Women’s sports continue to face problems at TU

Funding and media attention for female athletes are lacking equality.
Light needs to be shed on the problems that women’s sports continue to face at The University of Tulsa even with the existence of Title IX. Title IX was a crucial step toward gender equality in athletics and education that brought significant progress, but still not enough to acknowledge the challenges many women face in their sport.
As a rowing athlete, I have found that the most persistent problem in female sports is the funding received in comparison to our male peers. It is known that the sports that are more popular on campus are more likely to receive better funding, especially if the men’s teams are booming with more media attention. Therefore, the argument can be made that female athletes are less acknowledged because they only exist to ensure athletic departments comply with Title IX rules.
Without the involvement of Title IX, many women’s sports on campus would likely not be offered. I am sure many students on campus are unfamiliar with what sports TU provides for women due to the lack of media attention that most of these sports are afforded.
The majority of students would know that soccer, basketball, volleyball and softball are offered at TU. This excludes women’s golf, tennis and rowing. As students, we do not hear much about these sports around campus, which demonstrates the lack of media attention that they are given. If TU wants to promote equality on campus, they should spotlight every female sport rather than excluding the unpopular female teams on campus by not promoting them on social media. Even as unpopular teams, we still represent TU both on-campus and off-campus. We are not ashamed to represent TU and TU should not be ashamed to represent us.
When reading more into Title IX, it is clear that its requirements do not solve the problems of equal funding for women’s sports or media attention. This leads us to argue that while Title IX is able to provide equal opportunities on the basis of sports scholarships, anything following is limited as to what is provided for female athletes.
How are athletic departments providing equal opportunities? Female athletes are not just a number on the roster. We are people and committed athletes who work hard at our sport and deserve the same opportunities as male players or any other sport gets on campus. The University of Tulsa can assist by increasing attention on campus for all women’s sports teams. Each sport should be provided with equal media attention, they should not be kept in the shadows because they are less known and less popular due to the lack of media attention. If we are provided with more attention on campus as a women’s sporting community and we are not restricted in our budget based on the funding that we are provided with, it gives us a better chance to improve our performance in our sport due to better maintenance of facilities and up-to-date equipment.
While we may use the same facilities when it comes to the athletic training room or weights room, there are significant differences in independent sporting facilities on campus. Training in a hot dance room in Mabee Gym that lacks air conditioning is just one example of the difference in sporting facilities. Every day, both rowing and volleyball athletes have to endure these sauna-like conditions while already placing our bodies under exercise-induced stress. We are at greater risk of overheating and more prone to injuries. The athletic department is supposed to be under a duty of care for athletes. If that is true, why are they not able to provide us with air conditioning in these training rooms? Or are women’s training conditions and facilities not as important as the men’s on campus?

I know that TU is able to solve these problems and provide us with better attention around campus as they are already doing this for many men’s sports. Increase our funding and media attention so that we can provide the university with a women’s sporting community to be proud of. I see this as a win-win situation for both parties. The university is being represented at big sporting events with more wins coming from the women’s sports teams, and in return, female athletes are provided with better chances or opportunities that are not just limited to the amount of scholarships that are handed out.

Post Author: Ifiyenia Marinou