40 Years After Title IX, the Playing Field Still Isn't Level

The Women's Professional Soccer league "permanently suspended" operations, showing just how much further women's sports have to go.


This should be a happy month for female athletes and their supporters. A slew of events will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation that banned gender discrimination in education (including sports). Some might have been too busy planning festivities to notice a quiet business decision that makes clear just how much further women's sports have to go.

On May 18, the Women's Professional Soccer league "permanently suspended" operations, becoming the second pro soccer league for women to go belly-up in the past 10 years. The decision came less than a year after the American women's team drew huge ratings—and a silver medal—in the World Cup, and just two months before the same team is scheduled to kick off in the Olympics, most likely to similar excitement. But as much as fans love watching women play soccer in those marquee events, they never turned out in large enough numbers to make a regular league viable (attendance at WPS games dropped after World Cup mania).

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Sold Out: Are Pro Sports Owners Obligated to Keep the Team in Town?

Oakland residents supported a losing team to support their city. The owners didn't seem to care.


An artist's rendering of the Warriors' proposed new arena on a San Francisco pier

Last night I watched my hometown baseball team, the Oakland Athletics, get shut out by their most hated rival in front of a crowd of barely 11,000 people while simultaneously reading news reports about Oakland's basketball team, the Golden State Warriors, moving across the Bay to San Francisco. I'm not sure I've ever felt so personally betrayed by sports.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Why Does Major League Baseball Keep Killing Fans' Memes?

Liberally doling out cease-and-desist letters is most certainly not a good business or public relations decision.


Everett Steele is an Atlanta Braves fan. He goes to games, he wears Braves apparel, he tweets about the team to his 16,000-plus Twitter followers. He's a big enough fan that when he started noticing people misspelling the team's name as "Barves" online, he spent time and money making it a meme.

Steele started making Barves jokes on Twitter, and others quickly joined in. So he and his wife, who jointly run a social media marketing firm, began printing t-shirts featuring the joke team name and selling them on the internet. Being a fan and a community-minded guy, he decided to donate all proceeds to the Atlanta Braves Foundation, which supports nonprofits around the Atlanta metro area.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

How Title IX Eliminated Coaching Jobs for Women—And How to Solve the Problem

Once men started wanting jobs coaching women, men started getting a disproportionate number of those jobs.

University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summit, the winningest college basketball coach in history

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Players Flout the NBA's Hoodie Ban to Stand Up for Travyon Martin

The Miami Heat understand all too well that Trayvon had no obligation to wear khakis to indicate he wasn't a threat.


Over the past two weeks, the hoodie has gone from a wardrobe staple to a statement of solidarity. Everyone from elementary school students to the former governor of Michigan have posted photos of themselves wearing hooded sweatshirts to mourn the needless death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and support the arrest of his killer, neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. In a 911 call, Zimmerman described Trayvon's hoodie and his black skin as evidence that the unarmed teenager was a threat to his gated community in Sanford, Florida.

One of the most powerful hoodie images was a picture of the Miami Heat players with their hoods obscuring their faces. It was notable because professional athletes don't often take a stance on anything even remotely controversial. Indeed, the photo was tweeted by Heat superstar LeBron James, who rarely speaks out on societal or political issues.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Even Little Cities Deserve Kings: Sacramento's Basketball Victory Is a Win For Small Sports Markets

Smaller cities are forever being pushed out of the big league sports conversation. Sacramento is keeping them in the game.

Kings executives, including owners Joe and Gavin Maloof

Keep Reading Show less
Articles