News + Updates
2014 Fall Newsletter
A new semester has begun, a new fall season is just beginning and change is in the air. Our Distinguished Lecture Series highlights the dramatic changes occurring throughout collegiate sports. While critics of big-time intercollegiate athletics applaud such recent developments as a "pay for play" model that reflects the realities of an increasingly profit driven model, others lament that such change—focused primarily on football and men’s basketball—will end the traditional and time-honored student-athlete educational model and mission. As a leading research center dedicated to girls' and women's full participation in sports, we have been asked about the impact of these changes on women's sports in general and Title IX protections in particular. Join us on Tuesday, October 21st when a panel of leading experts will share their insights and suggestions for how rapidly moving legal and governance issues may impact the brave new world of college sports.
In the midst of change some things remain very much the same. The Tucker Center continues to be at the forefront of research and educational outreach initiatives both nationally and locally. Our partnership with tptMN—where we produced a groundbreaking documentary, "Media Coverage and Female Athletes"—has been awarded a Regional Emmy. A second collaboration, this time with espnW and spearheaded by Associate Director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi, resulted in the creation of the Nine for IX Knowledge Center. This unique center serves as a repository for timely and insightful material related to the award-winning Nine for IX film series developed by espnW in 2013 to honor the 40th anniversary of Title IX.
Speaking of being at the forefront, on the next page you will learn about two major studies we conducted regarding the occupational employment status of females in head coaching positions in intercollegiate athletics. Did you know that in the wake of Title IX, there has been a dramatic decline in the number of female head coaches nationwide from 90% prior to its passage to just under 40% currently? In order to bring attention to this rather alarming trend, the Tucker Center developed a "report card" system and assigned a failing or passing grade to each of the 76 Division I sports programs which make up the Big Five athletic conferences such as the Big 10 and the SEC.
We look to and honor our past in the Learning our Legacy column which features the experiences, accomplishments, and contributions of five amazing women who are African American sport pioneers. Reading about their respective histories I am once again reminded that change is inevitably and importantly connected to our past.
Finally, to keep current on all of the work we do at the Tucker Center on behalf of girls and women, their families, and communities, visit our web pages and follow us via social media. Happy fall!
—Mary Jo Kane, Director
This summer we collaborated with espnW to develop relevant and in-depth discussion guides for the Emmy-nominated Nine for IX film series. This unprecedented series features nine documentaries about pioneering female athletes and women's sports directed by Oscar-nominated, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning women filmmakers. It premiered in 2013 as part of ESPN's celebration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX. The films include stories about Venus Williams' fight for equal pay at Wimbledon, the largely unknown history of figure skater Katarina Witt and her link with East Germany's secret police, legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, the 1999 Women's World Cup team, and "selling sex" in marketing campaigns featuring elite female athletes. All films provide engaging, informative, relevant, and timely content for a variety of classroom and athletic team purposes. For example, The '99ers explores how women's soccer in particular, and women's sport in general, has gone through dramatic social change since the 1999 World Cup, and also provides an insider perspective on how a championship team culture is created.
In order to highlight the rich film content, the Nine for IX Knowledge Center—an innovative resource center for college administrators, coaches, educators and student-athletes-was created on espnW.com.
Laura Gentile, Vice President of espnW (a brand extension of ESPN serving women who love sports available across television, films, events, and digital and social platforms) stated about the Nine for IX series, "espnW continues to innovate by working closely with industry thought-leaders like the Tucker Center to create the Nine for IX Knowledge Center. Since we launched our original Nine for IX Films last summer, we've been inspired by the positive feedback we've received and the desire of our fans to continue the conversation."
This Center offers film trailers, summaries, discussion guides and a simple sign-up to receive a free Nine for IX DVD set. A critical component of the Knowledge Center is the development of discussion guides designed to generate thoughtful dialogues about key themes and issues present in each film. Such issues include gender equality, social class, racism and sexism, along with themes related to sport psychology, sports media coverage and marketing, and sports as a vehicle for developing role models. In addition to the General Discussion Guide, a special Coaches/Teams Discussion Guide was also created for The '99ers film.
