April 7, 2016
Two nights ago UCONN women’s basketball team won their fourth consecutive National Championship! Their 11th in program history, making head coach Geno Auriemma the coach with the most National Championships in NCAA basketball history. In winning his 11th National Championship, coach Auriemma passed the notable John Wooden who won 10 National Championships with his UCLA Bruins in a 12-year period. However, coach Wooden won a record seven in a row. It is yet to be known if coach Auriemma will be able to top that record. With the departure of Breanna Stewart, who was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player for the fourth year in a row, becoming the 1st player in Division I history, men’s or women’s to accomplish this feat, it will be difficult for the women of UCONN to capture three more titles in the next three years but with UCONN you should never count those girls out. They never run out of players, they just reload.
The sad part in this all is that if you’re not a women’s basketball fan you would have no idea that 1. UCONN were playing for their 11th National Championship in program history. 2. UCONN were also playing for their fourth consecutive National Championship. 3. Syracuse and Washington were both participating in their first final four in their programs history. And 4. If you’re local to the DMV, which I am, Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman, a native of Suitland, Md coached at Newport Preparatory School in Maryland where he was voted the Montgomery County Gazette’s Girls Varsity Private School Coach of the Year. In addition to many other storylines, you would not have known any of these things if you didn’t go out of your way to find them out. And I blame the media!
The night before the Women’s National Championship game I was sitting at home watching the local news as I do every evening. Of course the sports segment came on and for the entire however many minutes it lasted the only thing they talked about were the men! They talked about opening day in baseball and the Men’s National Championship game. Let me rewind to the day of the games between Syracuse and Washington and UCONN and Oregon State. There was NO mention that these games even took place. Disappointed in the lack of coverage, now I’m talking about local news, which I think is very important in bringing in fans who don’t necessarily watch sports channels like ESPN, Fox Sports, or some other sports based channel, there was nothing. So they failed to mention that Syracuse and UCONN had advanced the night before but I just knew there would be some mention of the upcoming National Title game, I mean come on, its the National Championship game! Men or women, its the biggest game, on the biggest stage in college basketball. You’re not going to believe this but the local news did not mention that one, Syracuse and UCONN had advanced in the first games of the Final Four, and two that they would be playing for the title the next night! I sat there in shock, I just knew I must have missed it because its is incomprehensible that they would not even mention the upcoming National Championship game! Being that I didn’t move from the sofa while watching the entire news cast I couldn’t have missed it. They just didn’t bother to let their viewers know that there were actually a Women’s Final Four going on…
How? How do you not mention the biggest game in college basketball. As a producer of a show, which are the ones that write and/or decide what anchors will cover, how can you not see it fit or find the time to mention anything about women’s basketball. At this point it’s just blatant disrespect. You didn’t think the title game was worth mentioning? You don’t think that the many women who are at home from work watching the news would like to see what other women are doing in sport? I’m not asking for an entire segment, which I think is deserved, I’m simply looking for you to acknowledge that a game had been played and another one was on the way. It take three seconds to say “And tomorrow night UCONN women’s basketball will take on the Orange from Syracuse in the National Title Game!” Is that too much to ask for? Seriously, so yes I blame the media for ignoring women’s sports. I mean if I heard one more time that the guys from Villanova and UNC were brothers! If I heard one more time that Villanova were in pursuit of their first NCAA basketball championship in 31 years. The media sure does know how to wear out a story in the men’s game but don’t even bother to mention anything about women! Who are these producers? Who are these anchors? What is their issue with women’s sports? How would they even know if casual fans were interested if they don’t even cover the stories?
Those responsible for the content of sports shows need to demand that women’s sports are covered and this includes local newscasts. No questions asked. Women are interested in what other women are doing in sports. Men are too. There is excitement in the successes of women in all sports and it should be celebrated not ignored. Women who play sports are not trying to mimic men, they are simply doing what they love and working hard to accomplish goals just like anyone else. We need to take a stand and demand that the media takes responsibility for their lack of coverage. It’s disrespectful, it’s rude and quite frankly it’s shameful! This is not only for the men involved in production. There are plenty of women in positions that can advocate for more exposure for women’s sports and they should be at the forefront. What if your daughter or sister, niece, or cousin wants to play sports? Don’t you want her to see people who look like her on television being successful? Don’t you want her to have positive role models to look up to? Give women the coverage they deserve and let society decide if they’re interested or not. Stop leaving it up to the old news producers in the back who still don’t know the WNBA is entering its 20th season!
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