ULV athletics works toward equality

by Rosie Sinapi
Sports Editor

Athletics programs at the University of La Verne may be in the NCAA’s Division III, but it is working towards gender equality in sports like many larger Division I and II programs.

ULV describes gender equality as equal distribution of facilities, monies and opportunities for men and women per sport.

But La Verne does have one major problem holding it back from achieving equality. In the Oct. 10 edition of the NCAA News, La Verne appeared on a list of schools without women athletic directors, or SWAs. Women athletic directors, or Senior Women’s Administrators as the NCAA has named them, take on the duty of women’s sports and issues director at a college campus. Though La Verne does not have one, it has an athletic director for both men’s and women’s sports, Jim Paschal, professor of education.

Gender equality has several definitions. At last year’s NCAA convention, it was the theme. According to the NCAA, it means equal spending and opportunities in sports. Like many catchall terms, though, it means something different to everyone.

SCIAC describes it as equality in all aspects of athletics from monies spent per athlete, full-time versus part–time coaches for female teams, to separate directors for male and female athletics.

Currently ULV has 16 athletic teams, nine men’s and seven women’s. Four of the sports are coached by females. According to Paschal, although there are several discrepancies in coaching and opportunities for women to compete in ULV sports, La Verne is a making headway toward achieving equality in all sports.

“I don’t think there has been an unfairness in gender equality here. I don’t think we meet all the gender equality requirements, but we’re working toward it,” he said.

La Verne had a women’s athletic director up until the departure of Nancy Blickenstaff. Blickenstaff first began the move toward gender equity in sports during her 20-plus year tenure, which lasted to the late 1980’s.

It was then that Paschal stepped into her position, since he was the women’s volleyball coach. Later, the Athletic Department combined the position of women’s and men’s athletic director into an overall athletic director.

“[Blickenstaff] really fought hard for equity in sports,” said Lou Ann Shier, athletics business manager for 14 years. “[Paschal] is really doing more to bring gender equity up.”

Paschal says the department does not plan on separating the job in the near future, but as head coaches Julie Kline and Wendy Zwissler expressed, having Paschal as an athletics director is fair and equal.

“I think Jim [Paschal] is doing everything in his power to equalize this department,” said Kline.

Both Kline and Zwissler were hired three years ago in an effort by ULV to equalize its full-time coaching staff.

“I’m very happy here,” said Zwissler. “I have total support from my colleagues. I think that’s a real unusual situation in [collegiate] athletics.”

According to Rick Simon, treasurer and secretary for SCIAC and ULV assistant math professor, La Verne and the other conference teams are moving with the times, but it will take time.

“Compared to 25 years ago, the total budget for women’s (sports) was $1,500 and football alone was $7,500,” said Simon “A few conference schools do spend quite more on football (now than on other sports. Here (at La Verne) it is a reasonable amount more.”

SCIAC is currently in the process of creating a questionnaire to be sent to all conference schools about inequities in all athletic programs. A similar questionnaire was sent to schools four years ago. SCIAC will be comparing and assessing the two.

As far as gender equality at ULV, Paschal believes the department is making great strides toward achieving it, but realizes that inequities other than gender also need to be dealt with for a sound future.

“Equity in sports includes trying to make some effort to make equity for the requirements of jobs, access to facilities, personal, budget and comparable playing time,” said Paschal.

Zwissler agrees.

“I think its a big sport, little sport thing,” she said.

If the demand for one sport is greater than for another, and even if the Athletic Department tries to safeguard inequalities, both in gender and in general, things may slip by. According to Shier two popular women’s teams have larger budgets than their male counterparts, tennis and volleyball.

Simon believes this is where the real danger may exist.

One inequality Simon demonstrated was the use of printed programs and brochures for some teams and not for others. Although many of these programs are done by coaches or outside sources, he believes that it needs to be watched.

“Unintentional discrimination is still discrimination,” Simon said.

One of many setbacks toward achieving gender equity in sports is lack of funds. According to Shier, the Athletics Department has not received an operations budget increase in two years. The only way to bring sports up to equal lines involves giving more money into those sports which have a smaller budget currently.

According to President Stephen Morgan, it is easier for athletics to receive outside monies than other departments. That may be a reason why the operations budget has not been increased, but it is still difficult for the department to reach equality.

“I believe increases that would be given to athletics would be given to the women’s athletics,” said Dr. Morgan.

But if that does not happen, Paschal said he is prepared to take away from the larger budgeted sports.

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