View from Court 6: the covers come off
Saturday, June 30, 2007
View from Court 6: the covers come off
Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Here's what various media outlets had to say about it:
- Salon.com (mostly providing links to other stories, especially The Chronicle of Education which is subscription only for most of the Tittle IX tributes)
- The Honolulu Star Bulletin (Hawaii has a special interest in Title IX because Hawaiian congresswoman Patsy Mink was a major proponent of the legislation; see this article from the Honolulu Advertiser for more background.)
- Over at The Huffington Post, Rep. Linda Sanchez of California writes not only about sports but equal access to institutes of higher education and professional schools. (And she adds a cute story about being the only woman on the Democrat team in the annual congressional baseball game--her number is IX!)
- Earthtimes.org published this press release from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
- Women's Sports Foundation CEO Donna Lopiano, as a guest columnist for the Seattle PI, has this to say about the anniversary. She also has a column over at SI.com.
- At ESPN.com is Mechelle Voepel's column on the 35 year mark.
- Indymedia of California cites the good and the bad 35 years after the passage of Title IX focusing on California schools.
- On the other coast, a local Massachusetts paper has a lengthy feature on Title IX's impact on high school sports.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Lisa Raymond, who has been writing a column at SI.com, previews the Championships, Wimbledon this week. Her top pick is Henin with Serena Williams running a close second. She talks about doubles as well but oddly writes about herself in the third person as a contender for the women's doubles title.
Her column is only so-so, but she does try to convey the aura of Wimbledon during the fortnight and a good job describing the scene. It makes me very excited to head over the village.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
There has been a lot of press about the 35th anniversary already--some good, some "questioning the value of the legislation," and of course, some downright hostile. So it's good that CSTV is devoting next week to celebrating women's sports. But I am reminded of a Guerrilla Girls poster that reads: "Q: If February is Black History Month and March is Women's History Month, what happens the rest of the year? A: Discrimination."
When the 35th anniversary celebrations are over who will still be left talking about women's sports?
Monday, June 18, 2007
But he backtracks a bit saying that maybe Beard has brought some otherwise uninterested spectators to swimming. (Probably not if you consider the results of Mary Jo Kane's study.)
What I found interesting though was that the author thought that men and women would have diametrically opposed views on this issue and wondering why more women "have not expressed more outrage." Well, first, some of us have, and second, the author clearly has no grasp of the power of patriarchy. Has he not seen or heard about Girls Gone Wild and other such spectacles? Women collude in this oppression. Though, I don't let men off the hook as easily as the author does when he writes that "no man held a gun to Beard's head and said you must strip for us." In the end he puts the blame squarely back on Beard's naked shoulders--and those of other naked posing athletes and says they deserve whatever mistreatment comes their way afterwards. He takes no responsibility himself as part of the media--the sports media specifically--for not giving these athletes any attention until they take off their clothes.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Why aren't there more African-American women on the tour? Because class also plays a factor. When we look at socioeconomic factors alongside race and gender we see the black women in the United States have fewer opportunities to even access the means necessary to play the game, let alone be encouraged to play it. (This was actually not the situation Sugg was in as a youngster. Her grandfather was a college dean and golf coach and when she expressed interest in the game, he mentored her.)
I see, in the promotionals for the development programs the LPGA runs during tournaments, that there are young black girls who are learning the game. The question is, how long will development programs support them?* There are golf scholarships for women, Sugg got one to UCLA. But after college? It costs a lot to qualify and play on the LPGA between travel, coaching, and equipment. Sugg herself said that in her best years she probably only earned $15,000. This could lead us into a discussion of the pay disparity that exists between women's and men's golf but I will save that topic for another time.
*Or do development programs support them at all? Here is the LPGA-USGA's site for a national girls' golf program and I haven't been able to find any information about costs.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
SEC softball has been the beneficiary of SEC football, Mowins said almost in passing during this inter-inning chat.
Wait, what? Did she just basically say that football pays for women's softball in the SEC. This is the kind of argument that gets thrown back at women's sport advocates when we kindly point out that football teams are too large and usurp far too much of the athletic budget. "But football pays for women's sports," we hear over and over again. And over and over again we must say "No, the majority of schools with football programs do not make a profit off of football. Most don't even break even."
