So I mis-wrote Florida's coach's name. It's Tim Walton.
But the real reason for this post is something one of the commentators said this evening in the early innings of the A&M/Florida game (we're now in extra innings). I think it was Beth Mowins--it doesn't really matter, though--who mentioned that Florida has only been playing softball for 12 years. In other words, it's a fairly new program without a storied history like some of the other teams in the series. But then she said that the SEC has really grown softball when, in the early 90s, some SEC schools took their football money and started softball programs.
Several problems with this statement. One, I'm not sure how true it actually is. It certainly is not true that the SEC just woke up in the 90s and said, "hey all this money we're making from football--let's give it the girls; just 'cause we like 'em." It's not a coincidence that softball programs grew at a time when Title IX started to actually be enforced. Also, it's not necessarily true that football funds women's sports. Football often cannot even support itself. Granted some SEC schools have big revenue-producing football programs. But it does not mean that all the revenue they generate covers their own expenses let alone those of women's sports. In fact the recent NCAA report on athletic department profits suggests that even fewer schools than previously thought have athletic departments that are self-sustaining.
Also problematic with the statement is the belief that revenue generated by football is somehow football's to do with as it pleases. Remember--these are educational institutions, non-profits. The money does not belong to football. It goes back to the institution.
On a different note, who is this guy John Kruk doing the commentating? What a loser. Seriously, where did they find him? [He's actually an ESPN baseball analyst. What there isn't enough baseball going on right now between the men's college world series and professional baseball to give him something to do elsewhere?] He clearly doesn't know anything about softball; something he himself makes evident over and over again. One of his most egregious repetitions is his reference to "the women's game." He's not comparing women's and men's softball here, folks. He's a former baseball player and he thinks he's watching the women's (i.e. inferior) version of baseball. He's not. I'll say it again: softball is not baseball. Softball is doing itself a disservice to perpetuate some kind of symbiotic relationship to baseball. This includes using oafish former baseball players to comment upon a game they know nothing about.