For just about two years now, I’ve been saying that if itweren’t for the near-unbearable winters, the University of Wisconsin would beperfect. The “work hard, play hard” mentality present here in Madisonis truly something special, something we may take for granted on a daily basis.But upon further review, I was wrong.UW has one more glaring blunder that until recently, I’vefailed to recognize. As Badger fans, we’ve been pampered with a trio of top10-caliber men’s sports programs, something very few collegiate fans get toenjoy.But to be quite honest, I’m greedy. This school has about30,000 undergraduate students. This school is part of the Big Ten Conference.This school, for crying out loud, should have a baseball team.In case you were wondering, the reason for the absence of abaseball team revolves around something called Title IX.Sort of.Title IX is a United States law enacted in 1972 to eliminatesex discrimination in schools. In its original form, the amendment nevermentioned discrimination in collegiate athletics; that came later.In 1979, the U.S. Department of Health, Education andWelfare instituted a three-prong test, which tested the compliance ofinstitutions’ compliance with Title IX. According to the test, institutionsmust either 1) provide athletic opportunities substantially proportionate tothe student enrollment, 2) demonstrate a continual expansion of athleticopportunities for the underrepresented sex or 3) provide full and effectiveaccommodation of the interest and ability of the underrepresented sex.Because of the ambiguity of these three prongs, Title IXprovides great room for interpretation. To me, it seems like as long as anygiven athletic department makes significant strides to expand its women’ssports programs, it is in compliance with Title IX.Proponents of Title IX are in favor of equity amongcollegiate athletics; that is clear, and I am all for it. Despite thedifferences in the level of play or revenue generated from sporting events,women’s teams should receive an equal amount of scholarships as men’s teams.Women’s teams should have the same practice opportunities and the same travelaccommodations as men, too. But let’s be honest — as of right now, women’ssports fail to create the excitement men’s sports create.If I sound pompous and chauvinistic, I’m sorry; I’m reallynot trying to be. Last year I covered the UW women’s basketball team andenjoyed every minute of it. I enjoyed going to games and watching JoleneAnderson shoot the lights out. The Badger women’s hockey team won back-to-backnational championships coming into this season, too. So obviously, WisconsinAthletics is doing something right on the women’s side of things.Again, I’m all for the expansion of women’s sports, just aslong as it’s not at the expense of the men’s, which it is currently doing.The funny thing is, Title IX advocates frown upon thedeletion of men’s sports to compensate for attention given to women’s. In nopart of the amendment does it require athletic departments to eliminate men’ssports programs, if you read the three-prong test. So my question is: Why can’tUW have a baseball team, a piece that’s been absent from the athletic puzzlesince 1991?Madison is one of only six Big Ten schools to field a men’shockey team and one of eight Big Ten schools to have a men’s soccer team. Thatsaid, in order to institute a baseball team, UW Athletics would need to getcreative, economically speaking. The fact that there is no equivalent forfootball in women’s sports makes things tricky as well.But it can be done. After all, Michigan pulls it off. J.J.Putz was a Wolverine.In a world dominated by males in the early 1970s, I applaudthe founders of Title IX, as equality among sexes in sports should be a desiredgoal for all.In a perfect world, the slogan for the professional softballleague, like Major League Baseball, would be “I live for this.”Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Until then,UW Athletics, bring back Wisconsin baseball.When the weather gets nice, I like to sit out at the Terraceand enjoy the company of Lake Mendota. But quite frankly, I’d rather be in thestands, enjoying web gems with a bag of peanuts in hand.?Derek is a sophomore majoring in economics. If you missbaseball as much as he does, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.