Increased Interest in Women’s Collegiate Sports
By GIANNA GALLAGHER ’21
Tom Brady, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, and Roger Federer: all of these names have one thing in common: that they are all male athletes. Unfortunately, names such as Serena Williams, Mia Hamm, Ronda Rousey, and Simone Biles don’t sound as familiar, even though these names are some of the reasons why women’s athletics are quickly increasing in popularity. Each year, more and more women and girls join sports teams and become a “student-athlete.” With the increasing popularity of girls’ sports, more girls are motivated to continue playing in college.
According to an article written in The She Network, a publication run by the Women’s Sports Foundation, stated that “before Title IX (1972), one in 27 girls played sports. Today that number is two in five,”. As part of the Milton community, we can see the growth of girls in sports by looking at the athletics on our campus. This fall, many girls attended tryouts for sports such as volleyball and soccer. These two sports in particular were so popular that, unfortunately, there was not enough room on the Varsity and Junior Varsity teams to keep everyone who wanted to play. Girl’s Volleyball does not have a 3rds team, and Girl’s Soccer did not have enough room to keep all the Sophomores and Juniors on their one Junior Varsity team. Considering the outcome at both girls’ teams tryouts, our athletic director, Mr. Reddicks, fixed the shortage of teams for girls athletics by creating an intramural volleyball team, as well as a girl’s JV A and B soccer team, both of which had not been necessary in previous years.
Not only are young women gaining interest in playing sports, more and more females are committing to college for their sports. Before the 2018-2019 school year even began, our senior class had several female athletes already committed to colleges. In an interview, Julia Johnson ‘19, who committed early to play Hockey in college, stated, “It might just be the fact that I wasn’t very close with many seniors my freshman year, so I may have just not known, but I don’t remember hearing about any senior girls committing early to play at Middlebury. This year though, I know that there are a bunch of other girls who are committed to different schools, which is really exciting for all of us.” Over the course of four short years, the number of female athletes committing to play in college has grown tremendously.
However, the problem still arises during the recruiting process of finding a school that offers one’s particular sport. As Julia said, “I think that for hockey especially, even though it’s expanding really quickly, the recruiting process can be a bit harder since there are a lot of schools that don’t have women’s hockey. Even though many schools do, there are less spots for women to play college hockey than there are for men, which could make it a little more difficult to get the chance. In general, however, I don’t know if it’s harder for women, although it very well could be because there isn’t always equal opportunity.” Hopefully, as time goes on, women collegiate athletes will become just as popular as male collegiate athletes. As Julia nicely said, “I think something I want people to know about recruiting in general is that academics come first. Pretty much everyone who commits to a school chooses it because it’s the right school for him or her academically, and sports are just a nice addition.” However, sports are now rapidly becoming a big factor on choosing what school is right for him or her, giving a promising athletic future to both men and women.