Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Male coaches feel "discrimination"

Women's Hoops Blog links to this article about the larger implications of the search for a head women's basketball coach at University of South Carolina. The writer turns it into a battle of the sexes--a battle that men are allegedly losing because they comprise less than 50 percent of the head coaches of women's intercollegiate basketball teams and because there seems to be a trend toward hiring women for head coaching positions over more allegedly experienced male coaches.
Cry me a river. I'm sorry. I promised I would try to hold back the snarkiness but this is just ridiculous. And that Pat Summitt thinks that men should be fighting against the discrimination women faced for so many years is more than disappointing. How much longer does the winningest coach in collegiate basketball have to kowtow to the establishment? It's almost somewhat ironic given that she makes the point that should be at the forefront of this issue: “A lot of consideration should obviously be given — if abilities are equal — to women because we don’t have the same considerations if we apply for a men’s job. So, our only avenue in the women’s game, as women, is to try and put ourselves into position to be head coaches.”
What never gets questioned is the rhetoric around "equal abilities" and the "best candidate" as if these are somehow objective standards not at all influenced by our beliefs around gender, sexuality, and the meaning of sport.
USC AD Eric Hyman talks about his desire to hire a woman but that sometimes qualifications hold him back:
“All things being equal, I would want to hire a woman,” Hyman says. “All things being equal, I would want to hire a minority. All things being equal, I would hire a South Carolina graduate. I’ve always been that way.”
Hyman pauses and adds the proverbial “but.” He says he does not want to hire a minority who is less qualified than a woman, or a woman who is less qualified than a man.
“Maybe it’s not the politically correct thing to do, but it’s principles over politics,” he says.

The problem is that all things are not equal--and they never have been. These qualifications that everyone seems to think are standardized are difficult to obtain when all things--very few things in fact--are not equal.
And I wonder about this notion that principles supersede politics. Your principles should be informing your politics. And if your principles are based around the notion of winning the game at all costs then of course things like gender and racial equity look like mere "politics."