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May 7, 2016

Women’s sports: A man’s game

Co-produced with PRX Logo


In this hour of Reveal, we’re looking into Title IX, the historic law meant to end gender discrimination in schools. We mostly see this rule play out in school sports, and behind all the fanfare, there’s a story of failure.

Reporter Annie Brown goes behind the numbers to uncover how female coaches lost control of college sports after Title IX went into effect in the 1970s.

In our second segment, we investigate how to make sure that a school is following Title IX.

Since the law passed, schools can pick three ways to comply with it. One of those ways is through a concept called substantial proportionality. It says women and men in a school’s sports programs should reflect the proportion of women and men in the general student body.

UCLA, for example, uses this guideline to comply with the law. Its stats look right on paper, but Reveal’s Rachel de Leon found out that the numbers don’t quite add up.

In our last segment, WBUR’s Martha Bebinger explores the next battleground for Title IX. As a country and a society, when it comes to transgender issues, we’re still figuring out bathroom logistics. Bebinger looks ahead to the playing field and asks whether transgender athletes will be able to secure a place on the team.

DIG DEEPER

  • Read: A man’s game: Inside the inequality that plagues women’s college sports
  • Share your story: Tell us about the female coaches who’ve influenced you

Credits

Support for Reveal is provided by The Reva and David Logan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Mary and Steven Swig.

Track list:

  • Camerado-Lightning, “True Game (Reveal show theme)” (Cut-Off Man Records)
  • Jim O'Rourke, “Not Sport, Marital Art” from “Halfway to a Three Way (EP)” (Drag City Records)
  • Choir of Young Believers, “Sedated” from “Rhine Gold” (Tigerspring)
  • Christopher Willits, “Orange Lit Spaces” from “Surf Boundaries” (Ghostly International)
  • Velella Velella, “That's a Terrible Name for a Song” from “The Bay of Biscay” (Needle Drop Co.)
  • Jim O'Rourke, “Prelude To 110 Or 220 (Women Of The World)” from “Eureka” (Drag City Records)
  • Enya, “Book of Days” from “Shepherd Moons” (Warner Music)
  • YEYEY, “Ghost Suit (instrumental)” from “The Vision (Instrumentals)” (Needle Drop Co.)
  • Podington Bear, “Saunter” from “Backbeat”
  • Jim Briggs, “Roter” (Cut-Off Man Records)
  • Damon Boucher, “Grace” from “Lithium Instrumentals” (Needle Drop Co.)
  • Michael Rother, “Silberstreif” from “Fernwärme” (Polydor)
  • Jim Briggs, “Mister Solo” (Cut-Off Man Records)
  • Jim Briggs, “Going Thru a Phase” (Cut-Off Man Records)
  • Jim Briggs, “Rumble in the Rumble” (Cut-Off Man Records)
  • Ketsa, “Thought Projection” from “Universal Law” (Ketsa Music)
  • Ketsa, “Rain Stops Play” from “Universal Law” (Ketsa Music)
  • Ketsa, “Catch Me Falling” from “Universal Law” (Ketsa Music)
  • YEYEY, “Secrets (Instrumental)” from “The Vision (Instrumentals)” (Needle Drop Co.)

TRANSCRIPT:

Reveal transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. Please be aware that the official record for Reveal's radio stories is the audio.

Section 1 of 4          [00:00:00 - 00:14:05] (NOTE: speaker names may be different in each section)
Al Letson: From The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, this is Reveal, I'm Al Letson.
Speaker 2: Trying to get a shot for Pulido, here she goes and she's got it. The national championship goes to Connecticut for the forth year in a row as the dynasty fulfills it's destiny.
Al Letson: With that win the University of Connecticut made history. They became the first woman's college team to bring home four basketball championships in a row. The team is no doubt reveling in that victory still but there's another woman who could take some of the credit. She's a little older a healthy eighty-eight and she was never really much of an athlete.
Bernice Sandler: I never participated in sports because it was absolutely boring for girls.
Al Letson:

[00:01:00]

That's Bernice Sandler or Bunny as her friends call her and she bears a lot of responsibility for getting those UCONN women onto the court. Let me read this for you. "No person in the United States shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving any federal financial assistance."
Bernice Sandler: I recognize, that that's the beautiful language of what's called Title IX.
Al Letson: Doctor Sandler is known as the Godmother of Title IX.
Bernice Sandler: Title IX of the education amendments prohibits sex discrimination in higher education.
Al Letson: She earned that name by filing the very first sex discrimination case against Universities in the US, her story starts like this. Way back in 1969 Mrs. Sandler finished her PhD at the University of Maryland and became Dr. Sandler but it turned out jobs were harder to come by than the degree she just earned.
Bernice Sandler:

[00:02:00]

I was a part time instructor which isn't nearly as good as being a part time professor and there were seven openings. There was a big opening in the department I was in, which was in the school of education.
Al Letson: You were looking for a permanent job?
Bernice Sandler: Yeah and they hired seven men.
Al Letson: Dr. Sandler wasn't even in the running.
Bernice Sandler: Didn't even consider me or any other women and I'm a good teacher, people like me and I did good work and I got along.
Al Letson: It didn't matter.
Bernice Sandler: I went to one of my faculty friends and say what's going on, how come I wasn't hired. I really thought I was a good teacher and he just looked at me and said well let's face it you come on too strong for a woman, and I went home and I literally wept.
Al Letson: Dr. Sandler says she blamed herself, she thought that she'd done something wrong.
Bernice Sandler: I said to my then husband, "I never should have spoken up in class, I never should've made a suggestion at a staff meeting, I never should have a bunch of things that were absolutely quite normal and he said well that's sex discrimination, that's not you it's sexism." It became clear to me that this was sex discrimination.
[00:03:00]
Al Letson:
 

Standing up to sex discrimination wasn't exactly encouraged back then.

