"...everyone is bored,and devotes himself to cultivating habits..these habits are not peculiar to our town.." Albert Camus "The Plague"

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Women's Collegiate Basketball:
Male Practice or Malpractice?

The Committee on Women's Athletics* (CWA) of the NCAA has proposed the elimination of male practice players within women's collegiate basketball. Although we were not aware of it, this is a long established technique for strengthening women's teams dating back to the 1970's. Male practice players have helped make women's basketball teams quicker, faster, and stronger. A practice used frequently at prominent programs such as UConn, Stanford and Notre Dame. Nancy Lieberman of ESPN says the proposal would be "a step in the wrong direction". That this controversy is yet another example of out of control PC is made clear in her further comments:

As for the CWA's thinking that the use of male practice players "violates the spirit of gender equity and Title IX," I just don't see how having men in practice hurts women. The men are not stealing our scholarships. They're not in the scorebook. Instead, these are guys who give up their time and get nothing for it. There is no compensation, unless you count their bruises. Male practice players simply help women play harder, help us achieve a higher standard and help prepare us for a higher level of enjoyable competition. I mean, come on, what's next? Will the CWA tell me male coaches are violating Title IX?

The video here provides an interesting glimpse at the views of coaches and players regarding the use of male practice players.

*Excerpts from the CWA report:
A recommendation by the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics to ban all male players from practice participation has left local women's college basketball coaches fuming.

The Committee on Women's Athletics (CWA) issued a position paper Monday that said the use of male practice players in women's athletics "violates the spirit of gender equity and Title IX."

The 15-member committee said it believes female players are harmed by male practice participation, according to its report:

"The message to female student-athletes seems to be, 'You are not good enough to make our starters better, so we need to use men instead.' This approach implies an archaic notion of male preeminence that continues to impede progress toward gender equity and inclusion. ...

"To have talented, capable female student-athletes stand on the sidelines during official practice while the team's starters practice against 'more talented men' is a lost opportunity. Many of these female student-athletes are on full scholarship and were recruited to participate in intercollegiate athletics at many other institutions.

"To have them sitting out of practice while a full 'scout team' of men come to practices is costing them the opportunity for growth and betterment that they were promised during recruitment."

Tags: women's basketball, UConn, Geno Auriema, NCAA, political correctness, basketball

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