Should Title IX Apply to the Media?

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Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination by recipients of federal funds has had, among other things, a tremendous effect in equalizing the funding and status of women’s collegiate sports.   The Women’s NBA would not exist uconnwere it not for Title IX creating a pipeline of excellent collegiate female basketball players.   Many people, myself included, feel that women’s college basketball is much more fun to watch than men’s because the women do old fashioned things like pass the ball and play like a team, whereas the men’s game is all about individual ball hogging, dunking and general show-offery.

So I was more than usually annoyed at the New York Times’ Sports section NCAA Vanderbilt Maryland Basketballyesterday when it ran stories about the NCAA Basketball tournament draw – printing only the men’s bracket.   In past years they featured more prominently the men’s bracket, but covered the women’s bracket as well.   This year, they didn’t even bother to print the women’s draw.   Cost saving?   Probably.   Sexism?   Surely.

But this injury was horribly compounded when Rachel Maddow did the same thing last night with her (annoying, sorry) sidekick Kent Jones.   They finished off the hour with their usual fluffy banter, covering the men’s and not the women’s draw – each picking their favorites for the men’s final four.   Rachel Maddow too?   Oy – what has the world come to?   Should we amend Title IX to cover the media?   Seems we must.

So here it is and you can see it bigger here:


– Katherine Franke

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5 Responses to Should Title IX Apply to the Media?

  1. EBuz says:

    The women’s tournament didn’t get seeded until last night, which likely explains why there was more attention to the men’s draw (seeded on Sunday night) in yesterday’s media. The Times had some coverage about the women’s draw today, though I didn’t see yesterday’s coverage of the men’s to know how it compared. We’ll see what Rachel Maddow has to say about it tonight!

    I run a feminist March Madness pool for my faculty. If any FLPs would like to join, send me an email!

    -Erin Buzuvis

  2. Katherine Franke says:

    Well, I may have to have an Emily Litella moment – and say “Never Mind” – if in fact both the Times and Rachel Maddow are off the hook.

    In any event – my money’s on Maryland. Go Terps!

    Katherine Franke

  3. Katherine Franke says:

    One other thing – for those interested in Title IX, you ought to check out Erin Buzuvis’ Title IX Blog:


  4. Ann Bartow says:

    Katherine – I think your macro point is still completely correct. There is a huge imbalance with respect to coverage of women’s and men’s athletics at every media outlet I follow. And, you are also right about Erin’s great blog!

  5. Jennifer Hendricks says:

    The macro point is definitely correct. My six-year-old son is a huge Lady Vols fan, and since we don’t have a TV we have to spend a lot of time in sports bars to watch the games. The men’s games are scheduled at much more convenient times, and even my son gets frustrated by the disparities in publicity.

    In response to the question in the title to the post — Title IX as written can’t do anything about the coverage in the New York Times, but shouldn’t it be able to do something about the televised coverage? The TV people have to contract with the schools about the coverage. If the school can’t discriminate in things like facilities and practice times, why should they be allowed to discriminate in terms of the publicity they contract for?

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