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University of Iowa News Release

April 25, 2005

Athletics Merger Review Committee Submits Report, Recommendations

The University of Iowa should designate a specific individual to serve as gender equity advocate within the Department of Athletics; minimum and maximum team sizes should be established to reduce under-representation of women on athletics teams compared with the percentage of women enrolled at the UI; and coaches should be allowed greater participation in marketing decisions, a UI committee said in a report assessing gender equity issues nearly five years after the consolidation of UI women's and men's athletics programs.

The Athletics Merger Review Committee made a total of 25 recommendations in its report, which UI President David Skorton released today.

The full report may be downloaded as a PDF file at:

The report's cover letter to Skorton, written by committee chair Elizabeth Altmaier, may also be downloaded as a PDF file at:

In the letter, Altmaier, a professor in the UI College of Education's Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations and Faculty Athletics Representative, said, "Overall, the Committee would characterize the merger as a positive action that brought men's and women's athletics programs into alignment and that created a single department with shared academic and athletic goals. For the student-athletes we interviewed, who we believe are the most important constituency in our review, the merged department is clearly desirable."

She continued, "In any endeavor as complicated as this one, there are inevitable difficulties to resolve, and our report notes areas which we believe merit continued attention. We also provide a series of recommendations that we formulated to address specific concerns and to promote a deeper appreciation of gender equity within the department."

In accepting the report, Skorton thanked the committee for its efforts and said he was releasing the report immediately to encourage university and public response.

"The University of Iowa has a well-deserved tradition as a national leader in its commitment to gender equity in athletics, and that expectation is reflected in the recommendations contained within this report. I thank the committee for its review and its candid recommendations," Skorton said. "I am making the report available so that the entire community will have an opportunity to review it. I hope it will stimulate continued dialogue, which will help me to decide how to respond to the recommendations, which I will do at a later date.

"The report makes clear that there is room for improvement, but I am also very pleased with the findings that our women student-athletes -- indeed, all of our student-athletes -- express enthusiasm about the merged athletic department," Skorton added. "Just as important, the report confirms that there has been a equitable allocation of financial resources to women's and men's programs under the merged department. That is a particularly important finding over a period in which there have and are continuing to be substantial reductions of General Education Fund support for the Department of Athletics.

"The positive reports from everyone regarding Athletics Student Services and the success of the Gerdin Athletics Learning Center are worthy of special mention," Skorton said.

"I will work with the Athletics Department over the coming weeks to study the recommendations and make decisions on how best to implement them," the UI president said. "I know that Athletics Director Bob Bowlsby, Senior Associate Athletics Director Jane Meyer and their colleagues in the department are up to the challenge of meeting the highest standards regarding this essential issue."

The committee was appointed by Skorton in fall 2004 to review the merger of the UI men's and women's athletics programs, which took place in August 2000. Skorton requested the review in accordance with expectations expressed at the time of the merger and as an aid to a UI self-study being conducted in preparation for the NCAA re-certification process currently underway.

The committee was asked to study a variety of issues, including assessments of the climate for female athletes, staff and coaches; equitable allocation of financial and other resources; authority exercised by the position of senior women's athletics administrator as proposed by the original task force that recommended the merger; the athletics department's leadership in serving as an advocate for women's programs; and the role of women in the leadership/organizational structure of the athletics program.

Members of the merger review committee are:

*Elizabeth Altmaier, committee chair and professor in the College of Education's Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations;

* Dan Anderson, professor of mathematics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences;

* Margaret Burchianti, anthropology student in the Graduate College;

* Mark Kresowik, undergraduate student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences;

* Rod Lehnertz, director of Campus & Facilities Planning, Facilities Management

* Lola Lopes, associate provost for undergraduate education;

* David Manderscheid, professor and chair of mathematics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

* Pam Trimpe, curator, UI Museum of Art and Pentacrest museums;

* Charlotte Westerhaus, assistant to the president and director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

STORY SOURCE: University Relations, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1000.

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott,, phone 319-335-0552, cell 319-530-6972