Thursday, December 18, 2008

The African river running through women's basketball

I am glad that Graham Hays wrote about--insightfully--the coaching situation for women. He seems to get it: the lack of opportunities for women:
The point is how can anyone possibly suggest it's fair that a man hoping to coach Division I college basketball has more than 600 potential jobs to chase but a woman has half as many opportunities -- and has to compete against twice as many people for them?
And why:
God forbid a woman tells an 18-year-old guy he should have gone over a pick instead of under it.

Others he spoke with seem to be misunderstanding some of the barriers female coaches face. In the end, it does come down to the same sentiment about a woman telling a boy or young man how to play a "man's game." But it extends, of course, further than that to a general belief that women do not belong and the excuse that is frequently given is that they are not good enough.
So when administrators--both male and female--bemoan the lack of female coaches and say there are plenty of opportunities but women are not persistent enough, get easily discouraged, or just aren't interested to begin with.
Let's talk about the lesser salaries and, more importantly, all the crap female coaches have to go through when they work in male-dominated athletic departments. Is it really fair to have to "persist" through harassment, through less funding, poorer facilities, etc.?
Certain persons in athletic departments may think it's lack of character or something of that sort. But juries are starting to see otherwise. Check out the Title IX Blog and you will see the myriad of retaliation lawsuits female coaches are bringing against institutions. And they are winning them--regularly. This past week former volleyball coach at Fresno State Lindy Vivas won a multi-million dollar settlement for retaliation and discrimination. A softball coach at Iowa State, others at Fresno, coaches at Florida Gulf Coast University--they are all winning their cases.
See? These coaches do know what persistence is.

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