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The chicken and the egg: the cycle keeping women’s sports out of the limelight

Fifty years ago, the infamous then-President Richard Nixon signed into law what is today known as Title IX, leading to a 545% increase in women’s collegiate sports participation since its inception. 

The only problem? Hardly any of us have noticed.

As an Editorial Board, no more than a third of us have attended a women’s sporting event here at Miami University while enrolled.

Thirteen of us, out of 15, have been to a men’s sporting event.

This major milestone for Title IX begs the question: why don’t women’s sports get the same attention as men’s?

The Miami Student’s Editorial Board believes that the answer has two main culprits: students and the marketing of Miami athletics.

Boiled down to basics, Miami University is a business. Businesses seek profits and profits come from where? What’s profitable. Miami students by and large do not attend women’s sports at the same rate as they do men’s sports.

The university will promote what will gain revenue, and if students do not come to women’s games, Miami won’t try to sell the product. 

The solution for this half of the problem is as follows: go to the games!

Miami sports games are free for Miami students, so why aren’t we going to games more frequently? Why aren’t we supporting our female athletes?

Right now, many women’s matches are attended by family and friends, other athletes and even the occasional group from Kramer Elementary. From what the Editorial Board has seen, very few students without pre-existing ties to the women’s teams show up to support them.

There are also outright negative audiences. One member of our Editorial Board attended a women’s basketball game last semester, in the spring of 2022. They were surprised to witness, while there, multiple men cursing and yelling insults at the women on the court. 

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We the students can change that kind of atmosphere and bring a positive, energetic, love-and-honor environment courtside, fieldside and rinkside. All we have to do is show up and get excited.

Now, let’s break down the next culprit: Miami Athletics and its marketing strategy.

Whereas Miami is a business, it is also a home for its student body. Failing to promote women’s sports will, too, limit attendance. Failing to ticket more sporting events will, too, limit attendance.

This is no place for the blame game. 

Students need to go to women’s games and treat them like the spectacular feats of collegiate athletics that they are, and Miami needs to promote these athletics on an equitable basis to ensure its student body and Oxford community is aware of the events taking place.

But there is also a responsibility that lies upon the capable shoulders of we RedHawk students.

Let’s think of it this way: we, the students, have the opportunity to attend sports games for free for four years. This is not an opportunity we’ll easily receive at any other point in our lives.

Even better, the sports are good. 

A sixth-place-worldwide synchronized skating team, a field hockey team that is coming off of its 5th MAC championship in a row and a record-breaking thrice-champions softball team — when are we ever going to be able to cheer for all of these amazing women in person for the stunning price of zero dollars and zero cents ever again?

Currently, Miami women’s sports is suffering from what the Editorial Board believes to be a vicious cycle of chicken-and-egg. 

People aren’t attending their events as much as the men’s events, though, let’s be real, sports-match participation here at Miami, even in the men’s sector, is not necessarily the biggest of Mid-American Conference schools.’ If people don’t attend sporting events, Miami will not put more money into them.

Women’s sports at Miami receive less than half the revenue than do men’s sports as of fiscal year 2020-2021, which almost definitely affects the lower attendance levels. Higher revenues means greater funding means incentives for attendance. If you know you’ll get a free hat, scarf, t-shirt or blanket from a sporting event, aren’t you more likely to attend that than a sporting event without free things?

It’s up to us, the students, to up the attendance levels and the hype for our women’s sports here at Miami. The more we participate in being a good audience for our student athletes, the more we embody our campus qualities of love and honor for them, the more Miami will, too. 

Also, follow them on social media — there are Instagrams for the synchronized skating, volleyball team, softball team, basketball team, field hockey team, ice hockey team and more. 

Plus, from the mouth of our Sports Editor himself: if you are a sports fan, take a chance on a women’s team. They’re varsity athletes for a reason — they are very talented, and the games are fun to attend. If you go once, there’s a large chance you’ll want to go again.

So show up and show out for our women’s sports teams here at Miami. Let’s show them how much we appreciate them and cheer them on to, hopefully, another year of MAC championship wins.