Cincinnati Ranks First in Hiring Female Head Coaches|
Dec. 19, 2013
There's a new ranking out today in college sports and Cincinnati is No. 1. The Bearcats received the only A grade in a survey of the nation's big sports schools. Texas, Miami and Penn State are close. They are among just eight schools receiving B's out of 76 in the study.
And Oklahoma State, North Carolina State, Kentucky and Arkansas? You're last. You're all failing. You get F's.
More than 40 years after Title IX opened the floodgates for women and girls to play sports, our universities are doing a terrible job of hiring women to coach women's sports. More and more, they are hiring men to coach women's teams, failing to give female athletes the professional opportunities they deserve after their playing days are over and, perhaps just as important, failing to provide girls and women with female coaching role models so they might someday aspire to those jobs.
"As women's team coaching positions become more visible and powerful, from graduate assistant to head coaches, women less frequently occupy those positions of authority," said Nicole M. LaVoi, associate director of the University of Minnesota's Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport.
"Most college men are coached by men, but less than half of college women in the biggest and most visible programs are coached by a female head coach. Therefore, women are not often visible role models in schools that are most often in the public eye."
The Tucker Center joined with the Alliance of Women Coaches to issue their first-ever "report card" on who is coaching women's teams at the schools in the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12 and SEC. The researchers made their report available in advance exclusively to USA TODAY Sports. The findings can be found online on the Tucker Center web site.
The survey looked at two academic years. In the 2012-13 school year, only 40.2 % of head coaches of women's teams at the 76 schools were women, just 356 women coaches out of a total of 886 women's teams. In the current academic year, that percentage dropped to 39.6 % (352 out of 888 teams).
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Want to know just how bad this is? In 1972, the year Title IX was enacted, more than 90% of the head coaches of intercollegiate women's teams in all sports were women, according to the Women's Sports Foundation.
"The wonderful growth in opportunities for girls and women to participate in sports since Title IX became law has led people to believe, mistakenly, that there have also been increased opportunities for women as coaches," said Judy Sweet, co-founder of the Alliance of Women Coaches. "Most people are incredulous when we share the current percentage of women coaches and the ongoing downward trend."
Not one school of the 76 surveyed has a female head coach for every women's team. Cincinnati ranked best with 80% of its women's teams being led by women. Texas is next with 63.6%, with Miami and Penn State both at 60%.
At the other end of the spectrum, Oklahoma State came in last at just 12.5%, followed by North Carolina State, Kentucky and Arkansas all at 16.7%. (The Tucker Center grade range: A: 70-100%; B: 55-69%; C: 40-54%; D: 25-39%; F: 0-24%.)
Of course, with the rare exception, 100% of the men's teams at the schools in the survey are coached by men.
It's no secret why men make up the majority of women's college coaches now. As women's sports have become more popular, and more lucrative, women's head coaching jobs have become more attractive to men. And because the vast majority of athletic directors doing the hiring are male, they often end up picking one of their own. There are other reasons, of course, but bottom line, these numbers and grades are startling, and should be embarrassing to athletic directors, college presidents, conference commissioners and the NCAA.
It's time they did something about it. It behooves every athletic department to figure out ways to encourage current and future female student-athletes to consider getting into coaching, then make room for them on their staffs. And when schools are hiring, a female Rooney Rule – the NFL mandate that says teams must interview at least one minority candidate before choosing a head coach – should be in place.
For now, though, we have the Tucker Center's letter grades, a report card of which almost no one can be proud.