In 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments was passed to ensure in part that women and men participating in athletics get an equal opportunity. Yet 50 years later, women’s athletic teams still struggle to receive the same support as male athletic teams.
Data has shown that women’s athletic teams across the country get less support than men’s athletic teams.
Is the same true for Florida A&M’s athletic department?
FAMU has a total of eight women’s teams, including a bowling team that competed in the Southwestern Athletic Conference round-up and a volleyball team that won the SWAC championship.
Although FAMU has a plethora of teams that are all accomplishing noteworthy things, the women’s teams are not receiving the amount of support they should be receiving on game day.
FAMU is a school that prides itself on community and emphasizes a close knit “FAMULY” feel, but freshman tennis player Sierra Sandy says she experiences something very different as a female athlete.
“We definitely get support over social media, but when we have games and events that same support isn’t there,” Sandy said.
Men’s teams on our campus are heavily supported, from baseball to football and everything in between. FAMU students love to pack the pit alongside the “Incomparable Marching 100” in Al Lawson to get the basketball players hyped and ready to send the opponent home with a loss, so why don’t we see this when the women’s basketball team plays before the men?
According to Omari Rasheed, a first year psychology student at FAMU, the women’s basketball team is not receiving the same packed pit as the men’s team.
“The team gets little support from fellow Rattlers,” Rasheed said. “I believe it is due to the stereotype of being less athletic, our women’s teams are just as talented and deserve the same amount of support.”
On a national level, women’s sports teams are receiving the same low percentage of news coverage as they did four decades ago. The most recent study on this matter shows that coverage of women’s sports on ESPN and other major news sources is at an all time low of 5.4 percent.
Although this lack of support is an issue all over the nation, we have to make change in our community first. As FAMU students, faculty and staff, we have to start showing up for our women’s teams. They deserve the same consistent support that we show our men’s teams.
Recently, Thai Floyd, a FAMU alumna and sports journalist, tweeted on what she hopes to see in the near future for women’s athletics on the HBCU level.
“I wish that the HBCU All-Star Game also had a game for women as well,” Floyd said. “There are so many great players that deserve the platform and exposure,” Floyd said.
It is time to take up the charge to uplift, support, and provide opportunities to women’s athletic teams everywhere.