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Archive for the ‘Title IX’ Category

A study was recently conducted about the perceived gender-equity barriers in college coaching and administration. In this study, which will be available on the NCAA website in November, it was found that 51.7 percent of female student-athletes said they would prefer their coach to be a male, with only 40.7 percent preferring their coach to be a female.

In a blog posted on the Double-a Zone, the writer skims the surface for what may be the cause of this, (at first glance), alarming finding:

“Before Title IX, sports were the jurisdiction of men and boys.  … Without early encouragement, which often came from fathers, many women may never have picked up a glove or shot a basket.”

Good point, Marta!  If it weren’t for my dad and the competition and influence of my male cousins, I probably never would’ve been as interested in sports as I eventually became.  By the age of 10, I was playing basketball, soccer, softball, and swimming all year round.  As many of my coaches as I can remember were male.  The only female influences I had as an athlete were my teammates, an assistant high school softball coach, and the men’s high school swim coach.  (Yes – the men’s team had a female coach, and the women’s team had a male coach, in 1996 nonetheless!)

It wasn’t until I got to the college level that I had my own personal experience with a female coach.  As a competitive, enthusiastic, and athletic female I was starving for female leadership.  The little interaction that I had with female coaches in high school was enough for those women to become my mentors and people that I idolized, not only as women, but as coaches, and leaders.  It is the lack of female leadership and mentoring that I had growing-up that has driven me to coaching and teaching.  To be able to influence a females life through athletics can provide one with great confidence, opportunity, self-esteem, and the strength to carry that female athlete through the rest of their life.

As a collegiate assistant coach of females and males, what is alarming to me is the low number of representation of females as coaches of women’s team.

In a study titled Women in Intercollegiate Sport, Linda Jean Carpenter, and R. Vivian Acosta, update an ongoing their longitudinal national survey, spanning 31 years.  The website also includes a one page synosis of Title IX, and other interesting information.

The two women, both professors emerita of Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, have been involved in Title IX and gender equity issues for over the last 30 years, and have also published a book titled, Title IX.

Now for the findings …

“42.8% of women’s teams are coached by a female head coach.
57.2% of women’s teams are coached by a male head coach.
2 to 3% of men’s teams are coached by a female head coach.
20.6% of all teams (men’s and women’s) are coached by a female head coach
WHEN TITLE IX WAS ENACTED IN 1972, OVER 90% OF THE HEAD COACHES FOR WOMEN’S TEAMS AND ABOUT 2% OF THE COACHES OF MEN’S TEAMS WERE FEMALES”

Don’t get me wrong, there were favorable findings to this study.

For example, participation of female athletes is at it’s highest ever, with 9101 teams across the board.  Also at an all-time high are the number of paid assistant coaches of women’s teams, the highest representation of female athletic directors since the mid 70s, and the highest ever number of females employed in intercollegiate athletics.

The study goes on to research the difference in number of female coaches per division, and the impact the sex of the athletic director has on the percentage of female coaches.

This study was reported on in Time magazine and the Associated Press in the summer of 2007.  The article in the Time’s, Where are the Women Coaches?, provides some answers.  There has been an increase in the attractiveness of coaching women’s teams with the increase in funding, publicity, and prestige, these jobs have become much more desirable to men.

Because of 80% of college athletic directors are men, this leaves these men, who decide to entire the world of coaching women, with a clear advantage over women.  When we fill these roles with men, we are not showing women that they can do anything.  We are showing women that they can succeed and excel in a male dominated world.  As a result:

“Their own expectations, their own aspirations are limited and distorted as a result,” says Marcia Greenberger, a co-president of the National Women’s Law Center.

In the Associated Press article, Deborah Rhode, a Stanford University law professor states: “Title IX opened so many more opportunities for women athletes, but it also made positions coaching women’s teams much more attractive to men.  Often women are facing barriers to getting those jobs that weren’t there when they were competing with other women and running those programs.”

