One of the first times I got excited to be a part of RamNation was at a Men’s Basketball game. My friends and I were dressed head-to-toe in black and gold, the student section was packed, tickets were sold out and everyone cheered along to the roaring sound of The Peppas.
When the game ended, everyone filed out of the Siegel Center. The bleachers were bare and Women’s Basketball came out for its game to an empty stadium.
The inequalities in advertising for Men’s and Women’s Basketball are so severe, I’m not even sure if anyone knew the women’s game followed the men’s.
The first email about the Men’s Basketball 2018-2019 season went out Aug. 1. I have yet to receive an email about Women’s Basketball.
As a university that takes great pride in its diversity and its sports, it is disappointing to see such vast gender inequality.
While Men’s Basketball is statistically more profitable than women’s, VCU athletics makes no effort to change that discrepancy. It seems as though VCU only promotes diversity and equality when it is profitable.
Title IX states any school receiving federal funds cannot discriminate based on sex. Based on that, women’s teams should receive just as much advertising as men’s teams.
During the fall sports season, VCU Athletics sent out emails about Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer, Baseball and Field Hockey. However, for every email I received about the upcoming Men’s Basketball season, there were no emails about Women’s Basketball.
The inequalities in advertising are not only limited to students’ inboxes.
Chili’s Grill and Bar at VCU is the official watch party location for all Men’s Basketball away games, but there is no watch party location for Women’s Basketball away games.
On social media, Men’s Basketball released a professional video on Twitter introducing the team’s alternates while for Women’s Basketball, there were only pictures with stats for each new player.
While Title IX does not mandate equal dollars be spent on men’s and women’s sports, it does require the teams receive equitable “treatment” and “benefits” — that is obviously not the case with VCU basketball. These women work incredibly hard to represent our university. If VCU cannot treat the men’s and women’s teams equally, it needs to change its advertising strategy.
It is hypocritical for VCU to tout its diversity and inclusivity, then blatantly favor Men’s Basketball over Women’s. VCU Athletics needs to make more of an effort to promote Women’s Basketball, not only because Title IX mandates it, but because equality is what VCU is supposed to stand for.