Women’s College Sports Was Growing. Then the NCAA Took Over

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tags: sports, NCAA, college sports, womens history

Fifty years ago, Carole Oglesby helped establish a governing body for women in college athletics at a time when the National Collegiate Athletics Association only oversaw men’s sports. When she saw images earlier this month of the inferior training facilities provided for the women’s NCAA basketball tournament—a few dumbbells and some yoga mats—she realized that some things still haven’t changed.

“I really shake my head on this one,” Oglesby said. “Who is going to make these powerful bodies, like the NCAA, do the things that they promised they were going to do?”

As the first president of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women in the 1970s, Ogelsby was at the heart of the long and contentious history of seeking equal opportunity, resources  and exposure for women’s college sports. The AIAW was briefly the dominant governing body for women’s collegiate athletics but lost a bruising legal battle with the NCAA that sunk the organization in 1982. 

The AIAW was founded in 1971 and thrived on a shoestring budget until 1978, when federal courts forced universities to comply with Title IX. The NCAA subsequently launched a takeover of women’s sports that drastically curtailed the percentage of women coaches and administrators in college sports. 

Oglesby and others say that what resulted from that bitter fight is a system in which, 40 years later, women remain underrepresented and their basketball championship remains underfunded, under-marketed and undervalued compared to men’s March Madness. 

“Just looking at the results, it’s never been treated on an equal basis,” she said of women’s college sports. “They [the NCAA] talk that line because they have to, that’s what the law requires technically.”

The NCAA did not respond to a request comment.

Read entire article at Wall Street Journal

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