From Where Are the Women Coaches?:  When the WNBA started in 1997, seven of its eight head coaches were women.  Now nine of its 13 coaches are MEN.  “Just as opportunities are opening up for women coaches, [these jobs] seem to be escaping them,” says NCAA president Myles Brand. “It’s ironic, even a bit cruel.”

Why is this happening?  Is this because the female athletes PREFER male coaches, or because the administration and the corporate offices PREFER male coaches?

I will be interested to read the complete findings of the NCAA gender equity survey, and you can be sure to read a blog here when those results are released to the public!

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I’ve been seeing more and more of this V is for Victory campaign flying around the blogosphere. For example, it can be found on one of my favorite bloggers’ sites, Women Like Sports.

The Women’s Sports Foundation is sponsoring/pioneering this campaign – which I completely support. (Hell – anything is something, right?)

Essentially, these are a series of videos dedicated toward getting girls to recognize if their schools are in compliance with Title IX regulations. Which is extremely important. But it can be done better.

I have to be a little bit critical of its transparency and its lack of digital creativity.

1) WSF should have their name all over it – should be completely transparent that this is where these messages are coming from.

2) The URL should not be confusing (which it is). Vis4victory.org. Wow. It’s far easier to just remember womenssportsfoundation.org. Why not create a micro site with its own (non-confusing) URL? Why is that so difficult? I mean, if you’re going to spring the $ for the video, why not spring for a place it can live permanently?

3) The videos (although true) are a bit unrealistic. Sometimes the inequity isn’t as obvious as these videos make them out to be. Case studies and testimonials would work much better. (not sure of legal issues surrounding that)

4) The questions in WSF’s poll are completely directed toward parents. This needs to change. The girls (themselves) should be answering these questions. It makes girls seem like passive watchers instead of active participants.

5) This campaign needs to be interactive (similar to Gonzaga’s inspired season). Why not have the poll in the video? Why not make this a YouTube video? Why doesn’t WSF create a YouTube video channel and hold contests for girls (i.e., best sports moment caught on film)? The possibilities are endless here.

I hope WSF is watching – and paying attention. Their campaigns could go so much further if the right perspectives were brought in.

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I came across this interesting article in the New York Times. It turns out wrestling has been a growing sport for women for the last twenty years. Girls are walking out onto the mat everyday across America, standing up, and utilizing their right to wrestle. According to the article, Women Want to Wrestle; Small Colleges Oblige,

“The inclusion of women’s wrestling in the Olympics beginning in 2004 provided a huge boost to the sport’s popularity and credibility. Five thousand girls nationwide wrestled in high school in the 2006-7 academic year, yet only eight colleges offer it as a varsity sport. Three of those eight programs are starting this fall.”

The more girls that wrestle in high school, the more girls that want to wrestle in college, and the more girls that move on to compete in the Olympics. The sport is growing, and it would be a shame for the girls to be limited or shut out of competing, because their university or institution did not have a women’s wrestling program. Wrestling has been under attack by opposers of Title IX. Unfortunately, wrestling is a sport that regularly gets cut in order for colleges and institutions to comply with Title IX rules and regulations. One supporter of women’s rights to wrestle has a great solution to everyone’s problems! Joey’s Wrestling room is a page dedicated to women’s wrestling. In “History of Wrestling” he states,

“At the collegiate level women’s wrestling is an ideal choice for creating new opportunities for women. In fact, women’s wrestling fits the NCAA criteria for emerging sports programs. Many schools that support a men’s wrestling program are out of compliance with Title IX – and money is always a factor. Adding women’s wrestling to an athletic program can save the athletic budget alot of money. Think about it. The coaches, the equipment, and the facilities are all in place. All that is needed is singlets and travel expenses. Economically it is the smart choice.”