Of course some SEC schools are football powerhouses; football culture is deeply entrenched and thus draws many fans who would like to believe that football is a benevolent benefactor. But still I would think a sports commentator--of women's sports no less--would know better. It is next to impossible to trace the monies associated with football in the larger athletic department budget but schools do report expenses and profits, and other gender equity data. (If you have a subscription to The Chronicle of Higher Education you can check out the data there or here at the department of education site.) Also, coincidentally enough, the Women's Sports Foundation came out this week with a report that graded schools based on their performance in the area of gender equity.
So I thought I would take a look to see how SEC schools did.
University of Alabama: D+, with a 16.7 proportionality* gap (% of women as undergrads minus percentage of female athletes)
University of Tennessee: B+, 4.1 gap
University of Arkansas: B-, 9.2 gap
University of Florida: B-, 8.7 gap
University of Georgia: C+, 10 gap
University of Kentucky: C, 12.4 gap
University of Mississippi: D, 19.7 gap
University of South Carolina-Columbia: C, 12.6 gap
Vanderbilt University: B+, 4.6 gap
Auburn University: B, 6.1 gap
Louisiana State University: C, 13.3 gap
Mississippi State: B, 7 gap
I think it is important to note the the school tied for the highest grade in the conference was the most successful school in this year's WCWS and the winner of the women's NCAA basketball tournament. I don't think it is a coincidence that a school committed to providing women equitable opportunities has had that kind of success.
* proportionality is not the only measure of Title IX compliance in the area of opportunities but the WSF was not measuring Title IX compliance but how many opportunities women had to play.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Out of the Canadian sports media we get this compelling question I pass on to you:
American swimmer Amanda Beard recently posed nude for the July 2007 edition of Playboy Magazine. The 26-year-old, three-time Olympian's decision to drop her drawers comes at a time when women's sports look to be on the rise in terms of both visibility and popularity. Is this bold move a step in the wrong direction for women's sports, or is it simply an athlete marketing themselves and their sport to a broader range of fans?
The question, for some of us was answered a long time ago with our answer confirmed by the Mary Jo Kane study I wrote about some time ago. But the emergence of Beard's photos brings the debate to a wider audience, I suppose, than an academic study.
But Ethan Todras-Whitehill at the Huffington Post has a different take on Beard's Playboy spread saying that the feminists who judge Beard for taking off her clothes and essentially cashing in on her looks while she still can are out of line. Why? Well in part because even if female athletes got together and made a pact not to take off their clothes, Todras-Whitehill argues, they wouldn't change the status quo that exists in sports where women are either sex objects or lesbians (he doesn't say lesbians--he says men). He advocates for the Jackie Robinson approach where you wait patiently winning over fans and once you are in good standing start to change things from within. Unfortunately, taking off your clothes doesn't really get you into the establishment as a person who will ultimately have the power to effect change. And we know from the Kane study that it does not win over people who were not already fans. And finally, Todras-Whitehill assumes that women athletes who do cash in on their sex appeal really are out to make change anyway. Part of the change we are trying to effect is the desexualization of female athletes by the media and, by extension, challenging the hegemonic femininity that imposes the sex object/lesbian binary. I don't really see Beard leading that charge.
I can't possibly comment on all the commentary out there so I'll just post some links for anyone to check out:
- Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com. Also at the site is an ESPN interview with Beard
- The Bleacher Report out of California that pits Amanda Beard against "the feminists."
- From Foxsport.com not only support for Beard's "choice" but a poll so you can weigh in on what other female athletes you think should pose for Playboy.
Of course any blog search will bring you countless posts and numerous comments. What's interesting is that some commenters talk about how ugly she is and refer to her as a he/she which just confirms the idea that no matter what female athletes do--even the ones presumably deemed hot enough to appear in Playboy, they will always have detractors who will work whatever angle is required to devalue athletic women.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Brand expressed concern over the attrition rate of female coaches; that many women begin as assistant coaches but do not stick around long enough to get promoted. Brand said the NCAA will be developing programs to help with the issue of retention of assistant coaches in the hopes of getting more female head coach role models. No specifics on what such programs would entail or who they will be targeting.