Bernice Sandler: This point sex discrimination is a new issue and the newspapers very often portray women who are working on sex discrimination as castrating bitches.
Al Letson: Retreating would have been easy, very easy but Dr. Sandler did something else.
Bernice Sandler: I filed a class action complaint against every college and university in the country that had a federal contract.
Al Letson: More than 250 schools, it took a lot of research.
Bernice Sandler: In going back to World War II there had been a series of executive orders by the President that said if anyone had a contract with the government.
Al Letson: As these schools did they couldn't discriminate, it was illegal.
Bernice Sandler: You couldn't discriminate on the basis of race color, national origin, religion, and sex. When I read that I literally shrieked aloud.
Al Letson:

[00:04:00]

In the summer of 1970 the Congress convened hearings about sexual discrimination in education. Dr. Sandler's research provided a list of witnesses including herself and in 1972 Title IX passed and amended the Higher Education Act to prohibit discrimination by gender in any educational program or activity receiving federal funding but the words sports and athletics were nowhere in the bill.
Bernice Sandler: We had no idea how bad the opportunities for women and girls in sports was the discrimination was awful but a witness of how wrong it was, was not there for lots of people.
Al Letson: Two years after the law was first passed the federal government issued more regulations requiring schools to apply Title IX to athletics too. Finally propelling a lot more women onto playing fields, tennis courts, and in case of the UCONN Lady Huskies into collegiate sports history.
Speaker 2: Final seconds of the ...
Al Letson: They're now five times as many women in college sports.
Speaker 2: She drills the three.
[00:05:00]
Al Letson:
 

When you see girls playing sports whether its a soccer field or playing softball. How does that make you feel?

Bernice Sandler: I smile and not just inwardly but I smile outwardly and I say this is so great, they have opportunities that girls never used to have. It's their right to have it, it's not that somebody gives them the opportunity it's their right by law and I still ... Sometimes I see girls dressed in soccer uniforms and I just smile.
Al Letson: Not long before the UCONN women won their record breaking championship dozens of girls brought their enthusiasm, dreams, and voices to the bleachers at UC Berkeley.
Camille: I'm Camille Pratt-Chapman and I'm 11.
Annalise: My name's Annalise Simpson and I'm 11, almost 12.
Kayla: I'm Kayla Gideon and I'm 11.
Al Letson:

 

[00:06:00]

Camille, Annalise, and Kayla are pretty tight, they’re in choir together at the Julia Morgan school for girls in Oakland, California and they're singing the Star Spangled Banner before tonight's game. But they didn't show up just to sing, Camille loves watching the women play.
Camille: My grandpa took me here when I was younger like 3, 4, 5 and then I've been coming to here ever sense. It's inspiring to you because you learn new things about basketball that you hadn't known. So when you go to a game you get to use those things and just they're really inspiring to watch. An athlete is something that I sort of want to be when I'm older.
Annalise: We play softball, we've been playing since we were in kindergarten on the same team.
Camille: We play soccer too.
Annalise: We will play volleyball and because our season just ended volleyball's starting up and we're both going to play.
Al Letson: In spite of all of the changes since Congress passed Title IX the playing field isn't always level.
Annalise:

 

[00:07:00]

Sometimes men would think like when you see a women you think dresses and heels and you think they just walk around and shop. If someone were to look at me they would think that and so I would have a really small chance of becoming a coach or a player but if they really saw what you could do.
Kayla: I don't think anyone's specifically better but I think that we're equal. People should treat ... women and men equally.
Al Letson: That's what Title IX was meant to do and that is what Bunny Sandler thought it would do back in 1972 when Congress first passed it.
Bernice Sandler: I was much younger and much more naive. I thought the government would simply say no sex discrimination and it will all stop the next day and that would be it. Obviously that didn't happen, people and institutions and policies don't change so quickly.
Al Letson: Even after all these years we are still faced with these issues. Yes Title IX brought more equality in some ways but as with most rules there's a work around. Today on Reveal we look at those loop-holes and a legacy of Title IX.
Andrew Becker:
[00:08:00]
This is Andrew Becker, I'm a reporter here at Reveal over the past year I've been looking into dis-function and mismanagement at the Transportation Security A dministration or the TSA. It's the agency that's in charge of airport security in the US. Most recently I've written about some pretty outrageous accounts from current and former officials in the TSA's intelligence office. They describe a toxic culture with all kinds of inappropriate behavior, from false accusations of wedgies to forced motivational push-ups to retaliation against employees who reported misconduct. The agency is currently under fire from lawmakers for a litany of issues from security gaps to discrimination within the agency. There's more to come, so head over to our website to check out our stories revealnews.org you can also follow me on Twitter I'm @ABeckerCIR.
Al Letson: You're listening to Reveal, I'm Al Letson. If you pay attention to college sports you know its been a huge year for the University of Iowa. The football team became one of the surprise stories of the season.
[00:09:00]
Speaker 8:
 

The Hawkeyes are unbeaten, one more win would get them into the playoff.

Al Letson: The team was down for years, that's a big problem because like a lot of colleges Iowa relies on football to make money. It built a 55 million dollar football practice facility that opened last year, the team came roaring back with an undefeated season and a trip to this year's Rose Bowl.
Speaker 8: Iowa the Big Ten comes to Pasadena for the first time in 25 years and the Hawkeyes brought along thousands of their thrilled fans.
Speaker 9: I-O-W-A
Al Letson:

 

[00:10:00]

Alongside the success of the football team, there's another story a failure. The school used to be the model for gender equality but the firing of a successful woman's coach has set off a scandal. What's happened in Iowa highlights a problem across the country, women used to run women's sports now it's a man's game. Reporter Annie Brown brings us the story.
Annie Brown: We won't watch the whole thing but you'll kind of get a glimpse of just the pride and ...
Speaker 11: Tracey Griesbaum and I are slumped over a laptop in her Iowa city home watching videos of her field hockey team at the University of Iowa.
Tracey: This is a highlight video that we put together at the end of our season.
Speaker 11: The videos are a lot of winning goals and young women screaming over inspirational background music.
Tracey: Patience Sarah, patience.
Speaker 11: Tracey is one of the most successful coaches in Iowa's history, she has four Big Ten titles and a winning record in her 14 years as head coach. Athletes used to travel from all over the world to play for Tracey but for now it's just the two of us sitting in her basement on a Tuesday afternoon watching these videos.
Speaker 13: Iowa coach Tracey Griesbaum, we have to give you a big congratulations and ask you this question. Are your arms tired? You've been carrying this trophy around for three years.
[00:11:00]
Tracey:
 

We're okay with that, that's how we get stronger. The shot and it's in, Iowa comes back to win this game the third consecutive championship.