These unique discussion guides were developed by TC Associate Director Nicole M. LaVoi, who also serves as a member of the espnW Advisory Panel. Dr. LaVoi says of this exciting collaboration, "The Nine for IX Knowledge Center is a tool that goes beyond the entertainment value of the films and leverages the rich educational content of the embedded lessons and messages within the films. The discussion guides provide educators and students with great tools to explore and debate the hard-hitting topics that have affected and continue to affect girls and women in sports. Every time I re-watched each film, I discovered new aspects that could be explored. While I know most people who watched the Nine for IX films enjoyed the quality content, the educational aspect might have been missed. I encourage everyone to watch these amazing films over and over with their students, children, and athletes because the educational applications are limitless."
One myth the Tucker Center works tirelessly to dispel is that "no one is interested in women's sport." We know this is not true and registering for and using the Knowledge Center content is another important and meaningful way to communicate that interest not only exists but continues to grow. Look no further than the success of the Nine for IX series: According to espnW, nearly 300 colleges, universities and organizations have registered to receive the free DVDs—a tremendous response that signals the powerful value of the Knowledge Center and the lessons in the films. As Gentile points out, "The strong demand for our Nine for IX Knowledge Center further demonstrates the willingness of our audience to engage in meaningful dialogue spurred by the films. Their enthusiasm for what we've created is beyond our expectations."
The launch of the espnW Knowledge Center was in concert with the new espnW and ESPN Films Nine for IX Shorts. This film series is an extension of the feature-length Nine for IX films and can be viewed free of charge on espnW.com. All of the shorts capture fascinating stories of sportswomen told through the lens of female filmmakers and include MMA pioneer Ronda Rousey, WNBA star Brittney Griner, golf champion Jan Stephenson, and the first all-women America's Cup sailing team.
Visit the Nine for IX Knowledge Center to begin enjoying and utilizing all the films and the educational content featuring women in sport.
The 5th Annual Tucker Center Film Festival will be held February 2 to celebrate National Girls & Women in Sport Day. We are currently accepting submissions here.
Given the overwhelmingly positive feedback on our first-ever Women Coaches Symposium (WCS), we are making it an annual event. For updated information on the April 17, 2015 WCS, speakers and program, go to our WCS pages here or go to our Facebook page at facebook.com/tuckercenter.
One of the Tucker Center's primary lines of research involves women in sport leadership positions in general and coaching positions in particular. To date, we have released four groundbreaking research reports (outlined below) that document the status of women head coaches at various levels of sport. We were inspired to engage in this particular research due to an alarming statistical trend regarding the occupational employment status of women: Forty plus years after the passage of Title IX, the percentage of females coaching women's sports at the collegiate level nationwide has declined from 90+% pre-Title IX to less than 40% currently.
To address this dramatic decline, the Tucker Center developed a report card system and assigned a grade to each NCAA institution in our college sample, in order to explore how each academic institution fared when it came to the number of females who served as head coaches in their respective athletic departments. This approach allowed us to highlight the importance of the issue, generate public awareness, provide a catalyst for a national dialogue, and offer a publicly available accountability mechanism as we move forward.
In December 2013, we released the Women in College Coaching Research Series and Report Card in collaboration with the Alliance of Women Coaches (AWC), an organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in the coaching profession. We examined data from 2012-2014 on the number of female coaches in women's sports from all 76 "big time" NCAA Division I athletic programs in the six largest sports conferences (ACC, BIG 10, Big 12, Big East, PAC 12, SEC). Over a one-year period, the percentage of women head coaches declined from 40.2% in 2012-13 to 39.6% in 2013-14. In addition, only one school from the entire sample—the University of Cincinnati at 80%—was awarded an A for its percentage of women head coaches. Nine (11.8%) of the 76 institutions examined received a failing grade.
This summer, we completed two additional reports that document the percentage of women coaches at the NCAA Division-III level in the 13 schools belonging to the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), and also within the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association (MSHSCA). Compared to the Division-I data highlighted above, the percentage of female head coaches in the MIAC was slightly lower (38.1%), while MSHSCA was slightly higher (42.1%). The important (and disappointing) finding is that across all three datasets, women head coaches at every level of competition remain in the minority.
