Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The pain Title IX hath wrought

I just finished reading Michael Sokolove's lengthy cover story in The New York Times Magazine, "Hurt Girls." The storyline is not new -- the topic of adolescent girls and ACL injuries has been covered in other publications.
I think the topic is an important one -- just as the story about injury rates in boys' high school football is also an important story. My problem is the way this story is framed. The subhead for the story (in the print edition) sets the tone: "Everyone wants girls to have as many opportunities in sports as boys. But can we live with the greater rate of injuries they suffer?"
I won't bother providing a number of obvious responses to the question.
A major problem with the story is its reliance on anecdotal evidence to present girls as generally not suited for the rigors of sports. Sokolove does, well into the story, tell readers that "boys suffer more sports injuries," but writes that fact off to football and a higher participation rate, then keeps moving through his thesis.

I'm not the only one perplexed by why Sokolove's story got as much ink as it did. For interesting reading that quickly reveals a number of flaws in the piece, see the hundreds of reader comments left on the NYT Web site.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

School for sports-comm teachers

If you are among the growing number of faculty teaching sports-comm related classes, you may be interested in an event in Chicago this summer: “Teaching Sports Communication Courses: A Roundtable for Educators.” The event will be part of the AEJMC conference in August.
It will take place Aug. 5 from 1 to 5 p.m. and will address everything from teaching skills classes and preparing students for a multimedia environment to developing full sports communication programs.
Experienced sports educators and journalists (including George Solomon and Malcolm Moran) will lead discussions, but the session is designed to solicit input from everyone. All who attend are encouraged to bring syllabi and other teaching materials. Please send questions about the session to

Still misunderstood: Title IX at 35

I've written before about media coverage of Title IX, and here's another study of interest to women's sports advocates: An analysis of editorials in the nation's major newspapers shows that "men as victims" mythology lives on even in arguments that generally support the law. It's the "we know women should have equal rights in theory, but ...." line of reasoning -- which can be used to ultimately justify inequity.