Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Part II

Right, so what I ran out of energy to say yesterday and decided that I couldn't really fold so neatly into the context of that post...
I noticed that the coaches of all four semifinalist teams in the NCAA DI women's volleyball championship are men. Before you scream "femi-nazi" let me note that I don't think men are inherently evil or malicious* and thus not qualified to coach women. I think that various systemic impediments, though, make it easier for men to coach women and these issues are not being well addressed. And really? All four of the best teams in the nation have male coaches?
Volleyball, by the way, is the second most popular women's intercollegiate sport (behind basketball).
Women currently comprise just under 56 percent of the head coaches of women's volleyball (across all divisions). This is almost the lowest percentage since the late 1970s. (All data is from Carpenter and Acosta's longitudinal study of women's intercollegiate athletics.) In DI volleyball the percentage is just under 51.
OK enough with the quantitative...it's not my forte anyway.
So I was kind of disturbed to see former v-baller Karch Kiralyi doing the commentary for the tournament. Kiralyi is a board member of the Fairness in Sports Foundation. Fairness in Sports is dedicated to bringing back the "original intent" of Title IX. Of course the original intent of Title IX was to make sure women were not discriminated against in hiring decisions in educational institutions. But FISF does not like the use of Title IX to "promote" athletics on campuses even though they tout their male board members as working to fight against the elimination of men's athletics. I could go on about how they call themselves Title IX advocates...but another time and probably another place.
Anyway, I don't think ESPN should let people who actively campaign against equitable participation of women in sports, cover women's sports.

OK, now you can say it.

* Some are very good guys in fact. This piece on Penn State coach Russ Rose is a good read.

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