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Women, Golf, Equipment & Title IX

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Today's blog post, PXG'S UNIVERSITY PROGRAM EXPOSES THE GENDER GAP IN COLLEGIATE GOLF is the kind of subject that "kicks the hornet's nest"!!!

I say we get into it!

 

My personal view is that if an OEM provides benefits to a men's team, it should be compulsory to provide the same benefit to the women's team. I believe this should apply to any perk, whether it's a supplement, transportation, hotel, etc. 

 

At the very least, I believe that it may be in violation of Title IX to deny a benefit such as this to women's teams.

 

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

 

Is free product a benefit of being a member of a DI golf team? Absolutely. Now, I'm not sure exactly how free product is qualified by the athletes receiving it or the companies distributing it but it is absolutely a benefit given to athletes because of their status on the team. According to NCAA rules, you can't give athletes money, they can't endorse products, they can't receive any form of compensation. So what's the deal here? If an athletic program has a shoe contract, every athlete gets shoes, men and women. If they have an apparel contract, every team gets fancy uniforms. Why are golf OEMs allowed to just "sponsor" the people they want? Is it a sponsorship or is it a gift? It can't be a gift or that's a violation of NCAA rules.

 

Moving on, legal or not, they're stupid if they don't hook the women up. We all pay attention to the golf industry, what do we hear over and over again? The market is shrinking, more people fighting for the same pieces of the pie, etc. GROW THE GAME DUMMIES!!! Reach out to women, cultivate women, get women into the game! OEMs should be spending all the money they can to get the other half of the population golfing. Hell, MGS should do some female outreach. In the entire time I've been on the site, I have known only one woman to make anything close to an online presence felt. Step it up boys!

 

 

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I totally agree.  I was somewhat perturbed that people in the blog kept bringing up scholarships and the advantage that women have over men.  I can see that may be an issue, but it's an issue across all collegiate sports.  That is not the point of the article, which is equipment and is there an advantage given to men's golf programs?  

 

OK, OEMs provide equipment to some colleges and not others, but should they be allowed to provide to men and not women?  Can they choose not to provide to women?  Can they provide fitted clubs to men and not women?  I get it.  They are a business and want to put their money where they can get the most visibility and promote brand loyalty.  But are they, in essence, paying for players to attend certain colleges?  Yes.  

 

The real question becomes:  What are the colleges going to do about it?  If the OEMs provide fitted clubs to the men's team, shouldn't the college require them to do the same for their women's team?  If they don't require it, then shouldn't the college provide that for the women's team?  If the college is offering golf to both men and women, the opportunities provided to both men and women to excel in the sport should be equal.  

 

It's not like kids graduate from high school, go to college on a golf scholarship, and say OK where are my clubs?  Most will probably keep some of the clubs they have; would you give up your Mizunos?  Most of them have been fitted for clubs already; however, there are some disadvantaged kids that are wonderful players that can't afford decent or new equipment.  That kid could be the next Lee Trevino or Nancy Lopez, and they deserve the same opportunities to compete.  It is in the best interest of the college to provide the equipment to help their student athletes excel.  They can do that through endorsement deals or purchasing options.

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I think an umbrella program mandate like the one you are suggesting is akin to regulatory overreach.

 

I'm not even going to dive into the problems with your suggestion that private companies offering equipment to college athletes falls under the purview of Title IX (discrimination and federal financial assistance???).

 

But for the sake of examining your demand for equitable equipment offers, let's flip the script and look at the respective Men's and Women's golf programs at Arizona State. Thanks to a long history of endowments, the Karsten (PING) family owns the inside track at ASU; but let's say PXG has decided to get a foot in the door. At ASU the women's program holds the top spot in NCAA rankings; the men's program comes in at #21. In determining which programs to court, PXG leadership probably sets some performance benchmarks (i.e. consistently Top 10 ranked program). Your argument seems to suggest that if PXG wanted to outfit the defending women's NCAA champs, they should also be forced to offer the same equipment deal to the #21 ranked men's program.

 

Can you see where this goes from here? With the logic you are attempting to apply, an equipment manufacturer extending an offer to any single player should then be legally bound by the federal government to offer the same deal to every single player that passes through the NCAA clearing house. Does that sound rational much less economically feasible?

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I certainly agree that women's golf should be promoted for the good of the game and its growth.   Unfortunately, the OEMs are not subject to Title IX because they do not receive federal funds.  Perhaps, it would be wise for them to be more farsighted regarding the growth of women's golf, but for now its follow the money.

 

Because we are golfers, we have an interest in the growth of women's golf on the college level, but I am not sure that our colleges and universities have such an interest.   Golf like many other sports are the step-children in college athletics.   Its all about football and basketball and again its follow the money.

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Here's the thing that bugs me. If we're all about equality, why are there so many more women's golf scholorships available? Don't get me started on Title IX. Let's just get a women's football league together and give out more men's golf scholorships, with equipment for everyone. LOL. Equality is a joke. It's never going to be perfectly equal. We are all acting like toddlers... "he has more M&Ms than I do!"

