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Archive for April, 2011

Grading America’s sports departments

This week, the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) released its third Racial and Gender Report Card on newspaper and online newsrooms. APSE partners with The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport to conduct the survey every two years.

The 2010 survey shows women and journalists of color increased as members of the total staffs of all APSE member papers and websites in 2010. However, the number of African-American sports editors has dropped since the last survey in 2008.

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Football’s Absolute Power Corrupts Colleges Absolutely (though it looks like it was also titled: King Football Rules Gender-Equity Debate)

Let’s ask the question: What causes this insatiable need for female (or ersatz female) names and numbers? It stems from the gigantic elephant leaving proof of its presence smack in the middle of most college campuses: King Football.

Even at the moderate Division I programs — the ones that are kicked around in the early weeks of the season in return for a big payoff — football squads include more than 100 players, most of them on scholarship. That’s easy enough to detect — just look at the duplicate numbers standing side by side during a game, one an offensive player, one a defensive player, unable to be on the field at the same time. The powerhouses are stockpiling bodies, presumably so other teams cannot get at them.

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Sooo…

when was the last time you checked the WNBA Transactions page? *hint, hint*

Mechelle writes about the biggest non-surprise trade of the (pre) season.

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Penny Taylor is interviewed

Loz helps Liz handle The shock of the new

AW: Are you looking forward to playing each other?

LC: I can’t wait to play against the big LJ, drop another 40 on me. Woohoo!

LJ: It’s not going to happen, it’s different in America. Defence is so important over there. Coaches really play to stop the main players. It won’t be one-on-one against anybody. You’re going to have five people against you and strategies to try to limit you. You’ve just got to relax and not be afraid. That might be one thing that holds you back. You’ve got the world at your feet and there is not one woman in that league who is as strong as you. I can guarantee you that right now.

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is reviewed over at SportsPage Magazine by Tara Polen: “Off the Rez” Inspires, Though Off the Mark

Of note: “Off the Rez” will air on (TLC) on Saturday, May 14th at 9pm.

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A shout out to

Indiana’s Dave Riley: Northrop legend gets Nancy Rehm Award

Dave Riley’s influence can be felt around Fort Wayne these days, even 13 years after he retired as the Northrop girls basketball coach. Rarely is there a current Fort Wayne coach who doesn’t mention Riley’s name when accepting a state trophy, which has happened quite a bit lately.

That kind of clout is what has earned Riley the 2011 Nancy Rehm Award, an honor given to those who have excelled in women’s athletics.

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Some “knock on” effect

From the StarNews in Delaware: UNCW has its eye out on keeping up with Title IX

“It’s a non-issue for UNCW,” athletic director Jimmy Bass said Wednesday afternoon. “We count tennis players as tennis players. Kids that scrimmage with the women’s basketball team are just students.

“We do everything here straight up.”

From Ed Graney at the Las Vegas Review Journal: Apathy spurs fudged Title IX numbers

The problem with Title IX compliance was, is and always will be football, which more than anything has led to the cutting of men’s sports across the country and schools padding their numbers on the women’s side with male practice players, which, by the way, the Department of Education has no issue.

(Good news for Texas A&M.)

But when you allot 85 scholarships and more than 100 participation spots to football, you have to discover an equal slice of the pie on the women’s side.

Football became too big, too powerful. Yes, it makes most of the money. It also uses most of the resources.

Sorry. Division I football could survive with 40 scholarships and participation numbers of 80. It could. It also would solve most if not all Title IX issues overnight.

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via email from Erin over at the Title IX blog:

I just read A&M’s response on your blog and they are not technically wrong.  EADA reporting requirements ask for a tally of “participants” and the definition of “participant” includes anyone who practices with the team. 

The only problem with their defense in my opinion is that the well-known purpose of the EADA is to make gender equity transparent.  So it’s not exactly in the spirit of the rules to report male practice players there without noting in the “caveat” section of the reporting form that you have done so.  For an example of a university that does report in that manner, pull up the EADA reports for Cornell. 

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Texas A&M – NY Times: College Teams Relying On Deception Undermine Gender Equity; Byrne Responds

The New York Times published a story on Tuesday questioning our compliance with Title IX and specifically referenced our national champion women’s basketball team and the male A&M students who practice with the team.

