ESPN.com columnist and DT reader Dan Shanoff [hey, Dan!] forwarded this story which is apparently burning up the bandwidth over there: defensive tackle Eric Butler has filed a Title IX discrimination suit against the NCAA after he was repeatedly denied an eligibility waiver so he can play an additional season for Kansas University. The basis for his waiver: paternity leave.
Seems Butler's biological clock was ticking at the same time his footballogical clock was, and so he's seeking a "paternity waiver" comparable to the NCAA standard "maternity waiver" for the year he took off in 2001 to take care of his newborn daughter. The NCAA has denied multiple appeals by both Butler and KU, claiming it's actually a "pregnancy waiver," intended only for athletes who are pregnant, end of story.
Here's the statute language, as quoted in the Lawrence Journal-World :
"A member institution may approve a one-year extension of the five-year period of eligibility for a female student-athlete for reasons of pregnancy.”Seems possible, but also kind of a stretch.
The language of the bylaw, Butler argues, doesn’t necessarily mean the time off has to be while a female is pregnant and could be after the child is born (also known as maternity leave). No such waiver exists for a male who needs time off to care for a child after birth — referred to as “paternity leave” in the lawsuit.
KU's offered Butler a scholarship for 2006-7 if he can get his eligibility ironed out; for in-state tuition, we're talking $2,400/semester, so a full ride's gotta be under $10-15K, max. Man wants to pummel his brains out for a year for that kind of dough, I don't see what the NCAA's being so uptight about. Unless it's setting a precedent, which'd result in waves of knocked up groupies as programs try to hold onto their star players by turning them into baby daddies.