Throughout generations, humans have played organized games and sports. For that same amount of time, it has been instilled that men are faster, stronger, and just plain better at athletics. We also have come to realize that the slower, weaker, and not as good women make up for physical strength with mental prowess, to succeed on the playing fields and courts of the world. However, this concept has not caught up with athletic directors, coaches, and trustees boards across the country.
Women’s athletics is still not given the financial backing, the practice facilities, the correct training personnel, and the support of the general public for building winning programs; on the other hand, losing men’s programs are given any and everything for mediocre results. Title IX was instated 25 years ago, but the results are hard to see, if they can be seen at all. In states like Connecticut, where there are no professional sports teams, state universities are the big ticket in town. The University of Connecticut has two major sports, men’s and women’s basketball.
Winning programs, that include national championships, have everyone in the state talking. They are talking about two successful coaches, two successful teams, and one successful athletic department. According to the UConn Athletic web page, Jim Calhoun, coach of the UConn’s Men’s Basketball team, has a 304-120 (. 717) record and 1 national championship in his 13 years as head coach. Geno Auriemma, coach of the UConn’s Women’s Basketball team, has a record of 393-95 (. 805) and 2 national championships over the past 15 years.
One would think that with seniority, a better winning percentage, and more national championships the women’s coach would be paid better. Yeah okay, this is America. Geno Auriemma’s salary was about $ 250,000 for the year, while his male coaching counterpart made $ 875,000. (March 2000 issue of Connecticut Magazine) This practice is actually quite common. Seniority or winning does not earn more money, because it is believed that the men’s game is harder to coach then the women’s game. Umm… am I missing something? A sport is a sport, no matter who is playing it, or so I thought.
According to the Detroit Free Press coaches of women’s teams, earn 67 cents to every dollar that a coach of a men’s team earns. These were shown not to be the only discrepancies between men’s and women’s program. The Detroit Free Press analysis shows women’s sports get 25 percent of the athletic budgets, 27 percent of the recruiting dollars and 38 percent of the financial aid. The average Big 12 School spent an average of 2. 2 million dollars on its men’s programs. The average spent on women’s programs was $ 922,097. That’s a difference of about 1. 3 million dollars.
These trends continue throughout the country. Athletic Directors are quick to add women’s programs to be compliant with the law, but do little to support them once they are up and running. Women’s programs are then put into an impossible situation; they are not given the resources to bring in the best recruits, the best coaches, or the best equipment. They are then told to win, and if they do not they are in danger of losing their sport. If they happen to win, it is often ignored or forgotten quickly. As we move into the 21st century, we have to wake up as a nation.
Equality is not simply giving males and females the same number of athletes or sports, but rather support. This support should be financial, emotional, and physical. All athletes should look up at home games and see the President of the University, the Athletic Director, and alumni at a game. In the perfect world, this would happen but this is the real world. In the real world, most people can’t tell you who won the national championship in women’s basketball, but can tell you every loser in the past 10 Super Bowls.