Annie Brown: What's it like to watch that now?
Tracey: For me to be sitting here with you and not doing what I'm supposed to be doing is really frustrating, it's just hard to watch some of their faces I guess.
Annie Brown: Tracey is a tall woman with short gray hair, she used to color it a dark brown but stopped when everything was falling apart. One afternoon in May of 2014 the athletic director Gary Barta called a meeting with Tracey, here's Tracey again.
Tracey: They said that there was some allegations put forth against me.
Annie Brown:
[00:12:00]
An anonymous player had accused Tracey of verbal abuse. The university launched an investigation, spent close to three months interviewing players and produced a report.
Speaker 13: So here are a few examples of mistreatment reported by student athletes. Called stupid, It's not in my vernacular, Coach Griesbaum told a student athlete quote "If I were you I would kill myself." Student athlete had to practice alone while the rest of the team practiced together.
Annie Brown: The report also cited claims that students felt pressured to play injured, others were so stressed out that they had to seek therapy but in the end the report concluded ...
Tracey: There was insufficient evidence presented to substantiate a violation of university policy.
Annie Brown: Tracey went back to preparing for the season but three days later Gary Barta called Tracey in ...
Tracey: That was over, it was gone in maybe a ten minute meeting.
Annie Brown:

[00:13:00]

Gary fired Tracey about two weeks before the start of the field hockey season, a spokesman for the university Joe Brennan went on Iowa public radio to defend the decision.
Joe: Gary felt that it was his responsibility as athletic director, in order to protect the student athletes to make that leadership change.
Annie Brown: But the players who spoke publicly said Tracey didn't do anything wrong. We visited the field hockey team at one of their indoor practices this winter, for two hours the girls run drills and practice shooting on a huge turf field. The school wouldn't let me interview players at practice so over six months I reached out to sixty of Tracey's current and former players. I was looking for the students behind these claims or a student who felt they were justified but I couldn't find her.
Speaker 15: I can't imagine these things coming out of her mouth.
Speaker 16: Completely blindsided.
Annie Brown: That's Caroline Blowne and Rose Ellis, you'll also hear Lauren Piefer here and Patty Gilhern.
Speaker 17: She called the players stupid. Did you ever see Tracey do anything like that?
[00:14:00]
Speaker 18:
 

No, absolutely not. I mean that sounds completely ... I'm laughing right now ...

Section 1 of 4          [00:00:00 - 00:14:05]
Section 2 of 4          [00:14:00 - 00:28:05] (NOTE: speaker names may be different in each section)
Ellis: Absolutely not. I mean that sounds ... I'm laughing right now hearing that.
Pfeiffer : Because  the word fat, do you feel like it's possible she said that?
Ellis: No. She could have called me fat, I was out of shape, I was not eating right and she didn't.
Annie: 24 students got back to me and no one had anything negative to say about Tracey. Here's Pfeiffer and Ellis again.
Pfeiffer : Do you think that the girls are just making it up, or they ...
Ellis: I don't want to say people are lying but she would never have said anything like that. I want them to say it to my face because I sat in the same seat as you, and was in the same meeting that you're claiming you heard that she crossed the line. There's no way.
Annie: Her firing shocked her colleagues at the university and across the country.
Lisa : I had a ton of coaches call me in total shock like, "My God if Tracey Griesbaum was fired I should have been fired 15 years ago."
Annie: That's Lisa Cellucci, she was Tracey's assistant coach for 14 years.
Lisa : Her nickname is 'Tighty' because she doesn't curse, she doesn't drink, she doesn't really ever do anything that's inappropriate. If she said, "Damn." Or something people would celebrate, they'd be like look, Tighty said, "Damn."
Annie: All of Tracey's players published an open letter to the university in the school paper. The teammate t-shirts that read We Support Our Coach but still, Tracey was out of a job. Here's Tracey again.
Tracey: I asked what did I do wrong? What did I do wrong? I was never told what I did wrong.
Annie:

 

[00:16:00]

Fueling this outcry was the general sense, that at Iowa, women coaches were losing ground. Tracey was the 5th female coach Gary Barta forced out in 6 years. What's happened at Iowa has come as a big surprise because for decades the university was a stronghold for women coaches. To understand Tracey's story, we have to go back, about 40 years.
Male: You’ve been listening to Hawk Talk [inaudible 00:16:08]
Christine: My name is Christine Grant and I am retired from the position of Women's Athletic Director at university of Iowa.
Annie: Christine turns 80 this year and the fact that she was a female athletic director makes her a bit of a relic. There are only two female athletic directors in the top conferences today.  Here found this collage of the women's athletics department. Do you know what year this is?
Christine: That was way back. I think it was in 1974.
Annie: There's so many women on this board that's the thing that's so striking about it, it's like all of the head coaches are women. Back then, 90% of women's teams were coached by women and headed by female athletic directors.
Christine:
[00:17:00]
That was a time when it was paying little or nothing. It was women who did the work.
Annie: That's not just an expression. Schools really didn't pay most coaches of women's teams. Then, Title IX passed. That was supposed to get rid of gender discrimination in education but Title IX doesn't require gender equality in coaching so it had this weird side effect.
Christine: We were so concerned about what was happening to women coaches and women administrators. They were disappearing.
Annie: For the first time, schools had to invest real money in women's sports and that meant more than doubling the number of coaching jobs. Before, most of the female athletic directors would have hired these new coaches but after Title IX, universities put male athletic directors in charge of the women's teams.  Statistically, men are more likely to hire other men. Things started to change.
Christine: The bottom line was strong women were not appreciated. You either toed the line and kept quiet or you spoke up and you were either demoted or fired.
[00:18:00]
Annie:
 

It went from 90% of female teams coached by women to 43% today. Iowa was different, it was one of the only schools that kept a separate athletic director for the women.

