Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman, via Associated Press
June 10, 2020. Last week, the widespread gender discrimination in college sports made headlines again – this time, it was due to the disparate treatment between women’s softball and men’s baseball.
The men at the College World Series receive massages, team dinners with 20 guests, a golf outing, and a parade, and there is none of this at the Women’s College World Series - although there is a reception with appetizers for players and staff. And the women’s facility is inferior. Not only is it smaller (despite their popularity and regular sellouts), they do not even have showers. The women had to fight just to get a private bathroom for players. The original solution – a porta-potty in the dugout.
Sound familiar?!!!! In March, a video created by University of Oregon women’s basketball player Sedona Price, comparing the elite March Madness workout facilities of the men’s basketball program to a rack of dumbbells provided to athletes at the women’s tournament, went viral.
And what happened? Nothing.
Yes, back in March, when the issue first came to light, 36 members of Congress wrote to Mark Emmert, President of the NCAA, demanding answers for the disparate treatment in violation of Title IX. And the NCAA said it was looking into it – even retaining a law firm to investigate the gender inequities and issue a report in April. It’s June, maybe we will have that report later this summer. Or maybe they are banking on us forgetting.
That is the problem. Our collective memory is too short. We cannot just get enraged, make a lot of noise for a few days or weeks, and then let our voice die down. We cannot just focus on gender discrimination in March, Women’s History Month. We cannot focus on gender pay inequality simply on Equal Pay Day.
And yes, the NCAA is discriminating against women, regardless of what its self-funded study says - if it is ever produced.
This has zero to do with revenue - the NCAA Women’s College World Series is one of the most popular events in college sports and has essentially the same viewership as the men’s College World Series, and the women’s viewership ratings have grown this year. Yet today, a Thursday, the final game will be broadcast at 3:00 p.m. EDT. We need to call this for what it is - blatant gender discrimination.
And we cannot let it fade into the background and simply forget. If we want to win the fight for gender equality, we need to keep our voice loud and hold people and organizations like the NCAA accountable for the discrimination, regardless of how long it takes.
Stay tuned as we will need your help putting pressure on the NCAA to stop the nonsense.