Final Project Preparation

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The Ohio State Women’s basketball team made it to the Sweet 16 this March, though more people seemed to care about the Men’s team’s lack of even an NIT appearance. Though we will not be covering basketball in our final project, this illustrates the problem we will be covering. Photo from Land Grand Holy Land. 

“Basketball or women’s basketball?”

In sports split amongst genders, we often assume that when you mention the sport alone, you are referring to the men’s team. This habit, along with many others, contributes to the sexist culture that still very much exists in college athletics and sports media.

For our final project, we plan to create a comprehensive journalistic package discussing the issues surrounding sexism in the realm of college sports. We will speak with both female and male athletes from a non-revenue sport at Ohio State to gain multiple perspectives on the impact sexism has had throughout their collegiate athletic career.

With Title IX having been passed in 1972, it’s shocking that we are still covering this topic 45 years later. Title IX protects collegiate athletes specifically in the following ways:

  1. Participation: Title IX requires that women and men be provided equitable opportunities to participate in sports. Title IX does not require institutions to offer identical sports but an equal opportunity to play;
  2. Scholarships: Title IX requires that female and male student-athletes receive athletics scholarship dollars proportional to their participation; and
  3. Other benefits: Title IX requires the equal treatment of female and male student-athletes in the provisions of: (a) equipment and supplies; (b) scheduling of games and practice times; (c) travel and daily allowance/per diem; (d) access to tutoring; (e) coaching, (f) locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities; (g) medical and training facilities and services; (h) housing and dining facilities and services; (i) publicity and promotions; (j) support services and (k) recruitment of student-athletes.

Though arguments could be made to nearly all of points, I am particularly interested in Ohio State Athletes’ views of 3(i)- publicity and promotions. Popular culture has come to accept light (at best) coverage of female athletics at both the amateur and professional levels, despite positive social progress for female empowerment in other realms of the world. In fact, as of 2015, many networks actually covered women’s athletics less than they had 25 years prior. I am interested in speaking not only with Ohio State athletes to get their viewpoints on this, but also governing bodies, such as Fan Experience, to learn how they attempt to uphold this requirement.

My team will consist of myself, Jeffrey Jessberger, and Kevin Kwiatkowski.

Breaking the Ballet Norm

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Photo from Under Armour, Source: Huffington Post

Misty Copeland has been a role model for minority dancers since the beginning of her career. As the first African-American woman appointed to be a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, Copeland has been recognized for challenging the norm of the dance community, while overcoming personal challenges related to body image as well.

Later in her career, Copeland broke another barrier in the dance world, by becoming the first dancer to be endorsed by Under Armour. As they re-branded to appeal to a wider variety of athletic activities, including dance, yoga, and Pilates, the fitness apparel company chose Copeland due to her unique and relatable history.

This photo was one of Copeland’s first ads with Under Armour, who have highlighted her most unique features as a dancer from the beginning. Copeland is more muscular and curvy than a traditional ballerina silhouette, so high-cut bottoms and cropped shirts are used to highlight these traits. Additionally, the photo is shot in an industrial setting rather than a typical dance studio, creating a more “tough” feel to the photo.

This photo, along with the rest of the images from Copeland’s Under Armour endorsement, command viewers to see dancers for the athletes that they are. While there is discrepancy in the dance and athletic communities about whether dance is a sport or an art, Copeland’s muscular, confident image sends a message that dancers are certainly athletes.

Bringing the “Nuts” Back to the Nuthouse

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The Buckeye Nuthouse was sold out in the 2013-2014 season, but now struggles with attendance. Photo by Block “O”

Dear Ericka,

450 Ohio State students is enough to create an intimidating lecture hall environment.

It’s nearly double the size of Ohio State’s revered marching band, which has enjoyed nationwide attention for years.

But 450 Ohio State students is not enough to create a supportive environment inside Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center, especially for a consistently low-performing Ohio State men’s basketball team.

According to James Prisco, 2016-2017 Buckeye Nuthouse Director, an average of 450 students made the trek up Lane Avenue for each game this season, filling up less than 20% of the student section’s 2,400-person capacity. While a variety of factors likely contributed to the low attendance (USG’s attempt to recover a failed ticket-incentive program, the team’s struggling record) a much less visible factor is the simple laziness of students.

While Buckeye football fans may never stray far from the ‘Shoe, our basketball team does not hold the same rich, winning history. Therefore, in order to entice students to commit the 3-4 hours an entire game experience usually consists of (between walking to the Arena, the game, and walking home), not only do we need to create a more enticing environment—we need to shorten the time commitment.

Though the distance from the Ohio Union to the Arena is under two miles, it is at least a twenty-minute walk. This may not seem very long in comparison to fifteen minutes students have in between each class, but it can feel even longer in winter’s cold. While a consistent game day bus route would likely only cut travel time to the Arena by about 10 minutes for students, a round-trip reduction of 20 minutes and shelter from walking in the cold could be enough incentive for more students to commit to attending games.

In addition to providing better transportation for students, we should work to combat their laziness inside of the Arena, in terms of getting more students to participate in the Nuthouse’s cheers. The current set-up of the Buckeye Nuthouse, spread across two seating sections, is not conducive to the best possible student section. As we do not currently fill both sections, and have not sold out the student ticket section since the 2013-2014 season, limiting the Nuthouse to only the section behind the team benches could help provide a better atmosphere for students.

Having the student section more condensed would make it easier for the Nuthouse committee to lead cheers throughout the arena, which would provide a better atmosphere for students and general fans alike. Additionally, a smaller student section would create a more competitive ticket-buying experience, which could cause students to hold themselves more accountable for the games they do choose to buy tickets for.

While it may take a trial-and-error process to determine which tactic(s) will increase overall attendance at these games, the first efforts should be concentrated on students. If the enthusiasm of students is brought back the arena, people will be more excited to attend games, with less dependency on team quality.

Sincerely,

Sydney Sundell