Market Power

Musings by an academic economist on the power of markets and the power over markets.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Opportunities for Women

Michael Rand has this in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune (thanks to Bumper to Bumper with Dan Barreiro on 1130 KFAN for the pointer):

Should women's college basketball teams continue to use male players in practice?

The NCAA's Committee on Women's Athletics took a long look at the topic at its tri-annual meeting two weeks ago in Indianapolis.

Though the committee arrived at no conclusions, chairwoman Darlene Bailey appointed a subcommittee to further investigate the issue.

The chief concern among committee members is that while allowing male practice players can improve the competition level, it reduces opportunities for female students to play a role in college athletics.

How does this affect the opportunity for women? Sure, it affects the outcome, but outcome and opportunity are two different things. At least D. Bailey appointed a committee. By next year, they'll have appointed a subcommittee, a quorum, and research group, a support group, and, maybe, a focus group (once again, thanks to B2B for the idea for this last phrase). Here's more:
Michigan State coach Joanne P. McCallie said Tuesday the idea that female students are being limited is "a ridiculous assertion that's fundamentally bogus."

She explained: "People have to realize men and women are different, and we need the size and speed of those guys to emulate an opponent. There is no average woman on campus who can do that. What woman am I going to get on campus who can post up [6-1 forward] Liz Shimek? If she was on campus, she'd be one of my 15 scholarships."

Coaches who use male practice players said the main drawback is it takes away practice time from reserves. But most said it is worth it to simulate top opponents.

"I think it challenges you with the size, speed and quickness of the guys," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "It gives you valuable preparation."

Said Gophers coach Pam Borton: "The bottom line is we have to make ourselves better as a team. ... There are more positives than negatives."

Stay tuned. It could get ugly if the NCAA makes a decision opposed by a majority of coaches.

Hear hear, coaches McCallie, Summitt, and Barton!! The fact that this sort of stuff is even being questioned is ugly. The folks who are concerned about this are drawn from the same distribution as the person who became physically ill at Lawrence Summers' assertion that there might be an innate difference between men and women that is causing the "misrepresentation" of women in math and sciences - one that might even be worthwhile to critically examine scientifically.

Lastly, why is it fair to the team to use lower-quality practice opposition?