FanDuel - WFBC

January 03, 2007

A Manís Place at a Womanís Practice Faces Limits: The idea is that the men are bigger, stronger and faster than the women and can provide more rigorous opposition. But if the N.C.A.A.ís committee on womenís athletics has its way, the use of men in practices will soon end.

posted by v3rity to culture at 07:42 PM - 24 comments

what does it really matter who is used for practices.. you would think that the NCAA has more important things to worry about ..

posted by cuabigdog at 07:55 PM on January 03

Up to 15 scholarships doesn't mean 15 scholarships. If they aren't good enough, then why a scholarship?

posted by ryemonster at 08:42 PM on January 03

What is the problem here? Lost opportunities? If the coach doesn't use all the scholarships they run the risk of not having enough players if there is a rash of injuries. At first glance, I thought the America East had it right by making the teams use all 15 scholarships, however, that is like reverse discrimination or affirmative action. Who is getting hurt here? If players who are on scholarship aren't getting practice opportunities they are still getting an education paid for. If those same players want playing time or practice opportunities, they can always transfer. Find me a coach of a women's team that supports this agenda. The NCAA has many other issues to deal with. Sometimes I thiink it stands for No Clue About Athletes.

posted by chuck'n'duck at 09:03 PM on January 03

I don't get the big problem with this, either. If this is what provides them the best chance to win, then so be it. The line that annoyed me the most in this article was the one about "an archaic notion of male pre-eminence"...come on, can we not accept that (generally speaking) males are bigger, stronger and overall better athletes than females? This story from almost a year ago today fell along those same lines, though in that case it was the parents of the guys who were worried about the game being played. Note to NCAA: Lack of D-I football playoff system? Something most fans are upset about. This? No one cares except them and a few feminists. Way to tackle the big problems, guys.

posted by TheQatarian at 10:15 PM on January 03

males are bigger, stronger and overall better athletes than females Bigger? Sure. Stronger? Sure. Better athletes than females? Depends on the sport. I've read somewhere that women are closing the gap VERY quickly when it comes to long distance and ultra-long distance running. As well, in fine motor sports like billiards, darts, air rifle and bowling, there is nothing to suggest that a woman couldn't compete in an elite male league. Finally, women have medaled in Olympic equestrian events for a while now.

posted by grum@work at 11:36 PM on January 03

I've read somewhere that women are closing the gap VERY quickly when it comes to long distance and ultra-long distance running. I don't know if that's exactly true. It's one of those things you hear growing up (like killer bees coming to kill us) that seems to come out of no where and in the end might not ever happen. Are Women Catching Up With Men Will women overtake men in the long run? I follow running a little bit, so I knew the tides had turned a little regarding the subject. Of course, I just did a quick search. I'm sure there are studies that disagree, but I don't think it's something to hang our hat on in regards to the debate.

posted by justgary at 11:59 PM on January 03

Biologically speaking men are stronger and faster in a majority of cases, therefore it makes sense to use them to practice against. The proposal will be unworkable in reality though, I'm sure coaches could arrange "unofficial" practice if they wanted to get around any ban.

posted by Fence at 03:08 AM on January 04

Biologically speaking men are stronger and faster in a majority of cases, therefore it makes sense to use them to practice against. That seems like weak reasoning to me, and if it's the reasoning used by Div. I coaches in women's athletics, I expect it'll backfire on them eventually if not soon. You want your players to practice in whatever way that will best refine their skills for the actual competition that they'll face. You need to look carefully at just what would accomplish that. Simply choosing bigger and stronger opponents is unlikely to be the full package, and could even be counterproductive: using basketball as an example, would it really make sense to develop skills to deal with opponents who are six inches taller on average than what you'll actually be dealing with? More isn't necessarily better.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:23 AM on January 04

The only women who are catching up with men are the one's who fail gender tests like that Indian runner did a few weeks ago.

posted by antwan at 07:44 AM on January 04

The US olympic team has been doing this for years, sometimes even against a handful of NBA players. It seems to work well for them. I don't really see what the fuss is about it helping their game, but it really sucks that women could be losing scholarships because of it.

posted by louisville_slugger at 08:04 AM on January 04

Women are catching up to men in air rifles. WTF??? Last time I checked you dont have to be an athelete to shoot a gun or throw a dart. As for basketball, of course you get better when you practice against players that are worse matchups for yourself, so when you get to a good matchup then you can dominate. No different than a frosh and a senior. The frosh should have a bad match up against a senior, but when he plays another frosh he should do even better than he did before. I say let the women stop playing with the men. I am tired of hearing how good they are. If college teams need to take reguar students off the yard to practice then obviously there are some serious gaps in talent.

posted by Drallig9399 at 08:22 AM on January 04

I think lbb is right. You need to practice against the kind of competition that you can expect in most cases. However, sometimes it might be the case that competing against men more mirrors your competition than your bench players. I think the coaches should decide. If they were worried about women not getting the scholarships that are available, then they should have addressed that issue directly, like the American East Conference did.

