Skip to main content

Title IX, Men’s Soccer, Women Coaches, Grinnell, and Such (#1207)

Topics/tags: Grinnell

This semester, Grinnell’s Rosenfield Program, American Studies concentration, and PE department have been co-sponsoring a variety of events related to the 50th anniversary of Title IX. This week, there was an illuminating panel about different Grinnellians’ experiences with women’s sports at Grinnell on Monday and an informative and fascinating talk by Jaime Schultz on Tuesday. Both conversations touched on the next step of increasing participation for women in sports: ensuring that participation includes not just the players but also the coaches and administrators.

Hence, I was interested to see in today’s New York Times, that tomorrow will mark the first NCAA Men’s Soccer match in which both coaches are women. In some ways, that’s an important step forward, as it suggests an increased understanding that women can make excellent coaches [1]. However, it’s fifty years since Title IX. You’d hope that it would have happened sooner than this. Plus, these are division 3 teams. When are we getting women coaches for men’s D1 soccer?

The article also seems to get its facts wrong. It implies that Kim Wyant, NYU’s head coach, was the first female head coach of a men’s soccer team. But that’s not even close to true. Wyant started in 2015. Grinnell’s men’s soccer team had a female head coach back in the late 1990s, the legendary Jenny Wood [3]. However, Wood was also coach of the women’s team, so it may be that Wyant is the first men’s soccer coach who is not a dual-sport coach [5].

After reading the article, I wanted to submit a comment about this issue. But The Times has disabled commenting for that article [7]. So I’m musing instead. I’ve also encouraged Grinnell’s sports information department [8] to follow up with The Times.

We’ll see what happens.

Postscript: Are you wondering how Grinnell is doing in its Title IX sports compliance? Schultz showed us data that Grinnell is not doing well on the proportionality test: If I recall correctly, Grinnell has approximately 52% women students but only about 43% women athletes. However, I think Grinnell meets the alternate fulfills demand test, as there are likely spots available on rosters for various teams [9].

Postscript: Schultz also told us that she was surprised to see that we had more baseball players than football players.

[1] Is that really a surprise? [2]

[2] Unfortunately, it is a surprise to some people. I heard on Monday that when the amazing Erin Hurley took over as men’s swimming and diving coach, many men quit the team. Given how many awards Erin has won, we have strong evidence that those men made the wrong decision.

[3] I still recall seeing Billy Bragg in Harris while Wood was coaching. He talked about the fun the band had playing soccer with students on Mac field [4] and how impressed he was that our men’s coach was a woman.

[4] I’m pretty sure that Mac field was the primary men’s soccer field in those days.

[5] Times have changed. It seems that division III schools are trying to limit the number of different sports that people coach, which I think is a good thing [6].

[6] Hmmmm. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m pretty sure our men’s basketball coach also coaches women’s golf and our men’s soccer coach also coaches men’s golf.

[7] Why?

[8] I think Wood was also our Sports Information Director.

[9] For example, historically, Swimming and Diving has been a no-cut team; anyone interested could join. I think Track and Field is also a no-cut team.

Version 1.0 of 2022-10-27.