View Full Version : Gripe with Whitten over college women

September 17th, 2003, 11:56 AM
Phillip Whitten is trying to say that there were as much womens programs in swimming than men's programs in the 1970's and early 1980's. I disagree for one, many women that are just a few years older than me didn't swim in college. For starters top swimmers like Laurie Val in her early 50's didn't swim in colllege. There were a lot less programs for women than the male swimmers and only a few women got scholorships to swim in college. Also, I swam at the Community College level and a year before I started they just added 100 yard swims for women in back, fly and breast. They the California JR's still don't have the 200 yard distances but the women voted to keep the 50 distances instead. The male swimmers at the community college had two practices a day during their prime workout season while the women had one when I swam back in the 1970's. The male swimmers had state while the women's program added state after I left. I understand Mr Whitten being upset about elminating men's programs but that doesn't excuse him for changing history and stating that women had as many programs as the men did by 1981.

September 17th, 2003, 12:22 PM
Where does he say this, Cynthia? I don't remember reading this. All I remember him saying is that Title IX was supposed to add women's programs, not take away men's programs to achieve equality.

September 17th, 2003, 03:20 PM
He states that the report fails to consider women sports already in existed by 1981 under the old AIAW system. These sports might be things like volleyball and softball. It still doesn't mean swimming was equal by 1981. But it might have been more equal compared to 1971.

September 17th, 2003, 04:06 PM
No, I mean WHERE did you read this? I don't mean for you to summarize what you think he said. I want to read what he said. I don't remember reading this in SWIM or on SwimInfo. I would like to read for myself what Phil said, to see if maybe he is being unclear.


Gareth Eckley
September 17th, 2003, 04:17 PM
I don't know the details on this whole issue, but i did read this article on swim info and this could be the source for Cinc310's info.

The link is: http://www.swiminfo.com/lane9/news/5866.asp

Might be just my reading of it, but Phil Whitten did not seem to voice any opinions. The article seems to be a straight reporting of what others have said.

September 17th, 2003, 04:17 PM
College sports council sues GAO over inaccurate Title IX report in swim info,Sept 16. He was stating that the report just include those under NCAA's for women instead of the older AIAW and there were 900 programs in different sports by 1983 for women.

Rob Copeland
September 17th, 2003, 05:26 PM

Thanks for pointing out what may be the article in question. However, I didnít see any quotes or opinions from Phil Whitten in any of the text of the Swiminfo.com article.

Cindy, do you have another source for your allegations against Mr. Whitten?

As a college student in the 70ís I had the opportunity to walk-on to an average mid-western Division 1 swim team and while I was never a great swimmer, I was able to compete and make a number of life long friends. College swimming was also a springboard for me getting into masters swimming.

I readily admit that in the mid-70ís this opportunity was not equal for men and women. However, I have met very few people who feel that menís programs today should pay a penalty for past inequalities. I assume, most people would prefer the opportunities we had in the 70ís should still be available today, for men and women alike. This is not the case, at least for menís swimming. My son, currently a high school junior and a much better swimmer then I ever was in high school, has little to no chance of swimming on a Division 1 team (with or without a scholarship).

Now we canít turn back the clock and give Laura Val a college scholarship, she seems to be doing OK without it. But we can work to make our sport better for men and women alike, by fighting to keep existing programs, reopening those programs that have been cut, and looking for opportunities to expand into new areas. This is not only true for college swimming, but age group, high school and Masters.

September 17th, 2003, 05:35 PM
I don't think guys should pay for the past. But what the male swimmers today face isn't as worst as the women faced in the past. Donna Devonna couldn't even get a scholorship. But Aaron Perisol didn't have problems even with the cutback with the men programs. Should your son swim in college, it depends upon where he goes to school at. It depends upon what state he wants to go to school at. Arizona doesn't have as much opportunites as nearby California at the college level for more moderate level swimmers.

Rob Copeland
September 17th, 2003, 06:04 PM
My concern is not as much for the Aaron Peirsolís, swimming a 1:39 200 backstrokes, as it is for the middle of the pack to top end high school swimmer who loves the sport and wants to be able continue swimming in college. For most of these kids scholarships are not the primary concern. Many are just looking to participate as non-scholarship student athletes.

To Cynthiaís comment ďwhat the male swimmers today face isn't as worst as the women faced in the past.Ē Should it be?

I would rather hope that we would be able to consistently improve both menís and womenís programs. This is not the case. Womenís swimming opportunities increase while menís decreases. I would love to see growth in both, not just one. I would assume if a Donna Devonna, Laura Val, June Krauser, or any of hundreds of other great swimming women were in college today they would be provide an opportunity to compete and many would have scholarships.

September 17th, 2003, 06:55 PM
Well, we talk about it before. For good swimmers that don't make senior nationals and even more average swimmers as teenagers such as I was depends upon different factors. First, there's the football and basketball programs preferred over swimming and track and field. How many of these programs should remain? The communter colleges where the student body works full time and is more likely to have students over 30 doesn't have the problem as much as the more traditonal colleges that swimmers attend which are more elite and are into the traditonal big three:Football, Basketball, and Baseball. Two, large states such as California have more opportunities for different level swimmers than small states such as Maine. There's no way to eqaulized this since large states are going to have a lot more colleges. Males attend college slightly less than do females and in some minority groups such as blacks, women hold a big majority going to college. Even with many good paying blue collar jobs going overseas, males can still earn more than a female without a college degree. So, Colleges think less men students;therefore, the sports programs should be geared toward the women.l

September 18th, 2003, 10:14 AM
OK Cynthia, I read the article you were referring to. Sorry I didn't know it was there before. I've been playing catch-up since I got back from convention, and haven't checked in at SwimInfo.com for awhile.

