Over the past year, NCAA women’s sports faced adversity with multiple reports of inequality of media coverage between men and women’s sports.
According to one study of sports television coverage in Southern California, women, and girls account for over 40% of athletes, yet they receive less than 4% of the coverage on news shows.
Social media has played a part in revealing the issue with equally covering men and women’s sports. There have been reports about the unacceptable videos and images that revealed the difference between men and women’s weight rooms, swag bags and meals that were provided to them during the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament.
Specifically at Otterbein, two women’s sports teams won the 2021 Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) championship: soccer and volleyball. Otterbein covered these two teams as they would have covered any men’s sport. Adam Prescott, sports information director, stated that he made sure that the winning video was immediately posted on social media as soon as both teams won their championship. The championship picture of the team was posted on the OAC website, congratulating the teams for their success.
With COVID-19 still occurring, the OAC made sure to post a live stream of the games for everyone to watch, and multiple photos of the teams were posted on social media following the championships.
“Female athletes are just as dedicated to training and performing for their respective sports,” Tate Eppard, Otterbein women’s student coach said. “It is important that coverage is equal to ensure that appreciation is shown to all athletes and so that younger generations can be inspired to be active, regardless of their gender.”
This year with the COVID-19 pandemic, the OAC Conference ensured that every sports team got the recognition that they deserved. Division III athletics is special because events are not televised on TV, so they had to find creative ways to showcase the conference's teams to the public. The OAC took the route of constantly posting on social media about the teams, as well as including a live stream to watch most sporting events.
“I feel as if women’s sports coverage is not taken as seriously versus men’s sports coverage. The men’s coverage gets the best commentators and women’s coverage does not,” Isabelle Fisher, Otterbein sophomore women’s softball player said.
For additional questions and information about the sport’s teams here at Otterbein, you can visit the Otterbein Athletics social media page on Instagram or Twitter or go to athletics page at Otterbein University at Otterbein University Athletics - Official Athletics Website (otterbeincardinals.com).