Christine: I hired the coaches, I evaluated the coaches and that's what made Iowa very very different.
Annie: At Iowa women coaches were always in the majority and they were really good.
Male: Meanwhile the Iowa women's team is still going gangbusters.
Annie:

[00:19:00]

The women's team won 27 Big Ten titles in 27 years. That all changed when Christine Grant retired in 2000. Iowa finally got rid of its separate department for women and put the men's athletic director in charge. The school made an important agreement; if the athletic director were male, then number 2 would be female. Today that director is Gary Barta. This past year, Gary has been riding high with the football team's surprising success and getting to play in the Rose Bowl.
Gary: Come in, hi there, how are you.
Annie: Hi, how's it going?
Gary: I'm Gary.
Annie: Annie Brown.
Gary: Nice to meet you.
Annie: Nice to meet you too.
Gary: Have a seat.
Annie: That day hundreds of students were in line outside waiting to pick up their tickets to the Rose Bowl.
Gary: It's been just amazing. We had 55,000 requests for 22,000 tickets.
Annie:

 

 

[00:20:00]

Before our meeting, Gary sent me pages and pages of budgets. He increased the budget for every woman’s team last year but what Iowa managed to avoid in the past three decades has finally happened. Gary has forced out five female coaches, replaced two of those women with men and paid those men an average of 25% more than the women. The women's teams aren't very good anymore. Since Gary took over, the women have only won four titles in ten years and three of those were in field hockey under Tracey. When women have been fired and then replaced by men, those men have been paid an average of 25% more. What's the rationale behind that?
Gary: Both the experience of the candidate and peer comparison comes into play when we set the salary. It's not based on gender, it's based on those two factors.
Annie: A bit about numbers here because I'm about to get technical with Gary. Under Christine Grant, women coached an average of 80% of women's sports. Now under Gary, only 50% are coached by women. That's the lowest in this school's history.
Gary: Are we nationally concerned that there aren't enough females coaching women's sports? The answer is yes. 50% is above the state average, it's above the Big Ten average, and it's above the national average.
Annie: It's below the average that it was before.
Gary:
[00:21:00]
I don't know what it was 20 years ago but this is a national concern, not just a concern at Iowa.
Annie: Iowa was the place where this was not true. Iowa was the place where it didn't go down after Title IX, except for after Christine Grant left.
Gary: My answer is again it's a national phenomenon and so we're at 50%. We want to be higher but that's above the national average. It's above the Big Ten average.
Annie: Gary's right, this is a national trend but that doesn't answer the question why? What's behind this national trend? Tracey has a theory about what happened to her.
Tracey: I was really trying to stand up for what I thought was fair to field hockey, but also to women athletes. The vibe was that he cared about football, he cared about basketball.
Annie: Tracey says she complained about women's sports not getting the same resources, the same attention.  Other coaches say she spoke up for them too, like Sharon Dingman; she was the volleyball coach at Iowa from 2010 to 2013.
Sharon :
[00:22:00]
When coaches had something that they wanted brought up to Gary, Tracey was the coach that we would turn to and ask, "Hey, could you bring this up? "
Annie: Sharon had a losing record and did not get her contract renewed. Gary replaced her with a male coach and paid him $40,000 more than Sharon. Here's Sharon again.
Sharon : Tracey just fought the fight for everybody, that's for sure, and she was the only one that had the courage to broach those subjects with Gary.
Annie: Even Lisa Cellucci, the woman who took over for Tracey, said she doesn't get it.
Lisa : Many people have said to me, "If there was such a problem why would you be offered the job?" I still don't know the answer to that really except, I was told that we're different people with different personalities.
Annie: Do you want to go into that?
Lisa : I don't really know how to explain it to be honest. I definitely don't challenge as much as she does. It's probably harder for me to have conversations that are more challenging, it's just my nature.
Annie:
[00:23:00]
There was one coach I talked to who disagreed, felt like Gary has been fair to the women's coaches. Here's Megan Menzel, the golf coach at Iowa since 2011.
Megan: Gary has been very supportive of me as a head coach and any time that I've had any issues or anything that I need to bring forward my voice has been heard.
Annie: In March, Tracey filed a lawsuit against Iowa, claiming that the school retaliated against her for speaking up. I went looking for other women who have done this. Across the country I found 37 female coaches and administrators who have filed retaliation cases in the last decade. These lawsuits follow a similar pattern. A coach notices some form of discrimination and she speaks up to a superior. Then, she loses her job or gets demoted.
 

 

 

 

[00:24:00]

Of these 37 women who sued, 86% won their case or settled out of court. This is big money. In 2007, Fresno State had to pay 9 million dollars for one retaliation case. There's another thing I started to notice, almost half of the coaches in these retaliation cases claimed they were accused of mistreating or verbally abusing their players. I called these women. Four of them agreed to be on the record. These four won their lawsuit or settled out of court for as much as $700,000. They see themselves as whistle blowers. When they get fired, they're told it's because of mistreating their players. Here's Ruth Crow from Iowa State University.
Ruth: They tried to say that I swore at my players.
Annie: Kathy Bull, from Ball State university in Indiana.
Kathy: You know they had to stay 15 minutes longer in the wait room than what they should have.
Annie: Germaine Fairchild, from Quinnipiac in Connecticut.
[00:25:00]
Germaine :
 

Not a healthy environment for young women.

Annie: Of all the women who sued, 84% never worked in college sports again. I can't verify that these women didn't verbally abuse their players but I asked a law professor, Erin Buzuvis from Western New England University, to help make sense of this. Erin studies retaliation lawsuits and tracks how they play out.
Erin: Often times the defense against a retaliation claim is the athletic department's counter allegation that, "Oh, no the real reason why we fired this coach is because of her being verbally or physically abusive to players." That's a hard thing to unpack. On the one hand, there ought to be zero tolerance for coaches who are abusive of their players, I mean this is college athletics. On the other hand, it could be behavior that is tolerated when it's exhibited by male coaches but punished when it's exhibited by female coaches.
[00:26:00]
Annie:
 

The thing is, the people who are doing this punishing are the athletic directors. If you look at the gender breakdown it's even more skewed than with coaches. 90% of the athletic directors in Division 1 are men. Iowa had a protection in place against this. Remember how when Christine Grant left, they agreed that if the athletic director would be male, then the number 2 would be female. Well that woman was Jane Meyer.

