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are things equal between the sexes in college sports

Are things equal between the sexes in college sports? "Monday night football won't be shown this week, instead women's field hockey will be aired." Monday night football has been a long lasting American pastime and a change like this would tend to really shock and upset millions of dedicated football fans. This group, made up of mostly men gather round the tube each week for a chance to watch men running around a field carrying a ball and running into each other. The situation I stated earlier probably won't happen, at least not in the near future. Men's sports still seem to dominate, and in order to allow this to be changed, certain steps must be taken. First of all, the situation needs to be addressed as a serious problem, then those people affected need to be determined. Next, the cause of the problem needs to be addressed and finally, it is time to think of solutions. So, first of all, is there really a problem? Why does it matter that men get all the attention in sports? That's the way it has been for hundreds of years dating back to the first Olympics. But then again why should men get all the attention, women work just as hard as men at their sports, why not give them some credit? Men and women are treated differently in sports ranging from the size of budgets, the number of scholarships given, and in how many athletes are participating in sports. Men's athletic budgets are without a doubt a lot higher than women's athletic budgets. On average men's athletic budgets are nearly five times that of women's (Moline 18). An example of this is at schools that offer women's sports of field hockey and volleyball that have budgets less than 20% of that which is allocated for men's sports (Hanmer 13). Overall operating funds for women's sports are about three times that of men's (Moline 18). Funding for individual sports is different but when all added together men receive a lot more money for their sports than women. Another difference between men's and women's sports is the number of athletic scholarships given to athletes of differing sexes. Male athletes, as a whole, receive twice the number of scholarships that women athletes receive (Moline 18). In a survey conducted by the NCAA( national collegiate athletic association) of 253 division 1 schools, athletic scholarship funding was 69.5% for men and 30.5% for women. The actual average amount of money given for scholarships was $849,130 for men and $372,800 for women (Farrey C1). In 1992, division 1 schools with football teams were allowed to offer 92 scholarships per season (Farrey C1). This exceeds any other sport, men or women's, in the number of scholarships available. When everything is added together male athletes receive more scholarship money than female athletes. This is another example of the inequality between the sexes. Yet another difference between men and women's collegiate sports is the number of participants. The ratio of men to women at most colleges is usually one to one, but sports participation is usually two to one favoring men (Tarkan 25). Men's athletic teams are generally bigger than women's teams. This could be attributed to the bigger budgets and more scholarships that would allow men's teams to be larger. This two to one ratio shows that participation is not equal and therefore women are discriminated against. These examples of inequality in college sports shows that there is a problem and it has been a problem for some time. Women have less money budgeted for their sports, less scholarship money, and there are a lot fewer female athletes than male athletes. In 1975, a girl in Colorado had to use the court system in order to be allowed to practice and play with a men's team. This was done since there was no available women's team. (Hanmer 96). Having to go to court, again shows that a problem does exist, and even though it is getting better, with the number of female athletes rising, the problem of inequality still exists. Now that it is known that a problem exists, the next step in solving the problem is to figure out who is affected by sexual discrimination in sports. Contrary to popular belief, female athletes are not the only people affected by sexual discrimination. Male athletes, female athletes, and society are all harmed by sexual discrimination in sports. First of all, the most noticed and the biggest group of people that have brought this problem to everyone's attention is the female athlete. Female athletes have struggled for years to become men's equals in many areas, including athletics. Even though the female role in sports has grown, men still receive most of the glory. Television stations that air sporting events generally air male sports such as football and basketball. The sports that are shown on television receive money from the television station. CBS has paid over 1.7 billion dollars to broadcast the men's NCAA basketball tournament until 2002(Chad 22). Some of this money goes to each team playing in the tournament. Female sport's teams don't have the opportunity to receive money from television because the television stations don't want to air their games. Another way that women are harmed by sexual discrimination is in the amounts of money budgeted to keep their sports going. As I stated earlier, men's sports are budged an average of five times more than women. Male sports seem to take everything away from female sports, but this is not necessarily true. Male athletes are also affected by sexual discrimination in sports. As opportunities