Women and Sports: Outside of the Literal Playing Field

I was lucky enough to have the chance to attend some of the LSA Theme Semester Events at the Hatcher Library Gallery. These speakers are meant to overlap the ideas that are in our Political Science class, which this semester is based off of Sports and the University. On October 30, I was able to listen to Andrea Joyce, a women sports reporter who was able to succeed in the world of male sport reporters. Then, on November 14 I was able to listen to Amy Perko. Perko has been an executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics since 2005. While being an executive director of the Knight Commission, she mainly focused on the treatment of student athletes. 

The news station that Andrea Joyce reported for.

During lectures, we have talked a lot about the gender discrimination between men and women. After reading Being a Women and Other Disabilities by Mika LaVaque-Manty, I realized that gender discrimination was something that could be looked at outside the literal playing field of a sport. When hearing Joyce’s story, it amazed me. It was around the year 1978, and there was no women in the world of sports reporting. There were some doing news reporting, but none had broken the social norms that women do not know sports and actually got a job as a sports reporter. That is until Joyce came around. Joyce started her career as a sports reported in Dallas, and upon her arrival many men started complaining. Men were confused and also doubtful that a women sports reported would be able to know enough about sports to execute an effective story. Joyce made her way up through the world of sports reporting and ending up covering some big events such as the the Olympics and the NBA. As her career carried on, she found herself in the limelight. One man wrote a column in the newspaper saying how he was taping everyone one of her reports, looking for her to make a mistake. This extra pressure was not needed, seeing as she was already in a news room with all of the other sports reporters being male. Even though Joyce was just as productive and successful as a male reported, it was the social barriers that society accept which made it so hard for her. Joyce was able to stay strong and prove the social norms wrong, opening the door for many other women sports reporters to come after her.

Image showing College coach’s salaries vs. College athlete’s salaries.

While also in the world of sports, Perko was asked to speak about the Knight Commission; She mainly addressed the treatment of student athletes while in college. Her job was to make sure that the college athletes were getting a quality education, while also balancing their respected sport. This reminded me of the lecture in which we talked about should college athletes be paid for what they are doing. Perko was a college athlete herself and she explained how hard it was to balance getting a quality education while succeeding in your sport. Having heard this, she knows that it would be next to impossible for a college athlete to balance sports, classes, and a job. The Knight Committee mainly works with the NCAA to help overcome some of the problems that student athletes face when looking at their academic and athletic parts. With the amount of emphasis that is put just on these two things, I think it backs up that claim that student athletes should in fact be paid for what they do for their university.


One comment

  1. brendangaughan · December 7, 2014

    I too went to the Andrea Joyce speaking, and in my opinion, you did an outstanding job portraying her message. In fact, when listening to some of her personal stories, I couldn’t help but to relate her experiences ones of Veronica Corningstone from the movie Anchorman. It might be a silly comparison, but in all seriousness, their journeys are quite similar. Both are women with dreams of becoming well-respected reporters, and once they both enter the office space, they were constantly taunted and expected to be unfit for their positions. Aside from the intentionally humorous office interactions with Rob Burgundy, Brian Fantana, and Champ Kind, Veronica Corningstone is judged and talked down upon because she is a woman. Nevertheless, both Veronica and Andrea Joyce overcame their hardships and became very successful in the reporting field.

    In regards to the Amy Perko presentation, I do agree with her that college athletes should be paid, however, I believe only some of the athletes deserve it. I suggest that the teams that win championships (national or conference) should deserve some sort of bonus for their efforts. Another idea could be that the sports teams that make money for the university could give out a small reward to their players for their contributions. Let me know what you think about these ideas!


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