Jane : I was hired back in March of 2001, considered the number 2 person in the athletics department.
Annie: Jane served in that role for 14 years but about a month before Tracey got fired, the athletic director, Gary Barta, announced he was creating a new number 2 position. He hired a man to fill it and paid him $70,000 more than Jane.
Jane : That was sort of my last straw of things that I had raised with regards to gender equity. I decided to put in writing.
Annie:

[00:27:00]

The following day, Gary put Jane on administrative leave. She now works in the Dean’s office. She still makes the same amount of money but she hasn't worked in athletics since.
Jane :

[00:28:00]

What I was doing in college athletics was because of student athletes and I don't have that opportunity in my reassignment. It's very different, it is not my passion.
Annie: This is where things get complicated. See, Jane was Tracey's longtime partner. They had not officially disclosed their relationship at work, but people kind of knew. In a statement, the university said Jane was removed because Tracey was expected to sue. In response, Jane filed her own retaliation lawsuit. She claims that speaking up for gender equity got her pushed out of the athletic department.
  Now Gary is swimming in gender discrimination lawsuits. There's even one from the other side. Iowa recently settled a case with a man. He had applied for an assistant coaching job on a women's team, but an e-mail surfaced showing that the department required the job he wanted go to a woman. Coaches aren't the only losers in these cases, so are the teams, they-
Section 2 of 4          [00:14:00 - 00:28:05]
Section 3 of 4          [00:28:00 - 00:42:05] (NOTE: speaker names may be different in each section)
Annie: Coaches aren't the only losers in these cases, so are the teams they leave behind.
Speaker 2: I mean, I've never stepped on Grant Field without her.
Annie: That's Lisa Cellucci again, Tracy's assistant coach who took over. The first day back at practice without Tracy it was over 90 degrees outside.
Speaker 2: Drive up to Grant Field, get out of the car. Usually Tracy would always be there before me so, that was. Had a very odd feeling, you know, our sticks are always hanging on the same hook with our whistles and hers were still there because she never even got a chance to go back and get them. That right there was probably the biggest breakdown that I had but, sorry. Hold on one second.
Annie: One of the players, Chandler Ackers says she had just gotten back to campus.
[00:29:00]
Chandler:
 

It was just so weird, standing on the field without Tracy. We could put the stick in our hands because Tracy got us that stick. She was such an integral part of the team, she was the Iowa field hockey. How are we going to get through the season?

Annie: At least one player transferred out of Iowa that year because of Tracy's firing and Chandler says, the rest of the team felt cheated.
Chandler: Our coach was taken away from us, we had no time to prepare for anything, we had no time to even consider transferring or anything like that. We were basically thrown into the situation.
Annie: She and 3 other players filed a federal Title IX complaint against Iowa. This is unheard of, as far as we know, no student has ever filed a Title IX complaint on behalf of their coach. They claim that taking away Tracy is like taking away their most valuable resource. Here's Chandler again.
Chandler: It's just not what any make team has had to experience at this university thus far.
Annie: Tracy's lawyer, Tom Newkirk, helped them file the complaint. He boils the case down to this.
[00:30:00]
Tom:
 

If you take every allegation against Tracy Griesbaum and you imagine to yourself that it's true, the question you need to ask yourself is, if a male coach was engaging in exactly the same type of behavior who cares.

Al: That story was from reporter Annie Brown. There are two ways the Office of Civil Rights can punish a school for violating Title IX. They can ask the justice department to take them to court, they've never done that. The second is to take away all federal funding. We asked the office and they couldn't give us a single example of doing that either. If they were to take away a schools federal funding it would effectively shut down that school. How is athletic director Gary Barta doing? Well things have never looked better. Iowa just gave him a new 5 year contract that increased his base salary from $400,000 to $550,000 along with other perks. When the Associate Press reached out to ask Gary about his raise, he couldn't comment. He was away on a Caribbean cruise with the football team. Up ahead, we look at how some colleges are staying in check with the law and dive deep into a phrase that's become sort of a bad word in athletic departments. But we won't leave it out, you ready? Roster management. That story when we come back on Reveal, from the center for investigative reporting and PRX.
Cole:

 

 

[00:32:00]

Hey listeners, it's Cole Goins from Reveal. On Thursday May 12, we're hosting a live Q&A on Reveal's Facebook page with reporter Annie Brown about the story that you just heard. We'll talk about her investigation into the decline and number of female coaches and take your questions about inequality in college sports. If you want to join be sure you like Reveal's page on Facebook. You can also head to our website to read Annie's story and see how your school stacks up on gender equity. Visit us at RevealNews.org.
Al:

 

 

 

 

[00:33:00]

From the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, this is Reveal. I'm Al Letson, today we're looking into Title IX, the law meant to bridge the gender gap in schools. It's given women athletes more opportunities to compete in college sports. The federal government checks to make sure schools are following the law. When it comes to sports there are a few ways to do that, one of them sounds complicated but it's pretty simple. It's called substantial proportionality, that means if 45% of the school is women and 55% is men, the number of student athletes should also split along those same lines, 45% women, 55% men. It turns out that some universities are using creative ways to count, on paper they're meeting the requirements. But they're not necessarily giving women the same opportunities as men. When we started looking into this a few universities jumped out at us, including UCLA. We sent producer Rachel Delion to check the math.
Rachel: In a pickup game at a student gym on UCLA's campus I meet up with some members of the women's basketball team. The women Bruins just finished their best season in 17 years, I shake hands with one of the players and while we're about the same height, 5'11", there's one big difference.
Preston: My name is Preston Dillingham and I'm a fourth year at UCLA.
Rachel: Yup, he's a guy. Preston didn't make the cut for the men's team so he joined what's called the scout team. They're guys who practice on the women's team so the women can play against bigger, stronger opponents. During practice Preston pretends to be female opponents from other teams.
Preston: They'll come to each one of us and say, Preston, today your name is so and so and you're a left handed shooter.
[00:34:00]
Rachel:
 

Preston's name isn't on the public roster and he's not allowed to get any financial aid for playing on the team. But, I tell him that UCLA does count him in an unexpected way. What's happening is that every year they count you guys, the scout team toward women's participation in sports.

