Women’s sports attendance rates does not reflect their effort, accomplishments

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Coaches and student athletes in women’s sports are dedicated to playing and training hard despite low attendance rates.

According to box scores on Dixie State University’s athletics website for women’s basketball and softball, attendance is lower than men’s basketball and baseball.

Websites for other Utah universities such as Brigham Young University and Southern Utah University share similar results, as well as schools outside of Utah, including Arizona State University and University of California Los Angeles. 

Further research shows not all Utah colleges and universities have men’s soccer, though attendance at women’s soccer games in Utah rarely reach 300 individuals.

JD Gustin, women’s basketball head coach, said he thinks low attendance at women’s sports is cultural. In his experience, women’s basketball in southern Utah is looked down upon in comparison to men’s basketball and boys basketball in high schools.

“I’ve heard members of the media in this area flat say ‘Hey, [men’s] basketball’s better, and [women’s] basketball is horrible to watch and I won’t watch it’,” Gustin said. “That’s fine; that’s totally their opinion.”

The general public perception of women’s sports is that women are weak and not as strong or skilled in sports as men, said women’s soccer forward Kamie Hunter, a sophomore nursing major from Hooper.

“Watching [women] soccer to men’s soccer is [different]; we’re more technical sided, we’re not as strong and fast, but we are more technical,” Hunter said. “I feel like we work around the ball more than just strength and speed.”

Student athletes involved in women’s sports are just as hard working and dedicated as their male counterparts whether it’s during training or studying for classes, said Gustin and Hunter.

 “They’re extremely tough,” softball head coach Randy Simkins said. “They work extremely hard. In the weight room, in the classroom, [and] on the field.”

Simkins said the softball staff are trying to use softball and the successes and trials to teach these women about life, so when they graduate they will be productive members of society whether they become mothers or are successful in their chosen careers.

“Every player since 2013, every senior that’s finished their senior year here has graduated,” Simkins said.

 Steve Johnson, associate athletic director of media relations, said the proof in their relevance is in the examples of the women’s sports team’s achievements and each student athlete’s successes available on the athletic departments website.

“What would benefit women’s sports, is if they were covered equally in the media, whether it’s on the national level, the regional level [or] the local level,”Johnson said.

Simkins, Gustin, Hunter and Johnson all agree increasing coverage and publicity of women’s sports would help attendance at games and they are worth going to because of the time and effort the women dedicate to their sport.

“People should go [to games] because we put a lot of heart into it,” Hunter said. “It kind of does suck looking up after we’ve put in all that work, and no one is really there to watch it.

Students, faculty and the community who attend games and advertise them, show support for these diligent women and boost their confidence. Schedules for each women’s sport are available on the Dixie Athletics website and students can attend games for free with their student ID.