It seems to me that an effective program would have to address everyone who is in charge of assistant coaches rather than the young women themselves who probably quit because of the sexism, homophobia, and racism in intercollegiate programs. It's not surprising to see fewer female head coaches in softball as the game becomes more popular. Softball has always had the "lesbian stigma" attached to it. Hiring male coaches makes it look a little more hetero. And male head coaches hire male assistants often--except for the pitching coach who is usually female because she has actual experience playing the game. I didn't do a thorough study of the tournament teams but I did note that Arizona's Mike Candrea has as his second-in-command a man who will actually take over head coaching duties when Candrea takes next year off to coach the national team. Baylor's head coach, Glenn Moore also has a male associate head coach who had to take over when Moore got booted for "arguing a call" in Baylor's loss to Northwestern. Women though are helping each other out. Northwestern's staff is all-female as is Texas A&M's.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
- Justine Henin and Raphael Nadal are the women's and men's 2007 French Open singles champions. It's a three-peat for them both. Browsing through stories about Henin's win I found that the American media focused on two things: Henin's reunion with her estranged family members--all her siblings were at the final; and Ivanovic's nerves. The non-Americna media actually wrote about Henin's play and success. Despite the gushing over Henin's family situation, some commentators still take issue with her behavior. Mary Carillo, during today's men's final, chided her for not attending the International Tennis Federation Awards this past week.
- Check out Women Who Serve for an interesting story about the special presentation to the men's winner and the lack of anything special for the women--a situation remedied by Martina Navratilova. Navratilova and a Slovak artist are making art using paint soaked tennis balls. Pieces were given to the women's singles and doubles winners.
- Forgot to follow up on the WCWS. Arizona won. I had predicted a very close game three similar to game two. And though both teams went out and focused on how to hit the opposing pitcher's pitches, Arizona was the team that executed. They scored five runs in one inning. That's back-to-back titles for Arizona who will rely again next year on pitcher Taryne Mowatt. Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott is off to the national team presumably. Cutting down the pitching staff for the Beijing Olympics will be tough with stars like Abbott, Jennie Finch, Cat Osterman, Alicia Hollowell and maybe even Lisa Fernandez (not sure if she is intending on going out for the team). I was surprised to hear no one mention the cutting of softball from the Olympics. Last year there was some mention of the campaign to get Olympic softball back f0r 2016. Nothing this year. I wonder if they've just given up hope.
- I came across more condemnation of the WNBA's letter-writing campaign meant to encourage media outlets to cover the WNBA. It's a female sportswriter discussing how "desperate" this makes the WNBA seem. Hello? They are desperate; the WNBA operates in a patriarchal sports-crazed culture that judges all things based on a male-created standard.
- The LPGA Championship is in its final round as I write. I think I am going to miss the end (I have tix to see Kate Clinton!) which looks to be amazing given that there are about 5 people that are in contention right now. [UPDATE: Suzann Pettersen won by a shot. It's her first major championship and she, even though she is young, was due after a disastrous finish at the Kraft Nabisco Championship where she squandered the lead.]
- No more regular season women's basketball games between Connecticut and Tennessee. For some as-yet-unknown reason Tennessee has decided not to renew the deal for two regular season meetings between the perennial powerhouses. It's a big mystery given that these games are two of the most popular in women's basketball. One is covered by ESPN and the other CBS. Connecticut has made a deal with LSU to take over Tennessee's spot.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
But reviews and other articles about the film are trickling in. This review of the movie in which a high school girl tries to make the boys' soccer team (it's pre- or early Title IX years) to honor the memory of her dead soccer superstar brother is not so hot on the movie. [Sorry, I lost the link. I will post it when I find it.]
From what I have heard about the movie, which despite my interest in the subject matter, seems fairly predictable, the review is probably not too far off.
More of the back story about the movie is emerging. I learned from the above linked review that the "based on a true story" is actually based on Elisabeth Shue's, who plays the mother, own childhood. [And a sidenote on the note: according to this month's TENNIS magazine, Elisabeth Shue is trying, at the age of 43, to become a tennis professional. We'll have to see where this goes.]
But this story that centers on an interview with Andrew Shue (Elisabeth's brother and a producer of Gracie) reveals the vagueness of the phrase "true story." Elisabeth was actually 9 when she fought for a spot on the boys' team; not a teenager; and there doesn't appear to be a tragedy involved that made her want to join, though the Shues did have a brother who died. Oh, and it wasn't really a fight because the coach let her play. I think "based on real-life events" is a stretch.