Pretty Tough has already started to highlight the immerging sport of women’s wrestling. In a blog posted she states some of the facts about the sport:

  • “About 4000 girls wrestle at the high school level in the U.S. (compared to 239,000 boys), according to the USA Wrestling Association.
  • High school girls’ wrestling has only been sanctioned in two states: Hawaii and Texas (both since 1999).
  • Until girls’ wrestling teams are numerous enough to get state sanctioning, girls have to compete at informal divisions or meets instead of state tournaments�or compete against boys. In 2005, there were 17 girls who qualified for boys’ high school state tournaments around the country, and six of those girls placed.
  • The U.S. Girls Wrestling Association claims to be the future of the sport. They provide information of USGWA tournaments and events, as well as a discussion forum for female wrestlers and coaches.”
  • Hopefully in the next couple of years we will begin to see an increase in women’s wrestling and less cutbacks of men’s programs. After a highly publicized summer Olympics I don’t recall any coverage of women’s wrestling. Guess we have a ways to go.

    CORREECTION: (by Megan Hueter)

    Wrestling has not been under attack of the opposers of Title IX. The only thing that COULD BE criticized by wrestling coaches is the opportunity for women’s wrestling to be classified as an “emerging sport.” Wrestling has not made the NCAA’s seven-sport list to be classified as “emerging,” so there is really no argument here.

    Above, when I saw “wrestling coaches,” I am not referring to ALL wrestling coaches. I am referring to some (and it is coming directly from the New York Times),

    “Dozens of men’s teams have been eliminated over the past three decades, a phenomenon many coaches attribute to Title IX.”

    As you can see, it’s clear they are critics of the law. However, it’s not Title IX that has eliminated those programs. It’s the institutions and their decisions to distribute funds to other men’s programs which they may deem more valuable. (which is unfortunate)

    Also, to note, it’s not Title IX that is not allowing women’s wrestling to be classified as an emerging sport. It’s the NCAA. The problem is not with the law (it’s a good law that has created millions of opportunities for female athletes). The problem is with the institutions that govern the law and the politics that surround those decisions. It’s unfortunate for men AND women (sometimes) that this is the case.

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    Apparently, there was a huge Title IX case settled this week down at Florida Gulf Coast University.

    So much so – in fact – that you’re reading about it here, and you can find it on the Title IX blog, the Naples News and NBC.

    Essentially, a group of women including volleyball coach Jaye Flood and women’s golf coach Holly Vaughn registered concerns over Title IX violations in FGCU’s sports programs.

    The case won $3.4 million.

    Yay!

    Jaye Flood

    What’s particularly interesting is that Jaye Flood had the best record of any sports team in the school’s history. When she complained of gender inequity, she was rated poorly, suspended and ultimately fired.

    And that, my friends, is against the law.

    When I first read about this, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I mean, seriously? Does this still happen?

    Linda Correia, lead counsel for Flood and Vaughn, says, “This is the price of retaliation,” Correia filed the Title IX lawsuit earlier this year in Ft. Meyers, Florida with Public Justice, a national public interest law firm also based in Washington, DC.

    Here’s a little bit more background information on the women who filed suit.

    Coach Jaye Flood compiled a record of 80 wins and 13 losses in the first three years of the volleyball program, the best win-loss record of any coach in FGCU history.  In her team’s first year in Division I, Coach Flood’s team  won the Atlantic Sun Conference, and she was honored as the Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year.  After Coach Flood registered her gender equity concerns with the school, and despite her performance, FGCU rated her poorly and suspended her. Coach Flood was fired four days after filing her Title IX lawsuit.

    Holly Vaughn

    Holly Vaughn

    Women’s Golf Coach Holly Vaughn was a professional tour golfer when she developed FGCU’s women’s golf program, accumulating 11 tournament wins in her first four years of play and ranking as high as number 3 in its division.  Unlike male coaches, Coach Vaughn was not offered a full-time position and was not permitted to select her own assistant coach.  Coach Vaughn earned far less than male coaches, and was compelled to share her office in a trailer with a men’s team assistant coach.

    Coach Flood and Coach Vaughn complained about gender equity under Title IX and claim they were retaliated against as a consequence.  The law also prohibits retaliation for complaining about Title IX violations.

    It’s clear that Title IX needs to stay due to situations such as this. People can’t get away with this, and I’m so happy to see women like Jaye Flood and Holly Vaughn standing up for themselves and lawyers like Linda Correia representing us.

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