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Posts Tagged ‘NCAA’

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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Sunday night in Indianapolis the NCAA announced Nkolika “Nicky” Anosike 2008 Woman of the Year.  Anosike led the Lady Vols of Tennessee to back-to-back Women’s Basketball National Championships.  Being an avid watcher of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and regular season play, I could not be happier with the NCAA’s decision!  Not only is Anosike a household name, at least in my house, but a woman with tremendous talent, who carries herself with such pride and confidence!

Anosike’s success spans across much more than the basketball court.  Anosike has many noteworthy achievements.  Her academic and athletic success combined is incomparable to most, and I do not think anyone will disagree on how deserving she is of this award.

Academic achievements: Graduated in May 2008 with a triple major in political science, legal studies and sociology. SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2005-08. ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American second-team, 2007-08. Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholarship winner for Tennessee, 2008.

The recipe for determining the winner: “The annual Woman of the Year award recognizes outstanding female student-athletes who have excelled in academics, athletics, leadership and service. A committee composed of representatives from NCAA member schools and conferences selected the top 30 – 10 from each division – from 130 conference and independent nominees. From the 30 honorees, nine finalists – three from each division – were chosen.”

The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics selected Anosike from nine finalists:

“1.  Susan Ackermann, Salisbury (lacrosse), Capital Athletic Conference
2.  Nkolika Anosike, Tennessee (basketball),Southeastern Conference
3.  Jennifer Artichuk, Delta State (swimming and diving), Independent
4.  Shanti Freitas, Smith (swimming and diving), New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference
5.  Arianna Lambie, Stanford (cross country, track and field), Pacific-10 Conference
6.  Samantha Mitchell, Mount Olive (volleyball, track and field), Conference Carolinas
7.  Lindsey Ozimek, Charlotte (soccer), Atlantic 10 Conference
8.  Sarah Schettle, Wisconsin-Oshkosh (track and field, cross country, swimming), Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
9.  Heather Walker, Georgian Court (volleyball, softball), Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference”

I think that this is an amazing award and a great way to showcase female athletes.  Only ONE winner of this award has been a Division III Athlete.  EVERY other winner competed at the Division I level.  Now, I understand Division I is the highest level of competition, thus you are going to find the most successful and talented women competing for Divisioin I.  HOWEVER, having been a: 4 year varsity athlete, 2 time NCAA All-American, team captain, 4 time All-Conference, and a 4 time NCAA qualifier, in Division III swimming, something is to be said for the Division III student-athlete.  Where is the recognition for non-scholarship athletes?  The athletes that compete simply for the love of the game.

The athlete that gets out of bed every morning at 5:30am for swim practice, goes to class all morning, comes back to the pool to swim again, and then hits the weightroom, just to go home, eat dinner, do some homework, and wake up to do it all again.  All the meanwhile, maintaining a 3.95, still finding time to volunteer for various activities and programs, not to mention being a darn talented swimmer!!  This swimmer I am referring to was one of the 30 finalists in attendance Sunday night, Michelle Coombs.  Coombs, a 2008 graduate of SUNY New Paltz, was the 2007 NCAA Division III National Champion for Women’s Swimming in the 100 freestyle, and the first female National Champion at SUNY New Paltz.  As an assistant coach at SUNY New Paltz, I had the pleasure of coaching Coombs for the 2007-2008 swim season!  Much like all of the candidates for Woman of the Year, Coombs excels in academics, athletics, and in the area of service and leadership.  Congratulations to Coombs and all of the other finalists on their amazing honor to be nominated.  Most importantly, congratulations to Anosike for winning the title of Woman of the Year, and best of luck as you all go forward in your lives and look to excel outside of your specific sports arenas.

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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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    I must say – it’s exciting when you browse through the NCAA’s student-athlete blogs and come across an NCAA Division III blog from an athlete at your former college. I’m so glad to see Laura Delaney, the captain of the women’s soccer team at The College of New Jersey posting her thoughts on this season on NCAA.com.

    You may not be as excited as I am, but I think this is a leap forward for both TCNJ and the NCAA, as least as far as editorial coverage of female sports is concerned. Providing student-athlete blogs across divisions of sport is a stellar idea. Each individual athlete has a personal idea and story and perspective to share with the world.

    Newspapers  — if they’re smart — can draw content from these blogs and frame stories around them. Athletes — if they’re smart — will be completely honest. Athletic departments — if they’re smart — will not put heavy restrictions on what the athletes write.

    Even though Laura has only written about four posts, the idea of this option for her is novel.

    This is a great opportunity for Laura to find her own perspective on the season. Her blog can act as a personal diary – a measure of success in terms of attitude and outlook. She can push herself through the goals she sets and writes about and she can measure success based upon whether or not these goals were met.

    Right now, TCNJ women’s soccer is 7-3-1 on the season. The three losses were to Smarthmore, Montclair State and Steven’s Tech.

