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On Monday, one of the biggest sports news networks, ESPN, proves the purpose and need for media outlets like becauseiplayedsports.com. The coverage of men and women’s sports are unevenly balanced.

 “Hoopalooza”, ESPN’s first annual College Hoops Tip- Off Marathon, kicks off today. It is 23 consecutive hours of college basketball coverage, 14 live games, and special college basketball related programs.

 According to http://www.espn.com  , the coverage will include a game played in five different United States time zones. There will be 14 different conferences and leagues playing. Sounds like any college basketball fans dream. Except if you’re a women’s college hoops fan.

ESPN, notes under a highlights list:

            -Nine live games on ESPN, including a women’s matchup.

Wow. One game. Although, I’m not sure why I would think there would even be one game, they did make it clear that “ the new initiative will highlight the beginning of the 2008-2009 men’s college basketball season.”

I’m not trying to knock ESPN, I am a men’s basketball fan and will more than likely tune into to watch a couple of the games. I am also not implying they don’t cover women’s basketball, in fact, they have a whole women’s basketball section of their website. However, my point is would this ever happen for women’s basketball? Could you imagine, 23 consecutive hours of women’s sports?

Not likely.

 

 

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Each week, I will be featuring Her Sports Rounds, a blog round-up of the best postings on women’s sports.

From stories of the best athletes to funny YouTube videos and Presidential nominees’ comments on Title IX, the women’s sports blogosphere brought a lot of great information to the table this week!

Sheila Weaver over at She Loves Sports reports on Europe’s sports woman of the year, Olympic pole vault champion and world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva.

At the Athletic Women Blog, Rob Mars posts a video of female athletes (namely Vicki Unus) in the circus from the 1960’s. Totally cool!

Over at C and R’s Stanford Women’s Basketball Blog, there are some funny YouTube videos that made me laugh – and wish I were somewhere near Stanford to see their games. My favorite is the Media Day video, found here.

Over at The Final Sprint, U.S. middle distance runner Sara Hall blogs about how she is re-inspired and motivated to start a new season.

Over at the Title IX blog, Kris discusses Senator McCain’s comment on Title IX and his concern for popular athletic programs that have been cut due to the need for equal funding for male and female athletic programs. Kris says,

“I have yet to see (though would be happy to) an athletic department that is equally funding its men’s and women’s programs.”

At Pretty Tough, Jane Schonberger praises Sports Illustrated for Faces in the Crowd, which covers females and males equally (shocker – because this publication usually doesn’t). Jane says,

“In addition to featuring athletes in sports such as soccer, volleyball and cross country, the magazine highlights girls who are participating in less traditional pursuits.”

Over at Women Like Sports, in her “Tales from the Inbox” post, Apryl Delancey discusses Lyndsey D’Arcangelo‘s new book, The Trouble with Emily Dickinson, and the Women’s Sports Foundation’s V is for Victory video campaign.

At the Women’s Hoops blog, Steve posts about Northwestern’s new coach Joe McKeown. Steve says, “seems to me he’s a good fit for the place.”

Over at the Women’s Sports blog, they discuss how Lorena Ochoa was featured in the Mexican version of British gossip mag Hello!. They say,

“It gives  lie to the yammerers who keep insisting she’s not that popular in the U.S. because she’s ‘unattractive,’ while at the same time emphasizes stereotypical class privilege and femininity at the expense of being real.  Ah, the magazine industry.”

– If I missed a great blog post, please be sure to add it to the comments below!

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Awhile back, I wrote about how Kacy Staurt, a 13-year-old field goal kicker got booted from her team, Georgia’s New Creation Center Crusaders, for being a girl.

Since then, Kacy’s mom has been fighting to try and allow her to play (she even commented on my blog – see link above).

Well, the story has caught major national attention (it even made ESPN) and it seems the publicity has worked!

Well, I just read that she’s cleared to play! So exciting!

Hank St. Denis, the head of the authority governing Georgia High School football, would not discuss the case, simply saying, “She’s playing, isn’t she?”

Apparently, this story is deeper than I thought.

SportingNews.com said that when the East Atlanta Mustangs played the Crusaders, they sent them a statement prior to the game about the religious implications of having a female kicker:

“The East Atlanta Mustangs didn’t play us under protest but they were allowed to read a statement on their beliefs about female football players,” [New Creation coach Ken] Townley said. “They used biblical verses from the book of Romans. I was very stunned by that.”

WHAT! hahahaha! First of all, Kacy is a kicker. Not a linebacker. Second, even if she was a linebacker, this makes them look nothing but scared.

Citing the bible? Are they kidding? Hilarious!

For the record, Stuart converted three extra points in her game against the East Atlanta Crusaders in a 39-8 victory.

YESSSS! GO KACY!

