Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of Title IX which paved the way for the recognition and growth of women’s athletics. In the last few years the Syracuse Orange have taken more steps towards increasing opportunities through the hiring of women to coach women’s sports. We have both women’s basketball and women’s lacrosse sharing facilities with their male counterparts and we’ve cheered individual and team success from Syracuse women.....but what does the future hold?
First and foremost would be the number of women’s sports that Syracuse sponsors. At no point should adding women’s teams mean the reduction of men’s sports as done previously. We’re not going to see swimming and diving return anytime soon, but the ACC sponsors two other women’s sports in fencing and golf that hold potential. Neither would require an additional facility to be built at this time and the scholarships for both (5 for fencing and 6 for golf) are not overly expensive to the bottom line.
Next we look at the overall state of the Athletic Department. As we see more women serving as head coaches, it’s important to push for more women to be hired to be assistant coaches or support staff members. Just as we ask for men’s sports to provide opportunities for assistant coaches to grow and develop into head coach candidates, the same holds true for women. This should be a priority for the Orange when current coaches transition into new jobs as Syracuse could increase options for former athletes to return and lead the next generation of women.
To grow the women’s sports and support for them Syracuse must also build upon the recognition of these athletes. Retiring jerseys last season was a great step as was the unveiling of a Title IX mural but as the Dome renovations continue Syracuse must find ways to recognize the athletes and teams that have paved the way. There should be a dedicated space to showcase the outstanding women who have represented Syracuse. An area to honor the National Champions from all Syracuse sports in the iconic building for Orange athletics is also needed. It won’t be long before another women’s team joins the 2015 field hockey squad in achieving that milestone and Syracuse fans should be reminded of these accomplishments whenever they come to The Loud House.
I would be wrong to not mention that it’s also important for those of us who cover and promote Syracuse sports to not neglect the women in what we do. There is certainly room for us to improve and we will continue to work towards achieving this goal.