DSU’s stride to support women athletes

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Dixie State University’s athletics are compliant with Title IX, but DSU women athletes often have smaller crowds at most of their events.

For the sixth-straight year, DSU men’s basketball was ranked in the top six nationally for game attendance. DSU men’s basketball games averaged 2,190 fans per home game in the 2015-16 season, while DSU women’s basketball was unranked in attendance.

DSU had a total of 142 female student-athletes for eight sports and 220 male student-athletes (107 athletes for football) for six sports.

Although DSU’s male-to-female athlete ratio is not in compliance with Title IX, athletic director Jason Boothe said DSU has continual progress toward adding more sports, which makes DSU compliant through participation. Swimming was added to DSU women’s sports this year, and Boothe said DSU’s move to the RMAC will allow women’s track, women’s sand volleyball, and women’s lacrosse to be added to the Trailblazer roster.

DSU advertises all of its sporting events on social media, on posters around campus, or through email announcements. 

“I feel like there is some room for improvement [with advertising],” said Jaydra Thurber, a sophomore biology major from Temecula, California. “Last season, games were advertised on social media and in the newsletter. Keeping the student body in the loop got us great support for games.”

The new Trailblazer app gives students points for attending games, and they can later use these points to earn Trailblazer swag. DSU recently made all of the women’s games worth 25 points more than the men’s to try and gain more support for our women athletes.

Janessa Bassett, a junior biology major from Stansbury Park, said she notices students attending more men’s sporting events than women’s, even with the Trailblazer app point increase.

“[The softball team] gets a lot less student support than baseball,” Bassett said. “We mainly have parents, family and boosters that come and support at our games. I feel like baseball has all of those things along with more of the student body.”

Volleyball head coach Robyn Felder said the D-Crew did a wonderful job of bringing students to games, but she would like to see more promotion for every sport. She doesn’t believe the problem is a matter of promoting women’s sports more than men’s sports. Felder said trying to raise awareness for every sport, no matter how big or small, takes a lot of man power, and DSU doesn’t have the funding like bigger schools.  

“I’ve been around athletics long enough to know there are primary sports and secondary sports that make up an athletic program,” Felder said. “While all sports are important, the football and basketball programs tend to generate the most income for the school and help financially support the athletic program.”

Felder said by adding more “Game Day” signs throughout campus and using social media for every sport, women’s athletics could feel more supported.