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How the University of Akron will change

When the Department of Education ruled that the University of Akron was in compliance with Title IX, it was with the stipulation that the inequities it found to exist would be corrected. The federal department found several areas of inequity. For example, although 15 percent of the school's athletes are women, they received only 5 percent of all financial aid. Also, the Department of Education determined that women were not given equivalent opportunity to participate in intercollegiate athletics and that there were twice as many men's teams as women's. It also found that women's teams were scheduled for less practice time and at less desirable hours. The coaching staff, scheduling of competition, level of competition, locker rooms, training facilities, and recruitment procedures all were found not to offer equal opportunity to men and women.

"They could have found a little more in some areas," says one person close to the University of Akron who observed the Department of Education investigation. "But this will help.

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"The university didn't jump into it when Title IX was first out. I would like to see it move a lot faster."

Says Charles Walker, whose fraternity filed the original complaint on behalf of some athletes: "Because of the change in administration [in Washington], we got the best we could out of it. We wanted to get the women's athletic program to first base, out of the basement. This will do that."

Donna Lopiano, president of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, which has fought for Title IX throughout its history, gives the Akron finding a 6 on a scale of 10. "It's a good sign that the findings are coming out." Investigations of several other colleges are complete at this time; the reports are expected in the near future.

The Department of Education plans to monitor the changes at the university. If the university does not hold up its end of the bargain, it risks the reopening of the complaint, although, admits the department's Jane Glickman, all the details of that "haven't been worked out yet." But she sees no roadblocks to finding the university not in compliance if it falls down on its bargain at some future date, despite the current finding of compliance.

At least one school is balking at the whole idea of an investigation. The University of Richmond filed suit last month against the Department of Education to stop it from investigating recent complaints. It claims it came through a routine compliance review of a variety of statutes with flying colors in 1979 and isn't willing to go through it again.

"The issue at this point is not whether the University of Richmond's athletic programs comply with Title IX, but whether these programs are subject to Title IX requirements at all since they do not receive federal funding," explains William H. Leftwich, vice-president for student affairs.

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