Preston: I did not know that, wow. That's weird, I did not know that.
Rachel: You're just a part of the women's basketball team.
Preston: Oh wow, that's a privilege.
Rachel: Preston and the other guys get bundled in with the female players in a report that the university submits to the government. McCai Rudduk and Malique Martin are also on the scout team.
Male: I don't even know what to say to that, I mean, I have not problem with it because I actually like helping them.
Male: I kind of notice we really get counted as part of the women's basketball team. Because we have academic counselors and stuff, we can't drop classes unless we talk to our academic counselor so. That's pretty funny.
[00:35:00]
Rachel:
 

Okay, maybe it is kind of funny, but it's also misleading to count men as women. On it's face this report makes it look like UCLA is in compliance with the law, 56% of it's student body are women and the report makes clear about 56% of it's athletes are women. This report we have is not the official official document, we'll tell you about that one later. But it's the only public report where students and for that matter congress can verify how many men and women compete in college sports. Think of it as the first line of defense against unequal treatment of female athletes. Patrick Mero is the athletic director at George Washington University, about 10 years ago he served on a NCAA committee that looked into the issue of male practice players.

Patrick: There was the concern that this practice was going to take away opportunities for females.
Rachel:
[00:36:00]
The committee called on universities to ban male practice players because they said, it violates the spirit of gender equity and Title IX. But universities never enforced the proposed ban. Plenty of schools still use male practice players, some universities have practice squads that are even bigger than the women's team.
Patrick: We should do everything we can to have an accurate account. The count is not accurate if you're counting men on women's teams as females.
Rachel:

 

 

[00:37:00]

But here's another interesting twist, if schools do use male practice players the department of education says they have to count them as women. Okay, time to start checking the math. I'm actually going to write this down on a chalkboard so we can keep track, so UCLA says it has 495 people on all women's teams. 394 on all men's teams. That lines up with the percentage of men and women athletes they're supposed to have. Now let's subtract 28 male players who practice on all women's teams at UCLA. Now we're down to 467 women, 394 men. UCLA is still within a good range, so here's the thing, it's unlikely that UCLA is counting on male practice players to push it into a good range since they're a pretty small slice of the pie. But, there's another number, a really big number that jumped out at me. On the women's rowing team.
  UCLA reported 127 women on it's team last year, that's almost twice the average number of rowers for a division 1 team. Another red flag, the roster on the schools website says last year, it only had 45 rowers, so on a perfect spring day I went to a race in Redwood Shores, Northern California to see how many women were rowing that day. I met a super intense rowing mom decked out in Bruin's blue and gold.
Joann: Hi, way to go girls.
[00:38:00]
Rachel:
 

How many people are on the team for UCLA this year, do you know?

Joann: This year I believe it's approximately 50. That's the norm.
Rachel: Joann, the mom you just heard from is well known by the other rowers. Before I could ask for her last name voices from one of the UCLA boats on the water interrupt us. They're telling Joann she can't talk to me without the coaches permission.
Joann: Oh you're right. Did you speak with coach?
Rachel: I didn't but the race is public. I had requested an interview with the coach several times and always got no for an answer. I needed to talk to someone who was on the team practicing everyday. I got in touch with Ellie Burg, who rode in the varsity and novice boats last year. She said, there was nowhere near the 127 players UCLA reported and the bus they road to practice ever day couldn't fit half those athletes.
Ellie: It was one of those coach long distance transportation type buses. I would say probably 50 people at the most, it was pretty much full every day.
[00:39:00]
Rachel:
 

If Ellie's right, UCLA's number would be out of whack. But, not necessarily unusual. Nancy Hogshead Mahar is a civil rights lawyer and the founder of Champion Women. A non profit that advocates for girls and women in sports. She has a name for what colleges might be doing.

Nancy: Schools use a practice called roster management, it is artificially constricting the size of the men's teams and artificially inflating the size of the women's teams.
Rachel: Adding players to women's teams can be legit, if those athletes actually get a chance to participate. But, Nancy says it's not okay if a school is adding them just to make things look right on paper.
Nancy: It's essentially cheating, this is not being fair to women on campus.
Rachel:

[00:40:00]

Nancy was one of the first athletes to really benefit from Title IX. She got one of the first swimming scholarships at Duke and then. [crosstalk 00:39:57]. She won 4 medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics. But Nancy says recently there's been a standstill in momentum for college women athletes. She and her colleagues go through that same public report I've been mentioning from the department of education and count.
Nancy: We have a project right now where we're sending out letters to the top 52 schools that are out of compliance with Title IX.
Rachel:

 

 

 

[00:41:00]

When schools miss their target for male and female athletes, they have some options. They can add another women's team but that an be expensive. They can also cut men's teams. Let's get back to the UCLA rowing team. Like I mentioned before, the schools lists 45 players on it's online roster. That was inline with what a former rower told me, but UCLA also puts together a more complete document called the NCAA squad list. I finally got a hold of it through a California public records act request a couple of days before wrapping the show. This is the official official document we were talking about earlier. The one the federal investigator would use if a school was thought to be out of compliance. That list had 130 names on it, 85 more than the online roster. I decided to try to reach as many of those 85 people as I could. Were they on the team or not? Did you even attend a single day of practice?
Female: No. I only tried out one day.
Female: I thought rowing sounds pretty fun, so I tried out. I'm not surprised it didn't happen.
Female: If it was like any athletic looking girl, they would give them a flyer and tell them, hey, come to this info session and then you can try out for the team.
Female: Yeah, I was never on the team, so my name shouldn't be on any list.
Rachel: I reached 54 people on the list, or their parents and here's what I found. Some of them went to practice and never rode in a race, some were on the team for part of the year and then they quit and maybe had an injury. But most of the people that I reached, more than two thirds of them were never on the team at all that year.
Al:
[00:42:00]
That story was from Rachel Deleon and she joins me right now to do a final tally of UCLA's numbers. Okay, so Rachel, where we leave?
Section 3 of 4          [00:28:00 - 00:42:05]
Section 4 of 4          [00:42:00 - 00:57:39] (NOTE: speaker names may be different in each section)
Al: ... Do a final tally of UCLA's numbers. Okay, so, Rachel, where did we leave off?
Rachel: All right. We started off with 495. We took away the 28 male practice players already, so now, we're going to have to subtract the women that were never on the rowing team, and remember, that totals 38.
Al: Okay.
Rachel: Okay? We've got 28 less 38 equals 66.
Al: I'm glad you didn't ask me to do that because it wouldn't have been pretty.
Rachel: I'm going to ask you to do the next one. Are you ready?
Al: No, don't.
Rachel: Okay. We've got 66 spots now where we could fill with women.
Al: Okay, so potentially, those 66 women could actually be doing other sports like field hockey or rugby or something like that.
Rachel: Right. Exactly. There are some sports that UCLA doesn't offer, for instance, field hockey, like you said, fencing, or lacrosse, so this number is big enough, 66. You could actually add 2 of those 3 sports and have enough women to compete on them.
[00:43:00]
Al:
 

Is UCLA out of compliance here?

