PLNU athletics is increasingly gaining attention with the use of Twitter, Instagram and an updated athletics website. It also doesn’t hurt that some teams are becoming more and more dominant, such as the men’s soccer team, who is on a PLNU-record 14-game unbeaten streak. With all of the promotion around school and on social media however, one thing is lacking: the balance of promotion between the men’s and women’s teams.
If you were to go onto the PLNU athletics Twitter or Instagram, it is easy to notice that the men’s teams get more attention and promotion than their women counterparts. This is especially prevalent between the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Basketball is easily one of the more popular sports on campus, and even though the women have proven their talent and ability to win over the past few seasons, the men seem to get most of the attention.
The 2016-17 campaign was the women’s basketball team’s best since becoming members of the NCAA for the 2014-15 season. During the 2016-17 season, they posted their most wins yet (24) and their best-ever finish in the PacWest Conference standings (second). The women’s basketball team finished with an overall record of 24-6 and a 17-3 conference record. To go even further, women’s basketball set a program-record by having five student-athletes named to the All-PacWest team in 2016-17.
The PLNU women’s basketball team was a force to be reckoned with last season and have even been voted as co-favorites to win the PacWest Conference in the coaches’ preseason poll for the 2017-18 season. However, a student wouldn’t know any of this unless they were to go to the PLNU athletics website and look it up themselves.
“I think the men are promoted differently and get more attention. They get mentioned more, they get their photos posted more even on events that are for both men’s and women’s basketball,” said a member of the women’s basketball team. The team member also noted that if you were to look at performance records, the women have shown to definitely be performing at a level that deserves publicity. She also pointed out that, “Even when the women’s team would accomplish something great, there would not be much mention of it at all.”
I’m not saying that the men don’t deserve the attention they are getting. They finished with a respectable overall record of 17-13 with a 11-9 conference record for the 2016-17 season and recently dominated Westcliff in an exhibition matchup, 110-39. The promotion that the men get is not the issue. The issue is that the women do not get the same amount of attention, even though they have proven that they are one of the most talented teams at PLNU.
Another example of the men’s basketball team getting more attention than the women’s team was when PLNU athletics was promoting Slamfest, which was held on Oct. 26. Although the Slamfest was to get fans excited for both the men’s and women’s basketball season, the majority of Instagram and Twitter posts promoting the event just showed pictures and videos of the men. If I had not asked a member of the men’s basketball team if both the men and women were included, I would’ve thought that it was just the men participating.
The women did receive promotion for this event through an Instagram video, but the video was posted just mere hours before Slamfest, unlike the men’s promo videos that had been posted periodically throughout the weeks leading up to Slamfest.
The women’s basketball team is explosive, dynamic and exciting to watch. They have an undeniable energy and determination to win. Simply put, they deserve to get the same recognition that their fellow men’s basketball players get.
Equality between male and female athletes is something that even the professional sporting industry is still working toward. The stereotype that male athletes are more talented and exciting to watch than female athletes is one that unfortunately, people have grown to believe. In order to change this, we have to recognize that there is inequality, even here at PLNU.
An increase in promotion for the women’s teams, especially the women’s basketball team for the 2017-18 season, would be a positive step forward in the attempt to have equality between male and female athletes at PLNU.