Soccer sorrows

By Beth Shiller

Junior Benjamin Smith loved the passion he shared with his teammates while playing soccer during his four years at Ursuline High School. But when he came to Youngstown State University, he was disappointed to learn that the school lacks an official men’s soccer team.

“It was almost a deterrent for coming to YSU,” Smith said. “Anywhere I go, I want soccer to be an integral part of my life.”

He is a part of various indoor leagues and lesser competitive leagues, but said he misses playing against other schools.

“They are nice outlets to have fun, but they aren’t the same competitiveness,” he said.

Elaine Jacobs, associate athletic director, said a number of sports were dropped in 1987 to reallocate funds to other sports programs.

“Simply by the fact that two women’s programs were dropped would lead me to think that the dropping of men’s soccer was not due to compliance with Title IX, but to reallocate resources,” she said.

According to, Title IX, passed in 1972, is “the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education” and “is best known for breaking down barriers in sports for women and girls.”

Jacobs said the bulk of the money for men’s sports goes to the football program.

“We would be working against Title IX by adding another men’s sport,” Jacobs said.

YSU sponsors 18 varsity sports, 10 for women and eight for men. Funding is divided equally between men’s and women’s programs, but men’s football receives $3,431,462 of the total $12,468,802.

“I like football. It’s a great sport, and we have a great tradition here, but we also have an immaculate intermural soccer following,” Smith said. “I think a lot of players there would agree with me that this quota takes away a lot of opportunity. Soccer has such a huge international presence that YSU should share with the Valley.”