Tuesday, July 24, 2007

You don't have to be Mormon...

...but you can't be gay. That is what is being hinted at by Brigham Young University athletic director Tom Holmoe. In an article* about the lack of female coaches in intercollegiate athletics, writer Rhiannon Potkey, looks at the situation in Utah. University of Utah has ten women's teams; only three are coached by women--a stat that falls below the national average. AD Chris Hill said that he thinks it is important to get women into head coaching positions but not as important as finding a "qualified candidate...regardless of gender" according to the article. Hill said: ""We owe it to our student-athletes to find the best coach available for them. We have that in mind whenever a position opens in coaching or administration. Sometimes the pool of women candidates we get just isn't that big or doesn't include women who are as qualified as some men." There is no interrogation of this hackneyed excuse about "most qualified" candidate, or how the concept of "qualified" has been constructed and is executed by men or of the old boys' network in which ADs and other coaches call their male colleagues when they hear of positions opening up.

Over at BYU, Holmoe notes that it's even harder to get women into the pool of potential head coaches because of its "religious ties." You don't have to be a Mormon to coach at BYU but you have to abide by Mormon rules and standards. Hmmm...no caffeine addicts and no lesbians.

"We don't get a lot of people who would apply and have that alignment with the mission of our school. That is something we are trying to change, but it's not easy," says Holmoe.

No kidding. It's really hard to find people willing to give up their Starbucks. Can you imagine how many short-haired, pant suit-wearing, single women BYU has had to turn away because they called around to other schools and found out that the candidates are frequently seen around town holding a grande no-fat vanilla latte, no whip?

* The article appeared to fall under the category of "it's a slow news week what national trend can we look at and apply to the state of Utah." It didn't provide any new information on the situation of women in coaching. It did point out, however, how oblivious men are to the situation by opening with an anecdote about a recent recruiting trip by a male Lehigh women's basketball assistant coach who all of a sudden realized that about 90 percent of the recruiters in the stands were men; this disturbed him. Imagine how disturbing it is to the 10 percent women and all the women who have been denied positions or left the field in utter frustration.

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