The article doesn't actually say it was written by Phil Whitten, by the way. It doesn't have a byline that I could see. It looks to me like it may have been lifted straight from one of the wire services. And as Rob pointed out, the article doesn't take a position one way or another. It just reports the facts of the case.

I think you may have missed the point of the article, which was simply that decisions about the impact of budgets and Title IX are being based on bad numbers. That's it.

No one disputes the fact that women got a raw deal in the past, in terms of opportunity to compete at the collegiate level. But that doesn't mean it's right to cut men's programs today in order to comply with Title IX. Title IX was supposed to ADD women's programs, not cut men's programs. I am not familiar with statistics for all college teams, but I am familiar with the Southeastern Conference, and there are actually more women's programs in the SEC than there are men's. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, South Carolina, and Tennessee have both men's and women's programs, but Arkansas has only a women's program. (Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt have neither men's or women's programs.)

I believe from what I've read from Phil in SWIM Magazine that he is interested in preserving collegiate swimming, period. Men's and women's programs. He wants to counter the budgetary and Title IX excuses that college athletic directors are using to cut programs. You need accurate counts of the number of programs in order to make effective arguments, and the suit cited in the Sept. 16 article says that the count is NOT accurate. That's the only thing I get out of that article.

September 18th, 2003, 11:33 AM
I was jumping to conclusins. And I know that the tide has turn the other way. Some of it has to do with title IX and some of it has to do with our sport becoming more female in the younger age group swimming.

Matt S
September 18th, 2003, 05:38 PM

I have four words for you and your swimmin' son, "Division II or III." In the early 80's I walked on to a Div III program after only 3 years of competitive swimming in high school. Judging by what I'm seeing right now, I could do the same today if I was 18 and had the same times. These non-scholarship teams are the real gems of college athletics, throw-backs to when "student-athlete" actually fit the dictionary definition. I had a chance to participate in what was the most serious, intense swimming program of my life, AND still have it fit into getting a good education. As a group, the people on the college swim team did BETTER academically than the general student population. In my class there were 4 of us who swam all 4 years on the team; each and every one of us graduated with some form of academic distinction (cum laude or better). Talk to most scholarship athletes in a Div I program, and they will tell you about a committment to athletics that felt more like a job than an enjoyable activity, and the competition for their time that made getting an education a challenge.

The other little secret to small school athletics is that in some ways they are SAFER from budget cuts than Div I scholarship programs. Think about it. At my school, we had a football team, but it was not the AD's cash cow, and it had no greater claim to the college's mission than any of the other sports. Ergo, no "arms race" for lavish funding of "revenue sports," and no constant threat of cuts to feed that monster. We could never imagine competing with, oh say, Univ of Illinois or UCLA, but hey, in a couple of weeks I actually get to participate in a varsity vs. alumni swim meet.

How do you find these programs? Simple, keep looking until you do. I have avoided mentioning my school (BTW, Lake Forest College, just north of Chicago with excellent transportation links to the city, excellent academics, www.lfc.edu, the coach Alec Webster [webster@hermes.lfc.edu] would be delighted to chat with any swimmers wanting to look at the program) because it is not at all unique. There are plenty of schools out there, just add to your criteria for a school "must have Div I/II/III swim program." I did. I could have gone to several schools that were solid academically, small liberal arts colleges but no swim team, or I could have gone to an academically shakey school with a swim team. I simply insisted on looking until I found one that had all those things, and we could make work with our family finances. BTW, if you like the idea of a Service Academy education that is paid for, consider the Coast Guard Academy and the Merchant Marine Academy, which last time I checked, still had Div III swimming.

So, my advice is don't give up, but consider programs other than the Univ of Auburn or Michigan. Training with future Olympians is nice, but not the only kind of college swimming out there.


Rob Copeland
September 18th, 2003, 05:45 PM

Excellent advice on Division II and III opportunities.

But, swimming in Chicago in February!! Were you crazy! Getting out of morning practice and walking to your first class, in 30 below weather, with your hair frozen. Brings back the memories, doesnít it? It sure does for me.;)

September 18th, 2003, 06:13 PM
Just to add to Matt's post -- Division III includes some very large, well-known schools, such as NYU (45,000 students), University of Chicago, Emory and most campuses of the State University of New York. So looking for a Division III school, with all the advantages Matt describes, doesn't necessarily mean being limited to small colleges.

September 19th, 2003, 10:25 PM
Matt S, in Calfiornia we had the community colleges and the Cal-state schools while are considered C and B academy are less into the big three sports because most of the students work full time and more students over 30 attend them. They have opportunites in many sports. And if a person can swallow their pride about going to a less elite school academy, then they can do both sports and school. Actually in my opinion some of the best teachers I had were at JC and the cal-state teachers do all the teaching. There are no teaching assistants at them. Victor Davis Hanson who writes on miltary matters and Greek history use to teach at Cal-State Frenso. He is now the author of Mexifornia, a book about how the changining Mexican immirgation into California around Frenso has effective the community.