When Florida State finished its 14-3 drubbing of Providence College in the second round of the NCAA regional baseball tournament on Memorial Day, it wasn't just the end of the season for the Friars. It was the death of the team.

Last October Rev. Philip A. Smith, Providence's president, declared that the men's baseball, tennis, and golf programs would be discontinued at the end of this school year in the name of gender equity and compliance with the federal law known as Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination at schools that get federal funds (i.e., practically all of them). So after 78 years of Providence baseball and a 49-16 season that saw the team ranked as high as 26th in the nation, the Friars have hung up their cleats for good.

The story is by now familiar: Women constitute 59 percent of the student body at Providence but only 43 percent of the athletes. There is no evidence that Providence has denied athletic opportunities to its female students; rather, they have declined to participate at the same high rates as the male students. But unequal participation is tantamount to discrimination under the Clinton Education department's Title IX enforcement guidelines, not to mention the egalitarian theories of feminist litigants. So, like such bastions of putative sexism as Brown University, Providence is rolling back men's sports. Michelle Hackmer, a varsity swimmer for Providence, told the New York Times, "Sure, we want women athletes to be treated fairly, but at this expense? I don't think this is what Title IX was supposed to be about." Maybe not, but it's exactly what Title IX now is about.