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Perry Lee Barber is one of the first female umpires in baseball history. Today, she’s sharing her story – and it’s a great one.

Women everywhere should listen.

An interview with Barber is posted on the Women’s Sports Foundation. Also, you can read Barber’s commentary on her personal blog, Officially speaking…

The interview on WSF is awesome – discusses how she grew to love Baseball (which is evident on Officially speaking…). She also mentions how the idea of umpiring came from her mother’s encouragement. (love it!) WSF writer Kelsey J. Koenen says,

“Barber’s work as a professional baseball umpire has blazed a trail for women umpires and begun to chip away at one of the last sports careers presumed to be reserved for men.”

This is evident in the picture at the left-hand side of this post (below). In that picture, the University of Michigan head coach and Mets manager were meet at home plate during a February spring training game with the first all-woman umpiring crew: Perry Lee Barber, Ila Valcarcel, Theresa Fairlady and Mona Osborne.

SO COOL!

But the journey to this point in time has not been easy. Barber mentions that she often feels alone in an occupation dominated by men.

WSF reports,

“At times, it was daunting, especially as a female, and the need to be confident and aggressive was vital. Soon Barber realized the good ball players learn control and claim their own power, not giving it to the umpire, who, Barber said, is merely a “conduit through which things flow.””

And when you’re alone, it helps to have some support. With more than 20 years of experience behind her, Barber has built a support network for female umpires. As WSF says, “Barber’s network continues to grow, and her plans are nowhere near through.” Barber says,

“I want to make sure there’s a mechanism in place by the time I die,” Barber said, “that women have of reaching out and finding and encouraging one another to view umpiring as a possibility in their lives, as one that’s fun and rewarding and that might eventually lead to one or more becoming major league umpires.”

I love this idea – and appreciate the fact that Barber is thinking beyond her own needs and situation toward a future of other women umpires.

Personally, I think her network should start on the blogosphere. She should encourage female umpires to create their own blogs and network online. That way, friendships and alliances can be built throughout the country and their voices will be heard. (Opposers will think twice before casting their public opinions when they know these ladies have blogs and online networks.)

Regardless, I’d like to wish Barber the best of luck. What she’s doing is truly special and means a lot to female athletes (and future umpires) everywhere.

More information can be found at perrybarber.com.

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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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Fourth seeded Serena Williams beat second seed  Jelena Jankovic, 6-4 7-5 in the U.S. Open tonight. She is now takes the throne again as the again top-ranked player in the world.

This is a big win, for Serena, Jankovic and women’s tennis. The Women’s Tennis blog said,

“The US Open final between Serena and Jelena can probably be named the most entertaining Grand Slam final of the season.”

This match moves Serena back to number 1 in the rankings.

“Serena Williams has returned to the No.1 in the rankings (pushing Ana Ivanovic to No.3), which is her 58th career week in the top spot. She was No.1 for 57 consecutive weeks between July 8, 2002 and August 10, 2003; at five years, one month, this is the longest-ever gap between stints at No.1. The 23-year-old Jankovic remains No.2.”

Exciting stuff, and great news for women’s tennis. It’s funny (and not surprising) that I got pinged for a New York Times report on the men’s U.S. Open winner, yet nothing for the women.

Also, just watching the local Channel 9 news, there was an entire report on the men’s results. And, of course, nothing on the women. (but there was a story on doggy surfing contests)

When are these girls going to get the credit they deserve?

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I’d like to extend a thank-you to Erica from Horsepower and Heels for including my blog in her Top 5 post for Blog Day 2008. It’s always an honor to be included in posts such as these.

Here’s what she had to say:

…Because I Played Sports
“Because I am really passionate about supporting women in sports of all kinds, this blog caught my eye for its coverage of women in all types of sports that are competing and kicking ass. Really great scope on women’s athletics, especially during this summer’s olympic games.”

I’ve added Horsepower and Heels to my blogroll because I support her position on competition and her professional career. Erica Ortiz is a dragcar racer who does an excellent job with her Horsepower & Heels brand and Web site. Her blog has the slogan, “Who says Horsepwer & Heels Don’t Mix?!? Back then they burned bras… now we BURN RUBBER!

Here’s what it says on her site:

“As a competitive and professional female in a predominantly male dominated sport, her story is appreciated well beyond the realms of hardcore race fans.  Because of her unique image, Erica’s reach and promotional abilities extend outside the racetrack.  From regular magazine coverage, prominent community membership & interaction on the web, radio, television, interviews and personal appearances are only a few of the benefits your company would be open to as a partner.   Erica is an outspoken individual in the racing industry, also contributing with occasional journalistic talent in several pen’d articles about the sport.   HorsepowerandHeels.com averages 300,000 hits and over 10,000 new visitors per month”

Keep up the great work, Erica, and best of luck with your company and racing!

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