To read and download the research reports, as well as the report card infographic—and to see which of the 76 D-I and 13 D-III institutions received passing or failing grades—visit our Women Coaches Report page. You also have the opportunity to match your passion with our mission by donating to the Women in Sport Leadership Research Fund, a fund dedicated to equity and education throughout the sports world. This fund will help us release a new Division I Report Card this coming December.
It's a good day when you get to meet and interact with just one amazing pioneer in women's sport. But when you get to hear a whole panel...well that's a great day! Last August, Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi was invited to attend the newly formed Sports & Education Alliance's monthly breakfast to listen to Twin Cities-area women's sport pioneers talk about their experiences.
Panelists [l to r]: Kathie Eiland-Madison (Director, Talent Acquisition, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota), Chase Coley (Iowa 1st year student-athlete), Lea B. Olsen (TV commentator, FoxSport Net), Linda Roberts (Director of Community Outreach, Gopher Athletics), Crystal Flint (NCAA Basketball official), Faith Johnson Patterson (Head Girls Basketball Coach, DeLaSalle High School), and Lisa Lissimore (Associate Athletic Director, MSHSL).
This amazing group of African American women span decades but share a very common bond: The love of basketball, a game they all played at the collegiate level and which has inextricably drawn them together and shaped their lives. They are a testament to the tremendous potential of sports to be transformative, empowering, and instrumental in shaping developmental outcomes and positive life trajectories. According to Faith Johnson Patterson, DeLaSalle High School girls' basketball coach, the group claims many "firsts" for African American women in Minnesota. These include such accomplishments as: first to play for the U of M's women's basketball team (Kathie Eiland-Madison); first to have her basketball jersey retired by the Gophers (Linda Roberts); first Associate Athletic Director for the MSHSL (Lisa Lissimore); first female coach to win a Minnesota State High School Championship (Faith Johnson Patterson); one of only two women to officiate high school and college basketball in Minnesota (Crystal Flint); and first sports television commentator to attend a Minneapolis public high school (Lea B. Olsen). Olsen, a FoxSports TV commentator, stated that, "What is unique is that we've all been so profoundly impacted by sports. We have all found ways to give back and share the game with others, especially for girls of color who may not have the opportunity. We didn't know each other in the beginning, but we kept running into each other at the same places. Now we understand that we are stronger working together to make sports accessible and to solve problems."
In their professional and personal lives, these women have given back many times over and are still involved in sports in some significant way. Lissimore, Roberts, Eiland-Madison and Flint have offered accessible and affordable sports camps for inner city youth, and Johnson Patterson recently founded a new AAU club that helps subsidize the exorbitant cost of travel for girls of color interested in playing basketball. While these pioneers didn't have many—if any—visible female role models growing up, it's clear that they can (and do) fill a void for the current generation of young athletically-minded girls. As Roberts says, "Through community outreach and 25 years of doing basketball clinics, giving back to the community is just who I am." This humble sentiment rings true for the entire group. Seeing young people, particularly girls of color, develop through sports is another and equally important common bond they share.
As pioneers who faced many barriers to sport participation, all agreed that female athletes today face less discrimination and have many more opportunities and resources than pre-Title IX athletes, yet room for improvement remains. To illustrate this change, Eiland-Madison, one of three African American female athletes to first play for the Gophers, recounts that they were called "The Supremes" in the local newspaper, and when her team played in the first state high school basketball tournament there was an "All-Tournament Cutie Team." While gender and racial bias today may not be as blatant as what Eiland-Madison describes, she says battles remain to be fought.
In explaining the group's impact Lissimore pointed out that, "In addition to their inspiring stories, which make us proud and make us thankful, this group of women reflect the best that female athletes can be-a sports broadcaster, a coach, a referee, a college athletic administrator, and a sports volunteer and advocate. They are `visions of possibilities' for girls and boys everywhere."
The combined expertise and wisdom of this pioneering group of Twin Cities African American women truly resides in their ability to inspire a new generation of female athletes who will carry on their legacy.