We are very proud of our Title IX compliance at Texas A&M and feel that we are leaders nationally in this area. In fact, every year we have a third party fully evaluate our Title IX compliance. Such an evaluation is not mandated.

Unfortunately, facts can get in the way of accurately reporting a story, especially when looking at an easy target like the recent national champion of women’s basketball. Misconceptions and misinformation grows on itself. The New York Times writes things and other media regurgitate the information how they see fit.

Here are the facts.

Title IX essentially gives female student-athletes the same opportunities as male student-athletes. In order to comply with Title IX, one of the tests is the proportion of male vs. female students enrolled at the institution as compared to the proportion of athletic opportunities offered.

Title IX regulations require that an institution NOT count male practice players.

Meanwhile, the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) requires male practice players to be reported as participants on any women’s team they practice with. In 2009-10, we had male practice players associated with women’s basketball, women’s tennis, and volleyball.

The EADA is a different calculation than that used for compliance with Title IX regulations. The bottom line is we are dealing with two separate laws with two separate definitions of a participant. The fact is we reported accurate numbers in each case, and we are compliant with both.

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1) Texas A&M Raises Most Money for Kay Yow Cancer Fund

2) Texas A&M Will Play UConn In Jimmy V Classic

3) Women’s Basketball Recognized at the State Capitol Tuesday

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responses. Gender Games: Answering Questions About Roster Management and Title IX

With 270 comments and counting, New York Times readers reacted to my article in Tuesday’s paper about roster management with passion, insight and numerous personal stories about how Title IX had affected their lives, whether good or bad. Many readers questioned why so much attention is paid to female athletes and argued that the fact that 57 percent of college students are now female is proof of discrimination against men by colleges and universities. Others asserted that Title IX overlooks the fact that men and women have different interests, and raised the question of whether fewer women want to play sports. Still others said the examples cited in the article showed that, 40 years after it was passed, Title IX needs to be rewritten.

Here’s a selection of questions that readers posed, and my responses.

Expect more, since Thomas’ article the first in a series of articles.

I can’t encourage you enough to get educated on the subject of Title IX. It’s AMAZING how much mis- and dis-information there is out there.- Few Americans Familiar With Title IX, Though Most Approve of It. Oh, and the Times also has an editorial: Cynical Games With Title IX

These practices are cynical and might be illegal. Congress clearly needs to tighten the reporting standards, so that schools are required tell the whole truth about their athletic teams and their efforts to ensure gender equality. Boards of trustees and alumni need to take immediate responsibility, pressing their schools to comply, not just with the letter of the law, but with the spirit.

Adds the Title IX Blog:

In sum, the NYT is the bearer of bad news when it exposes the extent and scope of universities’ false reports of gender equity. I wish that we could believe universities who report gender equity in athletics. But at least the good news is that after this public exposure, investigators, complainants, plaintiffs, bloggers, and other watchdogs are less likely to be duped by false numbers going forward. We’ll dig below the surface of universities’ reported data and demand stronger evidence in support of universities’ claims to gender equity. When they realize that their false numbers will not protect them, maybe they’ll start reporting the real ones.

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You’re going to have to wait a week for the Seattle Times’ feature on Laurel Richie, but you can check out the vast media coverage below:

First, read the teleconference transcription at the .com (’cause it’s always fun to see what writers pick out).

Next, from Kelly Hines (not Lynn?) at the Tulsa World: WNBA president Laurel Richie calls league a ‘terrific product’

“I am learning along the way,” she said during a media teleconference Tuesday. ” … I have been a viewer of (WNBA) games, not necessarily an attender of games.”

From Vin at the AP: Richie set to take over as WNBA president

Laurel Richie acknowledged she doesn’t know a lot about the WNBA’s history. Still, days after being hired as the WNBA’s third president, she called it a ‘dream job.'”I am learning along the way,” Richie said Tuesday on a national conference call with reporters. “I have been, as part of the interviewing process, spending lots of time with many, many people with the NBA and WNBA. I am on that learning curve.”

In contemplating why she previously wasn’t a ticket-buying WNBA fan, Richie pinpoints the fact that she was “not necessarily being approached.” Meaning she felt like the league hadn’t made an effective concerted effort to reach people who weren’t already largely predisposed to being women’s basketball fans.