 

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I think an umbrella program mandate like the one you are suggesting is akin to regulatory overreach.

 

I'm not even going to dive into the problems with your suggestion that private companies offering equipment to college athletes falls under the purview of Title IX (discrimination and federal financial assistance???).

 

But for the sake of examining your demand for equitable equipment offers, let's flip the script and look at the respective Men's and Women's golf programs at Arizona State. Thanks to a long history of endowments, the Karsten (PING) family owns the inside track at ASU; but let's say PXG has decided to get a foot in the door. At ASU the women's program holds the top spot in NCAA rankings; the men's program comes in at #21. In determining which programs to court, PXG leadership probably sets some performance benchmarks (i.e. consistently Top 10 ranked program). Your argument seems to suggest that if PXG wanted to outfit the defending women's NCAA champs, they should also be forced to offer the same equipment deal to the #21 ranked men's program.

 

Can you see where this goes from here? With the logic you are attempting to apply, an equipment manufacturer extending an offer to any single player should then be legally bound by the federal government to offer the same deal to every single player that passes through the NCAA clearing house. Does that sound rational much less economically feasible?

 

I can see what you're saying but it's not based in fact. For the record, I have worked in the athletic  department of an NCAA DI school and have some first hand experience in these matters.

 

So to begin with, endowments. They are not performance based. Endowments are large, gifts to the school that are invested. Typically, if you get a $1 million dollar investment, the interest on that endowment nets the school around $50k per year in funding while the principle plus a little extra stays invested. Endowments can not be taken back by the giver.

 

As for the next point, "an equipment manufacturer extending an offer to any single player should then be legally bound by the federal government to offer the same deal to every single player that passes through the NCAA clearing house. Does that sound rational much less economically feasible?"

 

Yes, that's totally feasible. That's how it usually works. When Nike sponsored our athletic department, everyone got a ton of free nike stuff. The water boys got hooked up. 

 

What this comes down to is; are you giving a person a gift out of the kindness of your heart, to help the kids! or, do you expect something in return? If you're giving the future pro golfers of America free equipment because A) you want them to be seen playing your gear and B) you hope they sign with you when they're on the big boy tour, then you need to play by NCAA rules which fall under the scope of Title IX. It's a civil rights law, it's why you can't just give to men's programs or just give to white athletes or christian athletes (or at least, you can't specifically say that). When Alabama football got a brand new $9 million dollar S&C facility, they had to give all sports, including the women's teams, equal access. That's how it works. The money all came from a football booster and the Football team will benefit from it. The head S&C coach is technically considered part of the football staff but... everyone gets a piece. That's how it works. 


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Title IX is a weird rule when it comes to collegiate sports. I believe in title 9 and like the rule of Womens Scholorships should be equal to mens. I also believe if the mens team is getting a benefit the womens team should get this as well

 

My biggest issue with Title IX is the fact women dont have a scholorship equivalent of men. There is no women's sport that will cause 85 scholarships in one pop. This has really affected a lot of smaller mens sports. I think we should exempt football since a womens equivalent in scholarships doesnt exist


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I don't think corporations should be required to provide equipment equally, but I do think that the universities should be. If that means they have to turn down free equipment or services, so be it. That might help straighten things out.


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I don't think corporations should be required to provide equipment equally, but I do think that the universities should be. If that means they have to turn down free equipment or services, so be it. That might help straighten things out.

+1

 

Victoria Secret shouldn't be required to make clothes for men but a university should be required to give women as many scholarship opportunities as men.

 

 

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I don't think corporations should be required to provide equipment equally, but I do think that the universities should be. If that means they have to turn down free equipment or services, so be it. That might help straighten things out.

I was going to say something along these lines. I'm surprised that this isn't a policy at lots of schools. I forget what the term is but I know there are teams that are officially school sponsored and others that are club teams. So if say a men's golf team were an official school team but the women's team were a "club" team the school wouldn't really have control over that. Lots of moving parts here but it seems like it would be in the best interest of a company to provide equipment to both at very least in the cases where both are official school teams.

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I would be curious how the men and women programs are treated at a university like Alabama, for example.  With the women ranking #3 and the men ranking #4 last year, I would think both programs would receive the same treatment from OEMs.  Universities and OEMs go for the exposure and where the money will come from.  Let's say that a women's program is #1 in the nation and the men are ranked last, I would expect OEMs to go after the women's program and not really look at the men's.  

 

I think the overall problem was addressed in the article, the money men bring in versus the women.  I believe if you can close the gap on this, then the manufactures and universities will follow suit.  I believe there was something I heard about the LPGA getting a network, but I haven't heard if that has gone through, or if it will.  Somehow if the media can start focusing more on women athletics in general you'll see those gaps get closer.  I'm just unsure how to do that besides showing interest as a individual, going to the events, watching on TV, etc.


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