Since Title IX, a policy requiring all universities to provide equal opportunities for men and women, was passed in 1972 the number of female athletes has grown 560 percent. According to the NCAA, this has led to an estimated 193,500 female college athletes in 2012.
However this hasn’t carried over to the coaching side of the game. According to a study published by The Sports Psychologist Journal, when Title IX was passed in 1972 more than 90 percent of existing female teams were coached by women. In 2006 when the study was published, that number had shrunk to only 42.4 percent nationally.
It has become normal for men to take the lead role in coaching women’s athletics. That is a trend that has carried over to Boise State.
Listed on the Bronco Sports staff directory are 23 coaching positions for teams made up entirely of women. Of those 23 positions only 11 are filled by women. Currently one position, assistant softball coach, remains unfilled.
“I think it is very interesting as popularity has grown in female sports the number of males we are competing with for jobs has increased,” said Heather Sower, assistant coach for the women’s basketball team said in an email. “As pay has increased, partly due to Title IX, the jobs have become more lucrative for males. Ironic!”
Conversely, of the 24 coaching positions for men’s teams not one is filled by a woman.
While the numbers seem to reflect some bias, Sower stressed that she hasn’t felt any discrimination from Boise State because of her sex, however the male dominated mindset is apparent in day to day operations.
“I haven’t ever felt more pressure, if anything people really do want to hire qualified females to be involved in female sports,” Sower said. “However it is very common in ever day interactions for people, females included, to always want to defer to the males on our staff or assume that the males are the ones in charge…they often will gravitate to our sports information director or male manager for answers assuming they are the ones making the decisions.”