Clemens: Women’s sports are pushed to the side; it deserves our attention

Lindsay Whalen acknowledges the crowd in the final seconds of Game 5 of the WNBA Finals against the Los Angeles Sparks in October 2017 at Williams Arena. The Lynx won the game, 85-76, to claim their fourth WNBA championship. (Star Tribune, TNS)
Lindsay Whalen acknowledges the crowd in the final seconds of Game 5 of the WNBA Finals against the Los Angeles Sparks in October 2017 at Williams Arena. The Lynx won the game, 85-76, to claim their fourth WNBA championship. (Star Tribune, TNS)

Daric Clemens is a senior journalism news major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. 

The sports industry is one of the biggest in the world and continues to grow throughout all levels. Sports are becoming more and more popular and play a huge role in society today. 

However, there is a problem in the sports world that has been around since the very beginning and is still a lingering issue up to current time. Women’s sports are not fully valued, as they endure being pushed to the side compared to men’s sports. 

It’s time for women to receive the same respect men are given in the sports world. Women have earned it just as much as men, and society needs to recognize what they do. 

If you think about it, honestly, more than likely, you have been a part of the problem at some point in your life. Maybe you still are now. 

There was a time when I was also a part of the problem. A few years ago, I didn’t fully have a grasp of the respect women’s sports deserved. I usually didn’t pay attention to anything that was happening when it came to sports such as women’s basketball, soccer, softball and more. 

Nonetheless, my eyes were open when I had the opportunity to start covering Ball State Women’s Basketball. From there on, I started to enjoy the game a lot, and I became passionate in covering the sport, which has led me to be more invested in women’s sports. 

As I have become more attuned to these sports, it has made me aware of the disrespect and lack of recognition women receive in the sports industry. 

For example, I have started to become interested in women’s college basketball and the Women’s National Basketball Association. The thing I have noticed most is the lack of media coverage for games and players. It is rare to see any women’s basketball highlights from any level on sports shows on TV regularly like we do men’s. 

Senior guard Jasmin Samz waits on the bench for her name to be called as the starting line up is announced for Ball State’s game against Ohio University Jan. 12, in John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals had a double header today against Ohio that resulted in a loss for both the men and women’s teams. Eric Pritchett,DN

The rating disparity is large, as in 2019, the men’s college championship game had 19.630 million viewers, and the women’s championship had 3.689 million, according to Sports Media Watch

Professional women athletes aren’t marketed like men are, which makes it harder to learn about some of the top players at the time unless you actively research them. 

It is assumed by people women’s basketball isn’t as entertaining to watch because of the lack of dunking, or sometimes it could be a slower-paced game and any other negativities people perceive from women’s basketball.

However, I have learned in the women’s game, especially college basketball, there is a lot of good team ball being played. You can see the determination and hard work on the court. There are also a lot of good standout players that put on a show, which makes the game exciting to watch. 

Women athletes put in the time and dedication and have worked hard to make it where they have, so what is different from them compared to men? It is a question that cannot fully be answered, but unfortunately, women’s sports suffer because the general consensus is they aren’t as talented as men. 

There are some things trending upward for women’s sports, such as a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that was made between the WNBA and Women’s National Basketball Players Association. They agreed on an eight-year deal starting in 2020, in which the main factor is a 53 percent increase in total cash compensation and other benefits that were needed to be added, according to the WNBA. 

Big changes were also made in women’s college basketball, as the 2020 NCAA Women’s Championship has been moved to national TV. The first and second rounds will be available nationally on ESPN programs rather than regionally. The semifinals and championship will air on primetime on flagship networks, according to ESPN. 

Important steps are being made, and the progression is there, but it can never be enough, and work still needs to be done to get it to an equal playing field as these women deserve. 

Contact Daric Clemens with comments at diclemens@bsu.edu or on Twitter @DaricClemens

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