Posted: 12/19/14 20:13
by Dave Mindeman
When you try to talk about women's equality issues, it is hard to correlate that with college athletics.
Take the case of Minnesota Duluth Women's Hockey.
Shannon Miller by any measure has been one of the most successful women's hockey coaches since women's hockey gained major college status.
She started the UMD program from scratch and has achieved 5 national championships in 15 years of coaching. Her current team is ranked 6th in the country and has won 12 of its last 13 games.
But apparently that is grounds for dismissal.
The UMD athletic director says ....
"UMD Athletics is not in a position to sustain the current salary levels of our women's hockey coaching staff. However, we remain committed to supporting the Bulldog women's hockey program."
Shannon Miller made $215,000 (her men's counterpart with less tenure and less success makes $235,000; and she offered to take a pay cut). She had two full time assistants (both also fired) and a part-time director of operations (who is also the softball coach- but will no longer be involved in the hockey program).
It is hard to imagine that UMD alumni can seriously believe that UMD is still "committed to supporting the Bulldog women's hockey program"....because if they were, you would not be removing the most essential cog in its success.
Yes, women's hockey does not attract nearly the same fan base that the men's program does....but do you seriously believe that turning out a highly successful coaching staff to begin a completely new program is going to improve attendance?
Not to mention the potential loss of star players, who came to UMD because they were recruited by this successful coach.
This is just more evidence that university athletic directors do not view women's athletics in the same way as the men's counterparts. They do not support them in the same way, they do not promote them in the same way, and they do not hire in the same way.
Yes, the women's programs do not bring in the same kind of revenues - but if your advertising and promotional budgets all go to men's athletics, what do you expect?
Currently women's athletics have to be successful to promote themselves. And apparently, in UMD's case, even that is not enough.
Women have come a long way? Well, in the final analysis, maybe not so much.