Happy Women’s History Month

Happy Women’s History Month!
By Ronda Watson Barber

 The recent state Girl’s Division I Basketball State championship was EPIC!  My hometown Newark Lady Wildcats proudly represented.  The on the court battle against Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame was legendary.  These lady hoopsters got game.  There were cross-overs, blocked shots, steals, and three-pointers were raining during the double-overtime 57-55 game won by the MND Cougars.

While the ladies were displaying their skills, leadership, and talents on the court, I didn’t observe women in leadership on the sidelines. Both teams were coached by men, men officiated the game and men oversee the high school athletic programs.  

I penned a letter to the Ohio High School Athletic Association. I have questions: 

1. Why were men officiating the girls’ final?

2. Have any women been officiating any boys’ top tournament games?  If so, how many?

3. Are there any women that coach boys’ high school basketball teams in Ohio?

4. How many men lead girl’s basketball programs?

5. How many women lead girls’ basketball programs?

6. How many athletic programs are led by women?

7. What is the OHSAA doing to foster an environment for women to coach and officiate girls sports? 

Title IX of the education amendments was enacted into law in 1972.  Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving any type of federal financial funding.

What are local school boards and universities doing to create a pipeline for women to become leaders on the sidelines?  Almost fifty years since the signing of this federal law, why aren’t there more women coaching women and girls? Why aren’t there more women athletic directors? What message does this send? Why are womens’ athletic programs treated differently than mens’ programs?

There are reports of female athletes and coaches protesting the disparities in accommodations, food, covid testing, and the swag bag given between the male and female participants of the NCAA’s annual March basketball tournament.  

This week South Carolina Dawn Staley used her voice and platform to call out the NCAA for its inequity at the women’s tournament compared to the men’s.  She wrote on Instagram, “what we know now is that the NCAA’s season-long messaging about ‘togetherness’ and ‘equality’ was about convenience and a soundbite for the moment created after the murder of George Floyd.”

Every team here in San Antonio has earned and deserves at a minimum the same level of respect as the men.  All the teams here dealt with the same issues as the men’s teams this season, yet their “reward” is different.

Staley and Georgia coach Joni Taylor meet in the SEC Conference tournament championship earlier this month.  It was the first time that two Black head coaches battled for a Power 5 title. “People say, ‘You’re making it a race thing.’ It’s not a race thing; it’s an opportunity thing,”  Staley told USA TODAY Sports. Of the 64 head coaches at the 2021 Women’s Championships, only eight are Black women. The NCAA estimates 45% of Division I players are Black. 

Legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer, the only women’s coach to take three different schools to the Final Four

Stringer counsels young Black assistants to be wary of being labeled just as “recruiters.” “Our Black youngsters need to see you at the game,” she’d chide coaches. “We’re not just recruiters.” “I resent that, when they don’t give us credit for being bright and smart enough to be able to direct a program,” Stringer said.

Just my thoughts…rwb

To the litigious: The First Amendment protects several basic freedoms in the United States including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government. It was part of the Bill of Rights that was added to the Constitution on December 15, 1791.  The U.S. Constitution applies to Black Americans as well.  The views expressed in OhioMBE and the media outlets of The 912 Group are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views/opinions of The 912 Group, the editor, publisher, our staff, families, or our advertisers.

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