“So what I want to think about is, how do we reach out to people and engage them?” Richie said. “Versus assuming or putting the burden on them to come and grab us.”

From Mel: The Business of New WNBA President Richie Will Be — Business

For those who have watched the WNBA evolve into its forthcoming 15th season there were few surprises out of new president Laurel J. Richie’s introductory teleconference with the national media Tuesday afternoon.When Donna Orender, the second WNBA president and successor to Val Ackerman, announced her resignation last fall, officials in the hybrid connectivity of the NBA and WNBA targeted the next leader to be someone with a strong business and marketing background to rebrand the league.

I’ve maintained since the beginning of the WNBA’s search for a new president that someone from outside the women’s basketball world would be a good idea.

An “outsider” would presumably bring some fresh ideas, a frame of reference free from historical inertia, and perhaps a critical eye on some practices that have become accepted as common sense.

The NBA’s search committee took that reasoning to its extreme with its choice for the league’s third president to succeed Donna Orender.

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From the folks at the WNIT

– Host teams won an average of 64 percent of home games. The best round for the visiting teams was Round 2, in which visitors claimed wins in 9 of the 16 games. The unusual numbers reflect an ongoing trend showing the parity of play in the WNIT. In the 2010 WNIT, home teams won 70 percent of the games. In 2009, it was 75 percent. In 2008, home teams won 81 percent of the games. In 2007, it was 87 percent.

– Two schools sold out their arenas in 2011 for the first time in school history: Toledo did it with its 7,300-seat arena in the semifinal and final games; and Florida Gulf Coast hit the milestone in its Round 2 game against the University of Florida, when it packed a record 4,543 fans at Alico Arena.

– Nevada drew its largest crowd in school history when it hosted Southern Cal in Round 2 in front of 3,361 fans.

– Illinois State advanced to the WNIT semifinals for the third straight year.

– Wyoming’s fans continued to turn out in record numbers. The Cowgirls averaged 5,178 fans in the first three rounds, a 49 percent increase from their regular-season average.

From Toledo: WNIT profitable venture for UT – Rockets’ books in black after 6-game run

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A response

USF defends gender-equity practices after NYT story

After being featured prominently in a New York Times story on college athletic programs “relying on deception” to meet Title IX standards, USF officials said Tuesday that they have changed how they count female track athletes for gender-equity purposes, but that they remain among the most balanced schools in the state and Big East conference even after those changes.

“You can take all those (questionable) numbers away, and we’re still in conformity (with Title IX),” executive athletic director Bill McGillis said. “If your premise is that we are including kids on the cross-country roster who are not participating in cross-country in order to comply with the proportionality piece of Title IX, that would be false.”

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Jackson to put Olympics ahead of WNBA

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49ers plan to introduce women’s coach today – Sources say Consuegra, a Marquette assistant and former Iowa player, will replace Aston.

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over at the Title IX blog…

From the New York Times: College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equity

Ever since Congress passed the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX, universities have opened their gyms and athletic fields to millions of women who previously did not have chances to play. But as women have surged into a majority on campus in recent years, many institutions have resorted to subterfuge to make it look as if they are offering more spots to women.

At the University of South Florida, more than half of the 71 women on the cross-country roster failed to run a race in 2009. Asked about it, a few laughed and said they did not know they were on the team.

***

But as women have grown to 57 percent of American colleges’ enrollment, athletic programs have increasingly struggled to field a proportional number of female athletes. And instead of pouring money into new women’s teams or trimming the rosters of prized football teams, many colleges are turning to a sleight of hand known as roster management. According to a review of public records from more than 20 colleges and universities by The New York Times, and an statistics from all 345 institutions in N.C.A.A. Division I — the highest level of college sports — many are padding women’s team rosters with underqualified, even unwitting, athletes. They are counting male practice players as women. And they are trimming the rosters of men’s teams.

“Those of us in the business know that universities have been end-running Title IX for a long time, and they do it until they get caught,” said Donna E. Shalala, the president of the University of Miami.

Shocked. I’m just SHOCKED that male dominated athletic departments should do such a thing.

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From Clay Kallam: The Lynx Can’t Defend? So What? – The Minnesota Lynx won’t have a hard time piling up the points.