This past summer the Tucker Center welcomed two passionate, driven, and hardworking interns—Elizabeth Labedz and Lauren Slagel—who were funded through the Tucker Center Summer Internship Fund for Gender Equity in Sport. This fund is designed to mentor, educate, and provide a quality research experience to aspiring students working with TC faculty and our Affiliated Scholars. Slagel graduated last May from St. Olaf College as a biology and exercise science double major. She was also a student-athlete who competed on the school's triathlon team where she served as a co-captain. This fall, Slagel continues her studies in the Master of Public Health program at the University of Iowa. Labedz earned her bachelor's degree in Gender & Women's Studies at the University of Illinois, and served as a Program Coordinator for Playworks, a national non-profit committed to the belief that organized play enhances team building, increases learning capacity, and teaches conflict resolution skills. Labedz will be working at Jefferson Elementary in Minneapolis this year as the support person for homeless or highly mobile students. In terms of her academic pursuits, Labedz has been accepted into the U of M's School of Kinesiology's M.Ed. program in Applied Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Management.
Elizabeth Labedz and Lauren Slagel
Both interns worked on Tucker Center research projects (quantitative to qualitative) in our efforts to train them in the mechanics and operation of a high-quality interdisciplinary research organization. Labedz and Slagel worked alongside Associate Director Nicole LaVoi as she developed discussion guides for the espnW Nine for IX film series, now housed in the newly launched espnW Knowledge Center.
Labedz made important contributions toward developing a nationwide network of individuals and organizations interested in viewing our Emmy-nominated documentary "Media Coverage and Female Athletes." Slagel worked closely with Professor Kane compiling research for her invited manuscript, "The Continuum Theory: Challenging Traditional Conceptualizations & Practices of Sport." She also collaborated with TC Affiliated Scholar Dr. Chelsey Thul on Thul's research involving designing culturally sensitive apparel for East African adolescent girls so that they may fully participate in sports. Finally, both interns compiled extensive research on topics ranging from women coaches in the workplace to sports-based youth development for underserved girls. We are grateful for their hard-working and creative efforts which allowed us to make significant progress on a variety of research and educational projects. For more information about our internship program, visit our Tucker Center Summer Internship Program page.
Honors & Awards
- The Tucker Center and tptMN's collaboratively produced documentary, "Media Coverage and Female Athletes," has been awarded a Regional Emmy. The award ceremony was held September 13.
- Former TC Research Assistant and Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate, Julia Dutove, was honored last April by the Southdale YMCA of Minneapolis as their Volunteer of the Year. In 2013-14 alone, Dutove donated 1,000+ hours of coaching time to the Southdale Sharks swim team who placed 3rd at the state championships. Dutove is currently the Age Group Performance coach for the Olympian Swim Club in Edmonton, Canada.
- Last June, TC Director Mary Jo Kane was a keynote panelist at the Associated Press Sports Editors Annual Conference in Washington, DC where she presented findings from her sport media research, "Does sex really sell?: Consumer responses to media images of women's sports."
- TC Associate Director Nicole M. LaVoi, along with TC Affiliated Scholar Cindra Kamphoff (MN State-Mankato), each conducted a workshop (Team Culture/Building and Mental Skills, respectively) for the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Student-Athlete Leadership Conference held in August at St. Mary's University in Winona, MN.
- TC Affiliated scholar Jennifer Bhalla (Pacific University) presented her research at the National Wrestling Coaches Association Annual Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, FL last August. The title of her paper was, "Exploring the `new' world of wrestling: Coach & athlete experiences of female wrestling in North America."
- This October LaVoi will travel to the University of Northern Iowa to give an invited keynote about sport media research and screen the TC documentary, "Media Coverage & Female Athletes" with faculty and students. The event is part of the UNI's campus initiative, "Reaching for Higher Ground: Media & Social Media, a Networked Society."
- TC faculty and affiliates Kane, LaVoi, Cheryl Cooky (Purdue) and Elizabeth Daniels (U of Colorado) will be panelists for the session titled, "Sport media scholars as agents of social change" at the annual meeting of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) in Portland, OR this November.
