Executive Policy Manual

EP44 – Athletics Gender Equity Policy

Approved October 5, 2022


Purpose

Washington State University (WSU) strives to provide equitable opportunities, participation, resources, and support for students participating in athletics. This policy outlines WSU’s athletic practices with respect to Title IX of the 1972 Educational Amendments (34 CFR 106), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, and supplements WSU’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment, Executive Policy Manual EP15.

Although the Department of Education confirms that Title IX protections extend to sexual orientation and gender identity, federal guidance specifically relating to athletic opportunities is still binary in nature. WSU acknowledges the need to comply with federal regulations and guidance under this policy but supports the rights of all students participating in athletics, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Participation

WSU provides equitable participation opportunities to students participating in athletics.

For intercollegiate men’s and women’s teams facilitated by WSU Athletics, WSU provides opportunities that are substantially proportionate to their respective enrollment. For intramural or club sports, WSU endeavors to fully and effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of students in an equitable manner, or given available resources, opportunities substantially proportionate to enrollment.

WSU maintains records of participation opportunities that are provided to student participants, as well as changes or updates to participation throughout the year. WSU assesses these records on a yearly basis for compliance with this policy. Note: This review is limited to athletic teams that qualify as a “team” in accordance with federal guidance. The determination of whether a team qualifies may be related to athletic ability, intercollegiate competitive opportunities, a defined season, purpose of the team, administration of the team, and whether the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights recognizes the sport.

Request for New Sport or Status Change

Students who wish to compete in a club or varsity sport not currently offered by WSU may petition the following individuals:

  • For varsity sports: WSU Athletics; e-mail athletics.director@wsu.edu;
  • For the Pullman campus: Programming Director, University Recreation (UREC); e-mail urec@wsu.edu;
  • For the non-Pullman campuses: Intramural or club sports may be offered at WSU locations outside of Pullman. Petitions for additional sports may be made to the campus Deputy Title IX Coordinator or the advisor responsible for student athletic opportunities.

In reviewing petitions, WSU considers level of interest from students, ability, available intercollegiate competitive opportunities, whether providing additional opportunities would comply with Title IX, and other internal applicable policies.

Financial Support and Scholarships

When WSU provides athletics scholarships or financial support related to athletics to students, funding is to be equitable amongst male and female students, except where legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons for a larger disparity exist. Some legitimate reasons for a disparity in financial support include, but are not limited to:

  • Need or merit based;
  • Out-of-state tuition costs;
  • Funding shifts due to enrollment changes (e.g., financial support budgeted for a student that later decides not to attend the institution); and
  • Reasonable program development decisions (e.g., spreading scholarships over a four-year period, reserving awards for future years).

WSU Athletics maintains records of athletic scholarships or financial support related to athletics, as well as changes or updates to participation throughout the year. WSU Athletics assesses these records on a yearly basis for compliance with this policy.

Treatment

WSU strives for equitable treatment of male and female students in athletics. In assessing equity, WSU considers the men’s and women’s programs overall, the unique nature of each individual sport, the availability, quantity, and quality of benefits and resources, and whether there are any factors that offset other factors. WSU’s equitable treatment extends to:

  • The provision of equipment and supplies;
  • Scheduling of games and practice times;
  • Travel and per diem allowance;
  • Opportunity to receive coaching and academic tutoring;
  • Provision of locker rooms, practice, and competitive facilities;
  • Provision of medical and training facilities and services;
  • Provision of housing and dining facilities and services;
  • Publicity;
  • Recruitment; and
  • Other support services.

WSU considers equity by reviewing the above areas over the entire men’s program and women’s program. WSU engages in an equitable treatment review annually.

Discrimination and Harassment

Employees and students participating in WSU athletic opportunities are required to adhere to EP15. EP15 prohibits discrimination based on sex and sexual harassment, including sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence. For more information on this policy, contact Compliance and Civil Rights (CCR).

Pregnant and Parenting Students

Students may not be discriminated against due to pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, or marital status. When a student involved in athletics is pregnant, they must be offered leave during childbirth (or as medically needed) and offered reinstatement into their program after childbirth.

Reporting Concerns

Employees and students are encouraged to report potential violations of this policy to the WSU Title IX Coordinator, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics, or CCR.

CCR conducts investigations into misconduct under the provisions of the WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment, EP15, and CCR’s Procedural Guidelines. Retaliation against individuals reporting misconduct is prohibited.