out due to wrestling, swimming locker room (was) canceled out due to wrestling.”
Boise State officials told the Idaho Statesman that the process to upgrade women’s sports facilities has begun. Softball’s Dona Larsen Park is among the venues that could be improved in the near future.
Though the plans have not been finalized, the Hawks have made some progress on obtaining a new downtown ballpark that could host both minor league and collegiate baseball. The venue has also been discussed as a possible soccer venue, with the USL previously mentioned as a possible fit.
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