But the interview with Shue shows he is up on his Title IX. He says: "...and there's still controversy today. People get up in front of Congress saying they're taking away from guy sports. You go 'Yeah, I guess it is because there's so much money for football, basketball that it's still hard to get all the sports you want.' But it's been a crucial law that has enabled the growth of girl's (sic) sports."
I did also come across a good review that calls the movie "an inspirational sports drama."
Friday, June 08, 2007
The Washington Post and many other news outlets have covered the story which includes the extent of the internet fanaticism around this high school athlete. Above-linked sports blogger tries to keep saying that he wouldn't be interested in her at all if she wasn't so darn good at pole vaulting. I don't recall Lebron James, when he was an outstanding high school athlete, being sexualized at all--let alone at the level of intensity and perversity that Allison Stokke has faced.
Despite the problems with the Post story, which Twisty adeptly points out, it seems that it has gotten some people to bow their heads in shame. The Unofficial Allison Stokke Fan Page is now defunct and Facebook has removed the page falsely created under Stokke's name.
But some of the other meatheads out there are taking credit for Stokke's fame and asking, basically, for thanks because they have made her so popular. They predict calendars, and commercials and, at the very least, the fact that she will marry well because they have been gracious enough to post every possible picture of her they can find. And they say Stokke's steps to publicize the controversy--so as to let people know how she feels violated and unsafe--have only made them search harder for postable pics.
The most perverse part of this whole story: the local photographer who took most of the pics at Stokke's meets originally threatened With Leather because he had posted the pictures in violation of copyright. When he realized he could make money off them, however, the complaints were dropped. Now the Orange County Register which is Stokke's local paper and where most of the photos originate, is putting her pictures on mugs, mouse pads, Christmas ornaments, and the like and selling them through the company Pictopia!
You can write to the paper at email@example.com and tell them exactly what you think of their exploitation of a teenage athlete.
See also posts by Ann Bartow and Ann Friedman about the irony of how Stokke's father, a criminal defense attorney, makes his cases.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
It seemed a no-brainer for BC--and probably more like a necessity. King, as an assistant, does a lot of recruiting and when former coach Tom Mutch left because of inappropriate relations with a current player my guess is that she spent a lot of time on the phone reassuring parents of future and current players. The situation has already left BC without a current player who chose to transfer and a recruit who only had a verbal agreement. She chose to go to Mercyhurst. It's probably not a coincidence that she played at Lawrence Academy for Mutch's wife, Laurie Mutch. That feeder system is probably over.
As a three-time Olympian King also has a lot of respect in the hockey community which will continue to help her bring good players to BC.
It's very exciting that there is another woman coach in Hockey East. But that was likely part of the BC decision as well. King is probably seen as less likely to get involved in a relationship with her players because she is neither a man nor a gay woman; though she isn't married so her hetero status is not as solid as the system would like it to be but she has been (and may currently be) in relationships with men which her players know.
It will be interesting to see if King keeps the all-female staff. The two assistant coaches are very young but include Sarah Carlson, who you will know if you ever watch ESPN. She's one of the profiled "going pro in something other than sport" athletes. She is the ER nurse.
Monday, June 04, 2007
This press release from the university does mention Title IX though. The addition of ice hockey is presented as part of a larger, long-term restructuring of the department that will "enhance" gender equity. Currently the university operates under prong two, history and continuing practice of expansion (they added three women's sports between 1996-2000). But according to athletic department administrators, the addition of ice hockey will bring about proportionality in the 2008-2009 season.
There is a pretty vocal swimming community that has some issues with Title IX because they see it as responsible for the cuts of teams and they have vigorously campaigned against and bemoaned the cutting of teams at JMU and Rutgers. It will be interesting to see what comes from these cuts. Swimming World Magazine online has already started collecting comments about the cuts. None of the comments to date have blamed Title IX.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
You can see most of the documentary at logoonline.com. (I had problems loading some of the parts but even what I was able to see was very good.) There's a very good piece showing Dumaresq chatting with with U.S. mountain biker Missy Giove who is openly gay and was one of the best bikers in the world before her 2003 retirement.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Friday, June 01, 2007
According Garber's column, which was written a week ago, Hawkins has some offers at other club teams and is attracted to Div. III schools and is looking at a position at the English Lacrosse Association.
Hawkins's story will air on Sports Center Sunday night at 9pm (eastern).