Recently on this site, it was argued that, since women’s sports typically don’t produce much revenue, the coaches of these sports should have drastically reduced salary increases. The precipitating event, the departure of softball coach Mike White, centered around his claim that five Pac-12 Championships and five College World Series appearances — in just nine years! — merited a salary bump.
We don’t have to look far to find a comparison in men’s sports: Chip Kelly. Kelly didn’t win a championship, either. Would feathers have been ruffled if he’d requested a healthy bump? And what of Mark Helfrich’s $3 million salaries with guaranteed raises, and his contract’s consequent buyout of (better sit down) $11 million (this does not include the buyouts of his staff, of course, which were significant as well)? Then there’s Mike Bellotti and his annual $500,000 PERS payments. And don’t forget the more recent cash hemorrhaging to the likes of Brady Hoke, Willie Taggart and company.
This difference between male and female athletics is especially remarkable when one considers Title IX. It mandates that financial assistance be “proportional to participation.” Incidentally, the law expressly forbids revenue production to be a factor in justifying inequality. If it didn’t, it would bear considering that 80 percent of college football programs regularly lose money.
It may shock some, but here it is: female students outnumber men, comprising 53.5 percent of undergraduates and 52.2 percent of graduate students. And this gap between women and men in college is increasing. Are women to be told that their sports are less valuable to administrators than men’s? “Sorry, but even though we’re a public educational institution, we don’t believe women truly are equal,” might be a hindrance when recruiting top female students in an increasingly competitive collegiate world.
But why are athletics part of higher education in the first place? Blame it on the Greeks; they believed that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. I doubt that U of O President Michael Schill would enjoy explaining to students why female minds would be any less affected by the philosophy underlying sports than male intellects apparently are.
And that brings us to another topic surrounding women’s participation in sports: cheerleading. There is simply no way to justify this except in the most sexist terms. Seriously guys, how would you like to be forced to sit through similar performances by men, watching them dance in tights? Imagine the bumping, the grinding … the whole thing.
You grossed out yet? Good. Now imagine how this appears to young women today. Or do we even care?
Eugene, Oregon Top Photo by Kevin Cline
Andrew Mueller, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in digital marketing in Chicago, Illinois.
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