At the end of the game, the team with the most points wins.

It doesn’t matter if the final is 83-81 or 63-61. It doesn’t matter if one team dives on the floor all the time, or screens out with the fervor of a Catholic arriving at Lourdes. It doesn’t matter if one team is filled with defensive demons, or if the coach is known for her elaborate rotations.

All that matters is who has the most points.

From Sam Riches: New Movie: Off the Rez – Another great hoops documentary from the creator of Through the Fire.

Shoni Schimmel streaks down the left side of the court, her long brown ponytail bouncing in the air behind her. At full speed, she uses her right hand to wrap the ball behind her back and through her legs, before gently laying it off the backboard with her left. Her defenders, now a few steps behind her, never stood a chance.

Schimmel is from the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon. Situated a few miles outside of Pendleton and just north of the Blue Mountains; Umatilla is home to around three thousand Native Americans. For Shoni, it is also her proving ground. She plays ‘rez ball,’ a ferocious, attacking style of basketball, fueled by passion, creativity and relentless aggressiveness. It is this flare and fearlessness that has resulted in many declaring Schimmel the second coming of Pistol Pete Maravich. A comparison that, while initially seeming improbable, is startlingly accurate

Other articles/reviews: New York Times and New York Post.

From Candice Wiggins: A WNBA Woman – The 15th year celebration of the WNBA comes at no better time.

When I was 6 years old, I was not even close to being good at basketball. I only scored 2 points the whole season (although my first rec team went undefeated and won the championship). Even though I was playing up against girls that were three and four years older than me (I was 5 turning 6, they were 8 and 9), I still wanted to be the best. But I wasn’t. That was when I first contracted what I now call my “competition sickness”. I had to be good, by any means necessary. Then, something ridiculous and partially unexplainable happened. I got GOOD the next season. Really good, to the point that I can still remember the moment I thought to myself as an 8 year old, “I’m good!” I believe that for me and for all great players “getting good” starts with having goals and then applying yourself. It took me countless hours of practice but I was dedicated. It was then a little hard for me to understand how good I truly wanted to be…I was at times even getting bored as a 9 and 10 year old, with high aspirations to be an Olympian like my ’96 Atlanta girls, but nothing really motivated me for the next four years, outside of college women’s basketball. Then suddenly my mom ran into my room and told me to turn on the TV.

“Look Candi, look who’s got next?!!!” It was 1997. The WNBA was launching.

From Delisha Milton-Jones: On Gratitude – The WNBA All-Star talks about the importance of giving back.


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Monday dribble: WNBA president, pro hockey, and clips

It’s interesting how many were irked at the WNBA’s timing for announcing Laurel J. Richie as its third president. The Twitter timeline blew up, ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel wrote an entire column and I spent hours discussing it with people who don’t even care about the league.

Rumor states it was a forced release because Girl Scouts of the USA was going to make an announcement. But aside from the press conference not being the same day, what does it really matter? Especially since we don’t know when the decision was made.

The WNBA is entering its 15th season. Excitement and buzz should circle the players, not the president.

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From Toledo on the Move — Miller ain’t: Another School Passes on Miller

In this day of social media, leave it to a twitter account to break the news.

According to BGSU women’s basketball coach Curt Miller’s tweet today, he did not get the Cal coaching job.

@CurtMillerBGWbb:  “Congratulations to Lindsay (Gottlieb at Cal) and Yvonne (Sanchez at New Mexico)…two great coaches and even better people…wish you all the best building your programs.”

The address has been confirmed to be Miller’s.

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Whine alert.

I have a seriously annoying Adelaide-esque head cold.

But, my sneezing through Central Park didn’t stop me from seeing him (blue-winged warbler) or him (rose-breasted grosbeak) and him (worm-eating warbler), so life i…aaaaaachoooo!!! is good.

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WATN? Val Ackerman

With the NHL!

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UCLA Hires Cori Close As Head Coach: An Offensive-Minded Coach For A Defensive Team

UCLA introduced Cori Close as their new women’s basketball coach today to replace Nikki Caldwell, who moved on to LSU on April 4 after a record-breaking season for the Bruins.