    In her October 10 post, just two days after her teams’ loss to Steven’s Tech, she provides some great commentary of what it’s like to be a captain in the face of adversity:

    “It is hard to convince thirty girls that despite numerous setbacks, there is a chance to succeed and push beyond the limits of expectations. It was even harder to convince myself. I do not doubt for a second that my team is a group of talented, hardworking girls and together, as a group we can be successful. In both our wins and our losses of the season we have proven to be ample competitors but an underlying sense of restlessness and fear reside in our team mentality.”

    Those words serve as a message to her team – she’s saying that she still believes in them and they need to get past their fears to become winners.

    I hope this blog develops to be useful for her. I’m so happy to see she was chosen to write for NCAA, and I wish her and the rest of the women’s soccer program at TCNJ the best of success.

    I just wish she’d post a few more blogs to keep us, her team and the rest of the NCAA in the loop with how she’s doing.

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    Want to play professional women’s soccer?

    You have until 8pm ET (5pm PT) on Friday, October 3 to register to be listed on the draft board for the WPS General Draft, taking place on Monday, October 6, 2008.

    To register, players must complete the Prospective Player Form found on the WPS website, here.

    I think it’s cool that this draft open to everyone. Hey, maybe they’ll find some great hidden talent!

    For example, Christie Rampone, captain of USA Soccer. She went to a small division I school as a basketball player (Monmouth University) and was randomly recruited for the USA team. She tried out and has been leading the USA team ever since.

    So even if you’re a small Division I athlete, don’t think you’re not at the level to compete in this league. It’s always worth a shot!

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    The Women’s Sports Foundation came out with an incredibly interesting report yesterday, which could be the most accurate description of college sports’ participation patterns to date.

    The report even made The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, indicating its overall importance to society.

    While more women are participating in recent years than ever, the report, entitled Who’s Playing College Sports, discusses issues such as money, race and gender which influence athletic participation.

    What did they look at?
    Well, they took a 10-year NCAA sample containing 738 NCAA colleges and universities is examined over the 1995-96 to 2004-05 period.

    What did they find?

    (Executive Summary) “The results demonstrate that women continue to be significantly underrepresented among college athletes. At the average higher education institution, the female share of undergraduates is 55.8% while the female share of athletes is 41.7%. Women did enjoy a substantial increase in participation opportunities in the late 1990s, but this progress slowed considerably in the early 2000s. In fact, the increase in women’s participation levels was roughly equal to the increase in men’s participation levels between 2001-02 and 2004-05.”

    Major findings:

    1) Women’s athletic participation levels substantially increased during the late 1990s, but this growth slowed considerably in the early 2000s.
    2) Women’s participation still lags far behind men’s participation levels.
    3) Men’s overall athletic participation levels increased over time.
    4) While a few men’s sports suffered substantial declines, a larger number of men’s sports enjoyed increases that far outnumbered those losses.
    5) The only subset of higher education institutions that experienced declines in men’s participation levels was NCAA Division I-A schools, the institutions that spend the most on intercollegiate athletics.

    Other highlights

    Some other important findings (from the Press Release on Market Watch)

    The report also disclosed an important rapid increase in spending — 7% per year after inflation on athletic programs like football and basketball — as restricting other athletic opportunities.

    Influential factors on college participation in sport include:

    – Changes in high school sports participation;
    – Rising health care costs;
    – Increased numbers of international students;
    – The rise of enrollment management strategies;
    – The implication of these participation trends on college sports’ diversity.

    Another unfortunate finding – in recent years — more women, less diversity (due to offering traditional sports like football, volleyball and basketball and emerging sports like equestrian and synchronized swimming.

    To improve diversity, the report recommends that schools take steps to increase the number of athletes of color playing less diverse sports.

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    Sportsmanship extends far beyond the “man” part of the word. Women across the globe now participate in sports in alarming numbers. In America alone, more than 40,000 student-athletes participate in NCAA championship competition each year, and that’s just at the collegiate level. I don’t even know if the numbers exist for high school athletic participation, but I’m sure the number is incredible.

    Participating in sports taught me about why it’s important to believe in dreams and other people. I’ve been playing sports since I was about six years old, and I’ve developed some amazing friends over the course of the past 16 years. Athleticism taught me how to be strong, and it taught me the true meaning and power of moral judgment – what many link to refer to as sportsmanship.

    I saw a true example of sportsmanship in the New York Times Well blog, one of my favorites to read. Tara Parker-Hope writes, “If there already weren’t enough reasons to get your child involved in sports, the story of Sara Tucholsky will give you another one.”

    This story is truly incredible. It’s a YouTube video that features a girl who played for Western Oregon University. She always dreamed of hitting a home run. In April, her dream came true as she slammed one over the fense. As she was rounding the bases, she drastically tore something in her knee and fell to the ground.

    The umpire would not let anyone run the bases for her, and her teammates were not allowed to help her. So  a girl on the OPPOSITE TEAM asked the umpire if it was ok to carry her around the diamond. The umpire agreed. The girls said they did it because “she deserved it.”

    When she got to home plate, everyone was crying with emotion. At her last at-bat of her career, she achieved her goal… only with the help of some true athletes.

    This YouTube video has been influencing many people. At least 150,000 people have watched the video, featured by ESPN.

    This is a true example of the power of “sportsmanship,” an athlete’s term for moral judgment. Check it out.

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