Tuesday, December 19, 2006

WHB Posts Coaches' Opinions on Male Practice Players

If you're looking for more about the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics proposal to limit male practice players (which we blogged about here), Women's Hoops Blog has been posting the opinions of women's basketball coaches -- see here (Notre Dame), here (Hartford, Pitt, Baylor), and see also here (opinion of former practice player) and here (linking to Nancy Lieberman's column at ESPN.com).

I particularly appreciated the comments of LSU's assistant coach, who pointed out (among other things) that the male practice players themselves develop a strong appreciation for women's sports. They attend their "teammates'" games, they promote the team to their peers, they follow college and professional women's basketball, and some have even made a career choice to coach women.

While I recognize that last item is controversial -- after all, the more men who coach women, the fewer women get to coach period, at least until that door of cross-gender coaching opens both ways -- I am still willing to put "effect on male players" down as a positive aspect of using male practice players. Heck, if this former practice player's opinion is any indication ("Julie Rousseau, the current coach [at Pepperdine], was probably one of the most influential women in my life...."), maybe male practice players are the very thing that will ultimately foster a cultural acceptance of women coaching men?

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