»Theresa Rogers – trogers11@my.apsu.edu

When it comes to sports, it’s a man’s way, or it’s the highway. From every aspect, including funding, advertising, and programming schedules, women’s sports have forever been pushed behind the rest, no matter the skill level.

As an avid sports lover and a past athlete, sports have always been a part of my life, both women’s and men’s. I have worked with every sport APSU has to offer through the sports broadcasting program and I will be the first one to tell you our women’s teams can more often than not, beat out our men’s teams. However, that will never translate into proper funding or publication time for the team.

APSU, along with several other colleges prove this point with how fan bases treat the different sports. APSU Lady Govs’ Basketball team won the Ohio Valley Conference Championships in 2010, but when you go to a game, the crowd is minimal and sad compared to the men’s.

This isn’t anything new to sports. Women’s sports have been over looked and second guessed since women began participating. It is common to hear people say women’s sports can’t compete with men’s, and groups like the WNBA are a joke. However, scientifically, women are improving faster than men athletically. Soon women and men will be able to compete side by side.

Take a sport such as the 100 meter dash. Although men have generally faster times, women’s improvement in scores increased from 50 to 80 percent in many cases.

Production quality also takes a beating when women’s sports is produced. For example, NCAA Basketball has uneven production quality. Women’s games lagged behind those of men’s.

Halftime shows for men’s games were more entertaining and captivating, whereas the women’s halftime shows were used to promote the men’s games.

In 2009, a research study was done on the comparison between the two-gendered sports. Regarding air time, men received 91 percent and women’s sports received only 6 percent, leaving the remaining 2 percent for neutral reporting. All ESPN and Fox shows reported 96 percent of the network affiliate shows started with men’s sports news as an opener. Many broadcasters sampled contained no women’s sports news at all.

It is sad to say, but when women athletes are focused on, they are usually easy on the eyes. They will represent an “attractive ideal” men set forth onto female athletes, especially tennis. Maria Sharapova, a women’s tennis player, got heavy coverage during her years playing professional tennis.

But it wasn’t as much for the fact she won a Wimbeldon Tournament, but more so for all the scantily-clad photo shoots she used for endorsements during her reign.

I have been lucky enough to be offered the chance to be Sports Editor for The All State at APSU. I also work with the Communications Department working cameras and switcher boards for sporting events all over campus. APSU is one of the fairest colleges when it comes to both programming and publication rights for women’s sports and for that we are lucky.

Women’s sports have always taken a beating, but we can make a difference in little ways. Professional women’s athletes need to be just that, athletes. Equality begins with respect and posing half-naked on the cover Sports Illustrated won’t make men read about your athletic skills.

Many colleges do a fantastic job representing their women’s athletics alongside men’s. It’s up to us to change what we consider equal and fair and demand the changes that need to be made. TAS