A group of four coaches associations representing women’s team sports is calling for an expanded scope into inequities between women’s and men’s sports at the NCAA and on campuses. The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) are encouraging a thorough review that recognizes trends in participation and preferences among female student-athletes and embraces the expanding popularity of numerous women’s sports.
“There is egregious inequality across the spectrum of women’s sports,” said AVCA Executive Director, Kathy DeBoer. “The disparities are most obvious in women’s sports that do not have a March Madness equivalent. The well-publicized issues in San Antonio should be addressed but cannot be accepted as a comprehensive solution for women’s sports in the NCAA or on campuses. It’s time to respect women’s sports across the spectrum and move beyond the default comparisons with more established male equivalents.”
“While we are proud of the overall growth and support of softball nationally, inequity still exists and that must be addressed, not only within an NCAA championship experience, which impacts a relatively small number of programs, but also within the conferences and at the institutional level,” said Carol Bruggeman, Executive Director, National Fastpitch Coaches Association. “Our women’s teams should not have less support and fewer resources than men’s teams, yet that has been typical and sadly, even expected and accepted — until now. The photos from San Antonio pulled back the curtain and jump started an important dialogue about this issue of gender equity in sports. We look forward to sharing our perspective and experiences with the gender equity review group to achieve the goal of eliminating these differences in treatment based on gender.”
“Gender equity has been a focus of women’s coaches for years without the NCAA listening,” said Liz Robertshaw, Executive Director of the IWLCA. “It is time.”
The coalition is seeking support from college presidents, athletics directors, senior woman administrators and the NCAA Board of Directors to authorize an independent review of gender equity across NCAA Championships, on their campuses and in their conference offices.
“2022 is the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX,” said Heather Lewis, interim Executive Director of the NFHCA. “It is time for recognition that girls and women will make different sport choices from men and those should be honored.”