- Kane has an invited chapter titled, "The continuum theory: Challenging traditional conceptualizations and practices in sport" in the upcoming edited Routledge Handbook of Theory and Theory Development in Sport Management.
- LaVoi published an article, "We walk the line: An analysis of the problems and possibilities of work at the sport psychology-sport sociology nexus." The article appeared in a special issue of the Sociology of Sport Journal. Co-authored by Ted Butryn and Tamar Semerjian (San Jose State), Kerrie Kauer (U of Pittsburgh), and Jennifer Waldron (U of Northern Iowa), the article addresses each author's experiences at the interdisciplinary research boundary of sport psychology and sport sociology.
- TC Affiliated Scholar Daheia Barr-Anderson, who has returned to the U of M Kinesiology faculty after two years at the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health, has two collabora-tive manuscripts accepted for publication: "Facilitators, barriers, and components of a culturally-tailored afterschool physical activity program in preadolescent African-American girls and their moth-ers" in Ethnicity and Disease, and "Perception vs. Reality: Is perceived or objective proximity to envi-ronmental, physical activity opportunities more associated with recent use among adolescent girls?" in the Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal. Welcome back, Daheia!
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey Center
University of Minnesota West Bank Campus
About the Lecture
For many years critics have been calling for major reforms in big-time college sports. Their voices—and reform efforts—have recently culminated in unprecedented changes ranging from "pay-to-play," pending legal decisions, efforts at unionization, and NCAA conference realignment of the "Big Five." These rapidly moving developments have created a "brave new world" order. What are the problems with the current model of major college sports that initiated calls for reform? With some cases decided and others still pending, what do these legal challenges mean for institutions, administrators, and student athletes? And what are the implications of these decisions for women's sports and Title IX? Join us on October 21 at Cowles Auditorium in the Hubert H. Humphrey Center and hear three distinguished panelists share their insights and strategies for what the future might hold.
About the Panelists
Sandy Barbour is the new Athletic Director at Pennsylvania State University. She also served as the Athletic Director at the University of California-Berkeley for 10 years during which time she guided Cal Athletics through one of the most successful periods in school history. Named one of the "100 Most Influential Women In Business" in the Bay Area, Barbour was also the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics 2008-09 Regional Athletic Director of the Year and was chosen as the 2006 National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) Division I-A National Administrator of the Year. Barbour has served on the NCAA Diversity Leadership Strategic Planning Committee, the NCAA Women's Basketball Discussion Group and the WBCA Defensive Player of the Year Selection Committee.
Erin Buzuvis, J.D., currently serves as the Director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies at Western New England University School of Law. Buzuvis teaches courses on Title IX, administrative law, employment discrimination, torts, and property. Her research includes gender and discrimination in sport, the interrelation of law and sports culture, intersecting sexual orientation and race discrimination in women's athletics, retaliation against coaches in collegiate women's sports, the role of interest surveys in Title IX compliance, participation policies for transgender and intersex athletes, and Title IX and competitive cheer. Buzuvis is the co-founder of, and a regular contributor to, the Title IX Blog, an interdisciplinary resource for news, legal developments, commentary, and scholarship about Title IX's application to athletics and education (title-ix.blogspot.com).
Beth Goetz is in her second year as the U of M's Deputy Athletics Director and the Department's Senior Woman Administrator (SWA). Goetz arrived at the U via Butler University, where she was an Associate Athletic Director from 2008-13. She also served as the Assistant Athletic Director and SWA at University of Missouri-St. Louis for eight years. Goetz has expertise in many facets of athletic administration including oversight of various sports, student-athlete services units, budget and finances, Title IX reviews, eligibility, compliance, developing and monitoring a gender equity plan, and managing university program evaluation related to academic progress and gender equity provisions. As a former college soccer player and soccer coach, she holds multiple perspectives on college athletics.
The Annual Borghild-Strand Distinguished Lecture series exemplifies the Tucker Center's commitment to community outreach and public education by making links to the Twin Cities metro and outstate areas. It provides a venue for the most influential individuals in women's sports to share their knowledge and expertise. The lecture is also sponsored through the Edith Mueller Park and Recreation Memorial Award.