Indiana University's women's basketball team celebrates

Leveling the Playing Field: Gender Inequality in College Sports

Leveling the Playing Field: Gender Inequality in College Sports

In the 1970s, the federal government passed Title IX as a part of the Educations Amendments of 1972, which prohibited sex-based discrimination within federally funded schools and institutions. These institutions would now have to provide equal funding for both girls' and boys' clubs, school-hosted activities, and sports. This act was the first to directly tackle the issue of a lack of resources for girls across the country on a federal level. 

However, 50 years later, many girls teams across the country are still not receiving the same amount of support as their male counterparts. Last year Sedona Prince, a women’s basketball player for the University of Oregon, went viral on TikTok after filming the discrepancies between the male and female weight rooms during the 2021 NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. In her video, viewers can clearly see that the male weight room has state-of-the-art equipment and machines, yet the female weight room only has one set of weights. Only after the video received 3.5 million views on Tik Tok and was retweeted by NBA player Steph Curry, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) apologized and provided the girls with more training equipment. 

Using social media as a means of gaining attention and shedding light on gender disparities isn’t an uncommon tactic across women’s sports teams. The Tiger Girls dance team from Louisiana State University recently went viral on social media for their award-winning hip-hop routine to Ciara’s song, “Like A Boy.” But their routine was not the only reason for their rise in popularity. LSU previously did not allow the team to compete, citing issues due to COVID-19 and a lack of athletic trainers for the upcoming competition season. 

However, the team was still commissioned to perform at school events and games, and other sports teams were pursuing postseason competitions. Their story was met with thousands of fans posting their own versions of the dance team’s hip-hop routines on Tik Tok and collegiate female athletes across the world sympathizing with them. 

Although these disparities in themselves can be considered Title IX violations, recent changes in NCAA policies might bring this issue further into the limelight. The NCAA recently changed its policy preventing college athletes from profiting off their name, image, and likeness (NIL). These athletes can now receive sponsorships from athletic companies, brand deals, and profit from their image — something they could not do for a very long time. However, it all depends on whether or not their university equally promotes their sport and its individual athletes. 

If a female athlete does not receive as much public exposure as a male athlete of the similar sport, then she runs the risk of missing out on financial opportunities. Universities need to do a better job of ensuring all athletes receive an equal amount of funding, equipment, training, and exposure so that no one is discriminated against based on something they cannot control. 

SOURCES: ll-players/story?id=76581688 ar-after-school-refuses-to-send-them-to-nationals/ mendments%20of%201972%20also,educational%20institutions%20receiving%20feder al%20aid.