Sunday, July 03, 2011

Columnist Criticizes Sex Discrimination in State Championship Site

I'm glad to see sports columnist Steve Hanlon calling the Indiana High School Athletic Association on the apparent sex discrimination in its chosen locations for the girls' and boys' state basketball championships. Criticizing a recent IHSAA memo siting the girls' championship in Terre Haute, Hanlon writes:

While female Hoosiers play an unequal game of geographic Ping-Pong come title time, the boys continue to perform on the big stage, under the bright lights of Conseco Fieldhouse.

Boys get the state capital that is centrally located. The girls get the town in western Indiana where Timothy McVeigh was executed.

Do you feel the thrill, ladies?

Apparently, the girls' basketball championship got squeezed out of Indianapolis's premier basketball venue again this year, due to scheduling constraints created by the fact that Consesco also serves as the championship site for the women's Big Ten conference. But that doesn't mean that the high school girls should perpetually lose out. Hanlon suggests that the girls could play their championship a week earlier so that both could be held at Conseco without conflict.

Another way equitably address the limited playing time available at Conesco would be would be to alternate the championship that gets to play there. Every year, either the boys or the girls would have to relocate to a remote location that will be very inconvenient for either northern or southern teams. Since the girls had to play elsewhere last year (Fort Wayne), this year, the boys should have to play in Terre Haute. The fact that this solution hasn't been suggested -- not even by a columnist who taking up this issue of discrimination -- shows just how unexamined male privilege is in high school basketball.