SBD/Issue 175/Collegiate Sports

Report Shows Growth For NCAA Women, But Some Question Data

Report Shows Continued Growth
In Women’s College Athletics
A report released yesterday by the Women's Sports Foundation (WSF) showed that women's collegiate athletics opportunities “grew by almost 26,000 and men's by about 7,000 at 738 NCAA schools between 1995-96 and 2004-05,” according to Brady & Whiteside of USA TODAY. But the College Sports Council (CSC), an advocacy group for men's sports that released a report in March showing men's opportunities are declining, “alleged the new report artificially inflates men's numbers.” CSC Exec Dir Eric Pearson said, “The NCAA and the [WSF] have cooked the books.” But NCAA Dir of Public & Media Relations Erik Christianson said, “Any suggestion that the NCAA is manipulating data is patently absurd.” He added that the NCAA did not participate in the WSF report. Brady & Whiteside note that the WSF report shows men's opportunities “rose in Divisions II and III, stayed about the same in the lower levels of Division I and fell only in Division I-A” (USA TODAY, 6/6). 

WORK TO DO: In Atlanta, Karen Rosen notes the WSF report also showed the growth of women participating in college sports “slowed after 2000 and ‘still lags far behind men’s participation levels,’ and the percentage of female athletes has not kept pace with female enrollment.” WSF CEO Donna Lopiano said, “Women are still severely underrepresented” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 6/6). In N.Y., Bill Pennington notes almost 20% of schools in the study received a “failing grade, meaning they had a gap of more than 22 percentage points between the percentage of females athletes and the percentage of women in the student body” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/6).

HONOR: The Univ. at Buffalo, Tennessee Tech, Purdue and Washington State were honored yesterday by the WSF with the inaugural Opportunity Awards for "making gender equity a priority" (AP, 6/6).

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