Rachel: It's a good question, but we should emphasize that we don't know whether UCLA is out of compliance. Only the Federal Office of Civil Rights could determine that, but it's pretty clear that the average student, parent, congress member would probably have a hard time understanding these numbers.
Al: All right, Rachel de Leon of Reveal, thank you.
Rachel: Thank you, Al.
Al: We contacted UCLA for their response to this story. They maintained that they follow all of the rules for reporting athletic participation as established by the Department of Education.
Female: [inaudible 00:43:37]!
Male: [inaudible 00:43:40].
Female: [inaudible 00:43:41]!
Al: A fluorescent, yellow softball sails out of the infield towards the woods by Ponaganset High School in Rhode Island. The left fielder runs forward and catches the ball.
Female: [inaudible 00:43:52], ladies! [inaudible 00:43:54]!
Al:
[00:44:00]
This is the home field for the lady chieftains. It turns out, the team is not all ladies.
Justin: I'm Justin [Benoyer 00:44:00] and I'm playing outfield.
Al: There's a lot evolving in the life of this 16-year-old with a shock of bleach blond hair. Until a few weeks ago, his coaches knew Justin as Elise, although he'd already come out to most of his teammates.
Justin: I'm a guy. It's the same thing as if a guy who's not trans went and played on the girls' softball team.
Al: Well, sort of. There are separate rules for transgender athletes. The rules are so different from state to state that some athletes like Justin can try out for any team they choose while others would need full sex reassignment surgery before they sign up. Reporter Martha Bebinger of WBUR Boston brings us the story.
Martha: Justin [Benoyer 00:44:42] started telling close friends late last year that his true identity was male. He came out to his mom, Julie White, one day in the dead of winter toward the end of the school lunch period.
Julie: I was working in the lunch line at Ponaganset.
[00:45:00]
Martha:
 

Julie leaned over the metal counter to greet her child.

Julie: He walked up to me and said, "Mom, I have something to tell you. I'm trans."
Martha: Friends had cheered as 5'5" Elise joined the wrestling team and won a few matches against bigger, heavier boys. Then last summer, at the beginning of her junior year, Elise decided to play football as the only girl on the team. Julie says coaches didn't return messages.
Julie: We showed up at practice, and basically, you told them, "Hi, I'm here. I'm at practice," and you were a linebacker.
Justin: No, I wasn't.
Julie: What were you?
Justin: I was a lineman.
Julie: A lineman.
Justin: Yeah.
Julie: Okay. I don't ...
Martha: Now, Justin looks ahead to suiting up for football in August as one of the boys. Not sure whether some of his teammates will object.
Justin: It could blow up in my face a bit because a lot of them are very conservative. I can't imagine that they would accept the fact that I'm coming out as a trans.
[00:46:00]
Martha:
 

Julie worries about her son in a small town where the short main street includes one of America's oldest general stores, but she's proud of Justin, too.

Julie: I really wish I had a quarter of my kid's confidence. At 16 years old, it takes my breath away.
Martha: Justin is exercising a little caution this spring. He chose softball over baseball because he thought the girls would be more accepting. Justin says many of the boys who refuse to play with a girl on the football team last fall play baseball this season. For softball, Justin changes in the girls' locker room where there are separate changing stalls.
Justin: It's uncomfortable, but I don't really want to change with the guys either because a lot of them, like the ones from the football team, change in there, and I really don't want to be part of that or to start anything.
Martha:
[00:47:00]
Justin may not be comfortable in a boys' locker room, but does he have a right to use it? Here's where Title IX comes in. Erin Buzuvis who teaches at Western New England University School of Law and writes about transgender issues explains federal guidelines issued 2 years ago.
Erin: The Department of Education made clear that we have to respect people's gender identities because gender identity is a component of one's sex for purposes of Title IX.
Martha: While the Department of Education says Title IX protects transgender students from discrimination, most federal courts say it does not, but a few weeks ago for the first time, a federal appeals panel in Virginia ruled in favor of a transgender student who wants to use the boys room at his high school. Erin Buzuvis says the right to bathrooms also should apply to locker rooms.
Erin: The decision gets us one step closer to a legal recognition of transgender students' rights to participate in sports according to their gender identity.
[00:48:00]
Martha:
 

Fierce debates about this continue in many school districts. Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney at the conservative legal network Alliance Defending Freedom says schools have the right to balance the needs of one student against many.

Jeremy: Everybody's privacy interests are paramount in these kinds of settings, and so the school can't just set aside all the girls in their school their privacy interests because they have a transgender boy who wants to use the girls' facilities.
Martha:

 

 

[00:49:00]

