Monday, March 19, 2012

Revisiting Title IX

As all sports fan know, the NCAA hoops tourney is in full swing. Students, alumni, players, coaches, fans, and the media are caught up in March Madness once again.

Thing is, there's actually two NCAA tournaments going on. The men's and the women's. And that's where something is wrong.

While the men's tourney was going on last Thurs-Sun, I could get every game on my dish. Four at the same time? No problem. Cable stations TNT, something called truTV, TBS, and even the mighty CBS were all on board. Click, click, click.

Earlier tonight, the ladies' teams were playing, so I went to check it out. Guess what? The only game available was on a secondary ESPN channel. The other stations that were there for the men had gone elsewhere when the ladies tipped it up. One had something on called "Lizard Lick Towing", whatever that is. Another had Hawaii 5-0, or maybe it was reruns of Two and a Half Men.

Even ESPN's flagship channel was airing an NIT game, of all things. Instead of showing premier ladies' hoop action, they decided to go with men's teams that weren't good enough to qualify for the REAL tournament in the first place.

Besides being an obvious reason for the ladies to be pissed, shouldn't this be a clear violation of Title IX, which was supposed to equal things out between the sexes in college athletics? Not so fast.

Title IX had it's origins way back in the Lyndon Johnson administration, pretty close to the same time the historic Civil Rights acts came about. Back then, it had little to do with college athletics. Over the years, it's been amended, tweaked, and certainly highly debated all along the way, to finally morph into what most of us regard it as today. There's a lot of fine print, but the essence of it is as follows:

  1. Whether the selection of sports and levels of competition effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of members of both sexes;
  2. The provision of equipment and supplies;
  3. Scheduling of games and practice time;
  4. Travel and per diem allowance;
  5. Opportunity to receive coaching and academic tutoring on mathematics only;
  6. Assignment and compensation of coaches and tutors;
  7. Provision of locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities;
  8. Provision of medical and training facilities and services;
  9. Provision of housing and dining facilities and services;
  10. Publicity. 
That item on the list -- publicity -- might lead one to believe that the obvious disparity in TV coverage would get somebody in trouble. I dare say there's no greater publicity for teams than having their games broadcast coast to coast on the boob tube.

But there's the catch. Title IX only applies to the schools. The legislators can pass all the laws they want in that regard, but they have absolutely no authority to control what the TV people decide to televise or not. Nor probably should they, because that could become a slippery slope in a hurry.

TV is all about ratings, so if they figure Lizard Lick Towing will get them higher Neilsen numbers than ladies' college basketball played at it's highest levels -- they're free to do so.

But I strongly disagree with that logic. The lady round ballers and their fans could and should be outraged. Two and a Half Men pre-empting them? Book-em, Danno, is better viewing than what these superbly conditioned and highly skilled athletes have worked their whole young lives for? Pah-leeze.

As a personal aside, there's this feisty young lady named Nyk, that used to play guard on the Univ of Mich ladies' hoop team not long ago. Now it seems she's become something of a gold standard, so to speak. My guess is she might actually agree with me -- for once.


  1. LOL JOHN, good take on the ladies sports situation. Shame on the Media for not showing these games. All of you reading this that just think it is a bunch of girls playing a mans sport, listen carefully. These ladies train 365 days a year for 3-5 hours a day, they run, lift weights and play their sport. My daughter was a very successful college hoops player, she practiced with, as did most of her teammates,the mens team. So their skills were similar, she benches 215 pounds, runs a 5 min mile, and I dare say she can play that sport as tough and as well her male counterpart. She and her team could light up the floor with their playing ability and attitude. So shame on the media for their scanty coverage. If the games were on, men and ladies would watch. They cant throw a couple of finals games on and expect to get top ratings. Sports fans tend to follow a team and watch till the end. If they are not on to follow, then the finals are no big deal. But then only the men running the TV stations can change this disparity.

    The Princess

    1. I must say I'm highly impressed, Your Highness. Your young-un can bench press ME? Hmmm. I think I might rather enjoy a few reps of that. Tell her to call me. Now THAT'S the kind of gym time I can get into. LOL

    2. John: Just a little side story for you ...the girls were having a party at the house...cant remember exactly what for but believe it was for a friends birthday, Nyk was 21, but her sister and some of the others were not. One of the younger "gentlemen" arrived feeling no pain. He proceeded to get obnoxious with the ladies. Nyk warned him several times to stop it...she was 145 lb, training daily for basketball..he lippied off to her, she spun around picked him up like he was a feather and threw him in the air...I say he was probably 180 or so....LOL..he was so startled..he turned completly white..that was enough for him he left. Never a dull moment. Female athletes at their best The Princess

    3. If it's all the same to you, I think I'll stick to the bench press. Besides, anybody that's been reading my nonsense already knows I've got the dead weight thing down pat.