are gradually getting better for female athletes, something must give in order to make these opportunities available. These things are usually men's athletics. In some instances men's sporting teams have been limited or totally cut from a school's athletic program in order to make room for more female teams. At the University of Illinois, the men's swimming and diving team was cut in order to meet the title ix equality requirements. Members of this team filed a lawsuit claiming reverse discrimination, but lost(Briggs B4). Another example of male athletes being harmed is at Yale. Water polo and wrestling teams were dropped in 1991 and the track and cross country teams had limits placed to control the numbers of participants(Frankel ). Though title ix was issued to stop discrimination, it is causing some men's sports to be harmed. Now that both sexes of athletes have been addressed, who else could be harmed by sexual discrimination? The answer to that question is society. Everyone that pays taxes is affected. A portion of the taxes that everyone pays goes toward education. Some of the money given to schools through taxes goes toward the school's athletic program. As schools try to equal things out between men's and women's sports, more money will have to be spent. This rise in athletic costs could eventually lead to a raise in taxes in order to allow state schools to continue having sports programs. Another possible affect is the rise in a school's tuition. Parents wishing to send their children to college could face a higher tuition resulting from the money it takes to add women's sports. Parents with athletically gifted male children could find it harder for their children to receive athletic scholarships, as more scholarships are given to girls. The people that are affected by sexual discrimination, including female athletes, male athletes, and society, are affected in different ways. Each group faces hardships caused by sexual discrimination. Now that it is known who is affected by sexual discrimination in sports, the next step to is to learn what causes it. Sexual discrimination is caused by many things that have been around for many years. The three main things that cause sexual discrimination in sports are football, television, and tradition. These three reasons all are causes to sexual discrimination. Football is a widely appreciated and closely watched sport in America. Football alone is the major cause for the wide gap between equality in men's and women's sports. There is no female sports that is comparable to football (Becker 70). Football teams usually cost the most to run of any sport at a college (Gullenberg F5). This is partly due to the large number of players on a team. Numbers can range from 75 to 125 players per team (Tarkan 26). The University of Nebraska took 132 players to the Orange Bowl in 1994 (Burk 93). Some schools are known to put up their football teams in nice hotels before home games, two to a room, while women are bunked four to a room while out of town(Tarkan 27). Football players daily food allowances can average $25 for dinner and $15 for breakfast, while women receive only an $11 total daily allowance. Another luxury of being a college football player is the mode of transportation. While female sports and most male sports rely on busses and vans, the football team is flying. Football games also tend to draw the biggest crowds. For example, at the University of Iowa, home football games can bring in crowds in excess of seventy thousand screaming football fans. The big public response that football receives only causes the sport to grow. ABC's sports commentator, Keith Jackson states, " I don't care for it. There's too much emphasis on one game at the expense of others." Football dominates the airwaves during the season with sometimes three or four college games shown each weekend. Football is a big cause in the sexual discrimination problem that exists in sports today, but it's not the only cause. Another cause for sexual discrimination in sports is the television and other forms of media. As I stated earlier, football games are shown every weekend during the season with hardly any counter balance of women's games shown. The two teams that played in the Fiesta Bowl split $17 million which is about $500,000 more than any other bowl game (Kirkpatrick 82). Basketball season, with numerous games shown every weekend, follows the football season. Even with women's basketball getting some television time, it still doesn't compare to the amount of air time men's basketball gets. During the NCAA championship, ESPN shows men's basketball for nine straight days. CBS broadcasts nearly 66 hours of championship basketball over a 19 day span (Chad 23). This is compared to the one full day allowed for women's NCAA championship basketball (Baker 38). Other sports that are aired by CBS are the College World Series, the NCAA outdoor track and field championship, and NCAA women's gymnastics. The big time sports, football and basketball, bring in the biggest sponsors which is how a television network makes its money. Temple University spent $500,000 on advertising it's men's sports teams while only spending $945 total for women's advertising (Bedell 5B). The money a team receives to be on television also adds to the budget differences between men's and women's sports. Tradition also plays a role in the cause of sexual discrimination in sports. For years, male sporting events have been very exciting and popular. Today, with men generally controlling what is shown on television, male spectator sports still reign (Nelson 78). Male