As a California native and self-proclaimed fan of UCLA women’s basketball – who got choked up during this afternoon’s press conference – the hire is a natural fit.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Coaching: Why Developing Expertise At Mid-Majors Is Best For The Game

Brian McCormick, author of Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development who writes at Brian McCormick Basketball (developyourbballiq.com), is an experienced coach and development expert whose basketball insights about everything from youth development to point guard play are valuable for any thoughtful basketball fan. He wrote and submitted the following guest post prior to UCLA’s hire of Cori Close today.

At the Final Four, some people wondered whether the fact that the previous four Pac-10 hires have been males – after the recent hiring of Kevin McGuff at the University of Washington – is indicative of a problem. However, rather than looking to blame the athletic directors for a gender bias, I feel that we need to examine the mentality of coaches in the women’s game.

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Nate on the new Prez

Three Ways That Laurel Richie’s Girl Scouts Experience Bodes Well For Her New Role As WNBA President

It’s obvious by now that Laurel J. Richie’s business acumen was among the primary reasons she got the job as WNBA president to succeed Donna Orender.

Perhaps equally obvious is that there’s not a whole lot else known about her, which could possibly create more anxiety among a fan base that has come to expect that the league will “prioritize making and maintaining those grassroots connections to people who care about your product” as ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel wrote yesterday.

But as we all wait to learn more about her vision for the WNBA, I found a portion of her remarks at the 2010 Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas State of the Girl event to be somewhat insightful in terms of what she might bring to the WNBA.

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Another job filled

Yvonne Sanchez Named Head Women’s Basketball Coach at the University of New Mexico

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As Mechelle notes,

the announcement of Laurel Richie as Prez simply underlines the issues she’ll have to address: New president will have to play catch-up – WNBA should have made hire before draft, women’s Final Four

The WNBA announced its new president Thursday: Laurel J. Richie, who is a longtime marketing executive, most recently for Girl Scouts of the USA.

In a splendid bit of missed opportunity, the league made this announcement two weeks AFTER the women’s Final Four (held at a WNBA arena) and a week AFTER the WNBA draft (held at ESPN headquarters).

Added Mel:

Timing was not everything for the WNBA Thursday in announcing veteran marketing executive Laurel J. Richie, a senior vice president and chief marketing officer with Girl Scouts of the USA, as the women’s pro basketball league’s third president in its 15-year history.

The WNBA/NBA PR machine, somewhat lacking the luster it once held, managed to roll out a name without rolling out the body.

How true. Think how much buzz was generated by this year’s Four — how much media was there, ready to write. So, instead of a prepped blanket of coverage, we get one other article on the new Prez. That one’s from Ben, who thinks Richie is the Perfect Choice for WNBA President

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basketball, this news from a reader:

This spring, the Window Rock girls team won the Arizona 3A girls basketball State Championship.  In New Mexico THREE out of five catagories, 2A, 3A, and 4A were won by Navajo teams or teams with several Navajo girls on the team.  Also, the 4A State champs, the Gallup Bengals, had the New Mexico Gatorade girl basketball player of the year on their team—Justina Prairie Chief.

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Missed Mechelle’s chat

(was birding with the mater), but there’s some fun stuff on the new Prez.

Richard (NYC) If it already hasn’t been asked…what do you think of the new WNBA President? Should they have picked someone with some ties to basketball ? Im not sure if she has any?

Mechelle Voepel: It’s hard to really know what to think. They announced Laurel J. Richie this morning. There was no mention of any sports-playing background in the WNBA’s release. She will not have a teleconference with the media until next Tuesday. I really don’t understand why the league made the announcement today and did not have her available to speak today. The WNBA’s release included her basic business background – she’s most recently been with Girl Scouts of the USA – and very little personal/life background. Maybe they want us to go try to dig up her life story in the next week.

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Bill Fennelly Named Head Coach of 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team

A three-time gold medal winner as a USA assistant coach, USA Basketball today announced that Iowa State University’s Bill Fennelly will return to the USA sideline as head coach of the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team. Serving as assistant coaches will be Suzie McConnell-Serio (Duquesne University) and Terri Williams-Flournoy (Georgetown University).

The trio will look to defend the USA’s 2009 gold medal at the 2011 World University Games women’s basketball competition August 14-21 in Shenzhen, China.

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Speaking of new heads…

will UCLA have one at 1:30pm PST?

(And will their initials be C.C.)

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