By Ken Reed
Title IX’s 40th anniversary was celebrated earlier this summer. The landmark law has been a godsend for females in terms of participation in athletics, but the impact for female coaches and administrators has been less than stellar.
Sports participation numbers for girls and women were extremely low in 1972, at both the college and high school levels. Those numbers have risen dramatically, although they still fall short of their male counterparts. In the recently completed London Olympics, Team USA included more females than males for the first time.
However, the percentage of women coaching female teams has dropped from 90 percent in 1972 to 43 percent today. According to Megan Greenwell in a recent article, the explanation is pretty straightforward.
“By legitimizing women’s sports, Title IX bestowed a new level of respect — and significantly higher salaries — on college coaching jobs, transforming them from passion projects for the most dedicated women’s sports advocates to serious career paths,” wrote Greenwell. As soon as the salaries rose, men interested in coaching pounced on the new opportunities and male athletic directors obliged by hiring them.
A new group was formed last year, the Alliance of Women Coaches, a professional development group for female coaches at all levels. This group is working to change the trend toward males in women’s sports leadership positions. Judy Sweet, one of the founders of the new alliance, and a former athletic director at the University of California at San Diego, believes the challenge will be extremely difficult.
“It requires breaking this cycle of male university presidents hiring male board members hiring male athletic directors hiring male coaches,” says Sweet.
Nevertheless, it’s a challenge worth embracing so that athletically-inclined young women can see that there’s a potential career available in the world of sports — just as their male peers do today.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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