sports are what people grew up watching and appreciating. The excitement that comes in watching these competitions has kept them popular. As women's sports grow, it is hard for people to change their ways and switch over to watch field hockey or volleyball instead of the high intensity game of football. As exciting as these sports may be, people are not always so open to change. Tradition can be a very strong cause to sexual discrimination in sports. These causes; football, television, and tradition, all lead to sexual discrimination in sports. Now that the causes have been identified, it is now possible to start thinking of solution that will help the situation improve. Solutions to this problem of sexual discrimination in sports do exist. Limiting football spending, offering more scholarships for women, and adding more women's sports programs are all possible solutions to this problem. As stated earlier, football is a major contributor to the problem of sexual inequality in sports. Limiting the amount of money spent on football would free up a lot of money for other sports. If there was a national limit on the number of football scholarships allowed, this would ensure that no one team would have an advantage over another. The limiting of scholarships would free up money to a school's athletic program as well as bring the overall number of scholarships closer to the number given to female athletes. If the number of football players is reduced, this would also free up lots of money that would have been spent on helmets, uniforms, expensive knee surgeries, food, and assistant coaches. It would also mean fewer tutors and counselors, because of the large number of academically deficient athletes football tends to include (Farrey C2). According to NCAA president Judy Sweet, "If you took football totally out of the mix, the number of scholarships for men and women would be equal-maybe even more for women." An argument to this situation is that football programs bring in lots of revenue that goes to help athletic programs. This is not necessarily true. Nearly 80% of all football teams lose money(Burk 93). There are too many players on football teams and these excess players use up money. Limiting the football budget and distributing the money elsewhere is a good solution, but it has it's disadvantages as well. Another possible solution to the problem is to offer the same number of scholarships to male athletes and female athletes. As stated earlier, men receive more than double the amount of scholarship money than women. Doing this would be a big step towards equality between men's and women's sports. This solution also has a disadvantage, the cost. Scholarships cost money and adding scholarships gets to be rather expensive. This would be a good solution, if not for the high cost. Another possible solution is to add more women's teams to a school's athletic program. This would be a good solution since most schools offer more men's sports than women's sports. In the Big Ten Conference, they voted to bring intercollegiate sports to a two to three ratio of women to men (Moline 18). Since 1992, over 800 athletic teams for women have been added to colleges across the country (Tarkan 26). This has helped in closing the gap between the number of men's and women's sports teams offered. However, this is not a solution without drawbacks. In order to bring this ratio closer, men's teams would have to be cut or additional funding would have to come from somewhere else. In Illinois, a bill is being passed that would allow colleges to receive more funding for athletics (Tarkan 26). This would allow more women's teams to be added without hurting men's teams. This is a good start, but in most states funding for this solution makes it less attractive. Overall, money seems to be the biggest problem when it comes to a good solution to the problem of sexual discrimination in sports. The solutions of cutting back at football funding, giving equal number of scholarships, and adding women's teams, all have their drawbacks. It seems that none of these solutions alone will solve the problem. I think a combination of all of these solutions is the best solution to this problem. Lack of money was the drawback to the solutions of adding scholarships and more sports for women. These solutions are good, but a source of money is needed to allow these to be practical solutions. The money for these solutions could come from football. Football has far more money budgeted than any other sport at a college. As I stated earlier football doesn't necessarily make money and therefore they shouldn't need to spend as much as they do. If football funding helped subsidize new women's teams, it would allow more women's teams to be created. This would help bring the number of men's and women's sports to a closer ratio, as well as bring the participation of male and female athletes to a closer proportion. If football programs were limited to a smaller number of scholarships, those extra scholarships could be distributed to female athletes in order to equalize up the number of scholarships given to male and female athletes. This combination of cutting back at football funding and adding more scholarships and sports for women seems to be the best solution to the problem of sexual discrimination in sports. Even though this may not make things totally equal, it does make things better. Hopefully, someday men and women will be considered equals in all aspects of life, including sports. Until then, we must do our best to be as fair as possible.
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