Monday, April 13, 2009

Conference Secures Broadcast of HS Girls' Basketball Tournament Selection Show

Title IX and women's sports advocates frequently bemoan gender disparities in media's coverage of high school and college sports. So it was nice to read about a high school athletic conference (upstate New York's Section III) that leveraged its broadcast rights to take steps towards equal coverage of boys and girls basketball by Time Warner Cable.

Last year, Time Warner aired a selection show announcing the pairings in the boys' basketball tournament but offered no similar coverage for the girls' tournament. The Section III committee took stock of this and other inequities in the respective basketball tournaments (including disparities in recognition of the winning teams) and negotiated a new contract with Time Warner to ensure that it airs a selection show for both the boys and girls tournaments. Though the agreement does not require Time Warner to broadcast the girls' basketball finals, Section III officials quoted in the article suggest this issue will be taken up in the near future.

While the media itself is not regulated by Title IX, this story shows that rights holders who are concerned about gender equity can use their bargaining position to correct imbalances in its coverage. If a state high school association do this, why can't the NCAA?