That would be a transgender girl, not boy, in a girls' bathroom according to the Department of Education guidelines. Tedesco says many schools would prefer that transgender students change in or use a single unisex bathroom, but the Federal Education Department has said, "That's not sufficient. It's threatened to withhold money from schools that do not let transgender girls into the girls' bathroom or transgender boys into the boys' room." That's a glimpse of the Title IX debate for disputes that will determine how schools treat transathletes off the field. On the field, they face a whole other set of issues. Let's catch up with Justin's game.
Mike: Come out of the dugout like you want to play! Let's go! We jive out! [inaudible 00:49:13] is the pitcher! Come out of the dugout like you want to play! [Dive 00:49:17] to your positions. Let's go, let's go!
Martha: Softball coach Mike Calenda found out that Elise was Justin almost by accident when Julie texted the coach to say she would be picking up her son Justin early one day. The coach told his team about the player's name change and his switch to male pronouns.
Mike: Most of our players, when I inform them that Elise was now going to be called and referred to as Justin, already know and said, "Okay, coach. Let's go."
Male: You're pretty much the last to know.
Mike: Yeah, I was. I was one of the last.
Martha: Then coach gets serious about Justin, the athlete.
Mike:
[00:50:00]
She can be who she wants to be or he can be who he wants to be. It's that I look for players on the team. We treat them all the same. They're all players on [inaudible 00:50:02] softball team.
Male: [Ball 00:50:03]!
Martha: That pretty much reflects the Rhode Island Interscholastic League rules for transgender male athletes like Justin. They can play on any team they choose. Transgender girls, though, must request and be cleared by a panel to determine their eligibility before they can play on a girls' team. One former Ponaganset athlete helped draft the Rhode Island rules.
Male: The most valuable player [inaudible 00:50:29] of Ponaganset High School, Jen Dandrow.
Female: All right, Jen!
Martha:

 

[00:51:00]

Point guard Jennifer Dandrow led the Ponaganset Basketball Team to a state championship in 1995. The same multi-sport athlete returned to the high school 5 years ago as coach Stephen Anderson. 38-year-old Stephen doesn't coach Justin, but they talk a lot. Stephen was the first transperson many students, teachers, and staff at Ponaganset had ever met.
Stephen: Transpeople can play sports. We can coach sports. The stigma associated with us being amoral, immoral freaks is [inaudible 00:51:11]. We're human beings that want a safe space to feel comfortable and to participate just like everybody else.
Martha: Transgender advocates consider Rhode Island an inclusive state. It's one of 15 in the country that do not require transgender high school athletes to take hormones or undergo sex reassignment surgery before they can play on the team they say fits their gender identity. The website Transathlete.com shows 28 states with no or limited policies and 7 that require the full medical changes.
Erin: We've got the complete and opposite ends of the spectrum. There couldn't possibly be more different approaches.
Martha:
[00:52:00]
Law professor Buzuvis says the states that do not allow transgender athletes to play on the team that fits their gender identity are in violation of Title IX. If transgender students can use the bathroom of their choice, she argues, then why not the playing court or field?
Erin: If you have a standard that says you have to allow transgender people to use the facility that matches their gender identity, to me, it's logical to extend that same definition of nondiscrimination to include sports programs.
Martha: Tedesco with the Alliance Defending Freedom says that rationale is not fair.
Jeremy: If we interpret Title IX to allow gender identity as a protected classification, you're basically saying girls have to compete with boys for the girls' sports team. That's not what Title IX is about.
Martha:

 

[00:53:00]

He calls them boys, but these players identify as girls, and in 15 states, they're allowed to play as girls. Let's dig into that point about competitive advantage. Just how much stronger is someone who goes through male versus female puberty? Dr. Joshua Safer heads the Transgender Medicine Program at Boston Medical Center.
Dr. Joshua: Men have about 15% more when we're using crude calculations relative to women of things that are associated with muscle mass.
Martha: During puberty, the doctor says, the average boy develops larger bones, longer limbs, and grows taller than someone going through a typical female puberty.
Dr. Joshua: When a transgender girl, male to female, decides to transition, all those pieces are not necessarily going to be reversed. There's no way we're getting around that reality.
Martha: Keep in mind, he adds, there's already a big range in height and muscle mass among girls and among boys and on many sports teams.
Dr. Joshua: The fact that some of these transgender girls will be larger isn't going to be that relevant and isn't going to change the opportunity to get more girls out on to the field.
Martha: That prediction may spark heated discussions in many high schools. Transgender athletes will compel schools to answer lots of questions, some that fall under Title IX and many that don't. Ponaganset High School has a new gym with an old banner coach Stephen Anderson wants to change. He looks up at his old name, Jennifer Dandrow, in red letters alongside other high point scores. He's asked the school to change it for the name he uses now.
Stephen: I think it's just time. It's my name. I own it. The school has done so much for me, and I'd like to let people know somebody trans was here.
Martha: So far, the school has refused. Stephen scored all those points in basketball as Jennifer. Stephen says maybe the solution is more coed sports with teams based on athlete size and physical or mental strengths.
[00:55:00]
Stephen:
 

These are the conversations that were on the forefront about deconstructing sports and looking at it in a different way so that it reflects society, so when kids are growing up and they get into the workforce, it's everybody working together.

Martha: That would be a whole different era than the early 1970s when pressured to boost women's and girls' opportunities in schools led to the passage of Title IX. Justin isn't counting on the law to smooth his path in life.
Justin: If somebody has a problem with me because of something that I did to hurt them, then I have an issue with that, and I'll feel bad and I'll have to talk to them about it, but if somebody is not okay with the fact that I am trans or how I dress or the sports I play, that's their own problem and that's their own views. I'm not going to change that, so I'm just going to ignore it.
Martha:

 

[00:56:00]

Justin says he's grateful for a boy on the football team who befriended him, for the band instructor who said he could wear a tux instead of a dress to the next performance, and for the friends who've defended him at school. For Justin, all signs of respect that no law can impose or enforce.
Al: That story was from Martha Bebinger of WBUR Boston. Our lead producer for today's show is Rachel de Leon with help from Amy Walters and reporting from [Andy Brown 00:56:14]. Our senior editors this week are Cheryl Devall and Andy Donohue. Our sound design team is the wonder twins, my man, Jay Breezy, Mr. Jim Briggs and Claire "C Note" Mullen. Be sure to check out Israel Story. It's a new podcast from PRX and Tablet Magazine. It's hosted by Mishy Harman and is often called the Israeli This American Life. The show shines a light on the big and little dramas that comprise Israeli life with stories ranging from the heartfelt to the hilarious, from the risqué to the outright bizarre.
 

 

[00:57:00]

Israel Story was named one of the podcasts that best helps us understand the world and has garnered much praise. I particularly enjoyed the episode called Love Syndrome which tells the heart-wrenching tale of a mother who adopts one special needs baby after another. Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcast. Support for Reveal is provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. Reveal is a co-production of the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. I'm Al Letson, and remember, there is always more to the story.
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