posted by bperk at 09:18 AM on January 04

I'll second the support for lbb's position from a practical standpoint. I think that there are some major (flawed) assumptions being made that this practice of playin' against the guys is somehow intrinsically better than playing against other women, especially in some sports. Note to NCAA: Lack of D-I football playoff system? Something most fans are upset about. This? No one cares except them and a few feminists. Way to tackle the big problems, guys. From a political standpoint, we've got a LONG way to go if we are still relapsing into this whole "reverse discrimination" discourse, or buying into the idea that the feminist project/battle is "old news." Thinking that gender equality isn't as big of an issue as the faulty DI playoff system in men's football is a sign that we are clearly lacking some "big picture" perspective.

posted by Spitztengle at 10:40 AM on January 04

If they were worried about women not getting the scholarships that are available, then they should have addressed that issue directly, like the American East Conference did. Well put. That's what I was trying to say. Does it help their team to practice against men? That's a question that I believe the likes of Pat Summit should be answering. If the top coaches in the country believe it helps, who are we to say it doesn't? If we were qualified to answer those questions we would be making hundreds of thousands if not millions a year to coach d-1 programs. It's a touchy subject that could be twisted into any arguement you wanted to make either for or against a gender related argument. But like Bperk, I think the important issue here is the lack of scholarships being offered because it.

posted by louisville_slugger at 11:22 AM on January 04

Great articles, justgary. I guess the jury is out with regards to ultra-distance running. However, it was interesting to read that women are outperforming men in long distance open swimming. Women are catching up to men in air rifles. WTF??? Last time I checked you dont have to be an athelete to shoot a gun or throw a dart. Eye-hand co-ordination, concentration and repetitive muscle skills are required for shooting disciplines (which are part of the Summer Olympics).

posted by grum@work at 12:06 PM on January 04

But like Bperk, I think the important issue here is the lack of scholarships being offered because it. Text of Title IX, for reference. From the statute: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..." ...and then there are a few exceptions listed, none of which apply here. The basic text of Title IX is very simple; what it means -- exactly what an "educational program or activity" is, what exclusion means, what discrimination consists of -- has been continuously thrashed out since 1972. Are you denying someone access to an "educational program or activity" if you deny them access to the practice squad, based on gender? You could probably make that argument, if being on the practice squad means being able to develop skills that could get you somewhere in the future. If that's the argument the committee wants to make, however, they haven't done their cause a favor by throwing in the scholarship issue, which is really a separate thing.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:13 PM on January 04

I think that the only way using male practice players violates the spirit of title IX is if it limits women's opportunity - which is presumably done by teams carrying less players since they don't need them for practice. If you take out the scholarship argument, what are you really left with? The NCAA would then be left arguing that coaches only practice their starters not their bench players, without any evidence whatsoever that that is so and contrary to good coaching. They would have to go further and argue that failing to practice enough is depriving these players of something -- based solely on their sex. This discrimination, of course, isn't happening because of their sex, but because of their status as non-starter.

posted by bperk at 01:18 PM on January 04

Whoa, whoa - no men at practice? Well sure, fine - why don't we just TELL all these girls to be lesbians, huh? Just make it a requirement, you godless bastards. Well no daughter of mine is going to go all rug-munchery on MY watch. That's why she's not going to one of these liberal "colleges" you pole-smoking bleeding hearts speak of. And another thing. When did it be okay for girls to drive? I look around and all these females be driving. And I'm thinking - when was it okay for them to even ride bikes? I draw the line at roller blading and skating in the winter and you know what it means? It means dinner is hot and waiting for me - you souless commie traitors. (today I contribute nothing meaningful. You're welcome.)

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:50 PM on January 04

Eye-hand co-ordination, concentration and repetitive muscle skills are required for shooting disciplines (which are part of the Summer Olympics). I believe those same skills could make you pretty good at Halo, and you can still be a fat, My Bloody Valentine T-shirt wearing load. Halo, however, isn't on the schedule at the Summer Olympics as of yet.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:34 PM on January 04

"rug-munchery"? Now I have read it all. (p.s., Weedy -- I own two bikes, nyaah)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:46 PM on January 04

I believe those same skills could make you pretty good at Halo, and you can still be a fat, My Bloody Valentine T-shirt wearing load. Halo, however, isn't on the schedule at the Summer Olympics as of yet. Eye-hand co-ordination for firing a real rifle is probably a couple of orders of magnitude more difficult than firing a plasma rifle in Halo. Also, I'm pretty sure that while getting jack up on Red Bull during a Halo match might make you a better player, it'll completely ruin your ability to compete in Olympic shooting events.

posted by grum@work at 03:29 PM on January 04

Eye-hand co-ordination for firing a real rifle is probably a couple of orders of magnitude more difficult than firing a plasma rifle in Halo. I kind of doubt that. I've always thought that what makes a great shooter, be it darts, rifles or Halo, is the persistence and will to make yourself good. I see it as the Geena Davis Theorem: basic competence + plenty of time and the will to train exceedingly hard = elite skills

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:53 PM on January 04

Yeah, remember all those studies that said Doom made kids better school shooters. Let's not let that research go to waste.

posted by yerfatma at 04:22 PM on January 04

Weedy, you're beautiful man! It's been a tough day, and that made me laugh out loud.

posted by tommytrump at 04:58 PM on January 04

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