A primer on how to use databases to investigate Title IX compliance on your own campus

Sports journalism should include far more than game reports, reviews, columns and the occasional profile. The best sections address important issues related to sports.

Title IX is one of the most significant issues on college campuses, but it is a topic that is rarely reported in college media, which is a shame since the data is out there. So I’m always impressed when I find solid stories like this one by the Badger Herald’s Anne Blackbourn and this one by several writers at the Amherst Student.

Let’s look at some ways to develop a story using a database. In this case, I’ll address Title IX.

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Use financial data to offer context on college athletics

knight commissionResearch into athletics spending has never been easier for college sports media thanks to both the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and the USA Today athletics/coaches’ salary databases. These resources enable college sports journalists to compare finances in order to develop numerous comparisons. This morning, for example, I played with financial data related to both our school (Eastern Illinois University) and our conference (Ohio Valley) that has yielded information for at least a few stories worth investigating.

Here is a sampling of data about EIU’s spending based upon 2012 finances from the Knight Commission database: EIU ranks ninth among 10 OVC schools in total athletic spending at $29,159 per FTE. [Data for Belmont and SIU-E were unavailable.] Southeast Missouri spent $259 less overall per FTE than EIU does. EIU spent $12,550 more on athletics (FTE) than on academics. In this category, EIU ranks at the bottom. Murray State, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State, meanwhile, each spent more than $30,000 more per FTE on athletics than on academics.

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