Golf and Title IX

Title IX affects all schools, specifically those with sports teams.  There must be an equal number of sports for women and men.  Sometimes, this is challenging because if the school wants to add a new team for one gender, a team has to be added for the other gender too.  Using golf as an example, let’s say the school starts a men’s golf team and recruits a bunch of guys to play.  What happens if they can’t find enough women to make a team?  No guys team 🙁  Here are some other perspectives:

Dropped Varsity Lineup

In the article, Dropped Varsity Lineup, but No Longer Grumbling, by Bill Pennington, a writer for the New York Times, the elimination of dozens of college sports under Title IX is explicated. The most common result of a dropped varsity sport is the formation of a corresponding club sport. In most cases, club sport participants get the opportunity to participate in competition very similar to that of varsity play. For example, the archery club at James Madison University in Virginia “won a national championship last season at the same level of competition it had competed at as a varsity squad” (Pennington, p.2). Additionally, others believe that players receive a fuller experience from club sports. The competition is a little less demanding, which allows athletes to loosen up and enjoy themselves. David Skophammer, a freshman Yale water polo player, summed up the club experience congruently. He stated, “You are compromising a little quality but getting a lot more back from the overall experience” (Pennington, p.1). Skophammer forfeited the opportunity to play in the NCAA institutions in California in order to join Yale’s water polo club team.

Sharp Debate Over Title IX

In the article, Sharp Debate Over Title IX, by Elia Powers, a journalist for Inside Higher ED, the main discrepancy was over the model survey released in 2005 by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights concerning Title IX. “The survey was seen as controversial because it is an easier way for colleges to show compliance with prong three, as it is called, of Title IX’s participation requirement and thus not have a ratio of female to male athletes similar to that of the student body” (Powers, p.1). Jocelyn Samuels, vice president for education and employment at the National Women’s Law Center, believed that the OCR’s orders were too lenient, allowing for colleges to pass with compliance, without changing their ways, which still secured past discrimination toward women. She supported the view that the OCR’s survey permitted colleges to evade their responsibilities to underrepresented athletes. Samuels also brought up that there was unnecessary pressure placed on female athletes to participate in the opportunities presented. However, she was rebutted by Jennifer Braceras, a commissioner, lawyer, and freelance writer, and Danciel Cohen, a lawyer who studied the implications of the 2005 clarification. Braceras argued that, overall, colleges are accommodating the interests of female athletes and continuing to provide more options. Cohen continued with the notion of available options, by stating that “the intention of the federal law was to accommodate current students, not predict or measure future interest” (Powers, p.2). Additionally, commissioners asserted that the method of which survey participation was not correctly imposed. Cohen responded by denoting that OCR made sure that the colleges would administer the survey in a way to capture the largest audience.

But I’m an Athlete

In April, the members and coach of the women’s volleyball team at Quinnipiac University, in Connecticut, sued the university for its plan to cut women’s volleyball on the grounds that it violated Title IX. The presiding judge issued an injunction, which ordered Quinnipiac to keep the women’s volleyball team. However, the plaintiffs remained bitter by the universities’ decision to promote its competitive cheerleading squad to varsity status. Robin Sparks, the aforementioned coach, argued that the purpose of Title IX was to ensure that women have opportunities beyond cheerleading. Nancy Hogshead Makar, legal advisor for the Women’s Sports Foundation, stated that cheerleading could only be considered a sport when treated with the same intensity as the other varsity sports. These requirement included such notions as the same focus on competition, criteria for winning/losing, school support with uniforms, and head-to-head competition to name a few. However, the requirements for a sport in the eyes of the OCR were much broader. One of the only criteria was that competition should be the chief objective, arguably a component in almost any physical activity. Even the National Collegiate Cheerleading Association doesn’t recognize cheerleading as a sport! As a result, lack of institutional support lessens the chances of competitive cheerleading being considered as a sport. Those universities, who have added it, did so, purely because of convenience and available capital. For Morgan State, an educational institution which already had a highly active cheering squad, it seemed like a smart move. In that atmosphere, cheerleading fit right in with their intercollegiate athletic program, and Floyd Kerr, the athletic director at Morgan, supported its quick assimilation to the fullest.

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Golf & Social Responsibility

In today’s world, there are many marketing practices that are socially irresponsible.  Two of these questionable practices are excessive markups and the sale of inferior, harmful, and unsafe products.  In order to cleanse the market place, businesses can do many things.  Two easy ways to help improve marketing for both the business and the consumer are consumer-oriented marketing and innovative.

The first of the irresponsible marketing practices is excessive markups.  This occurs when a business produces a product for cheap, and then jacks up the price to a very high level to make extra profit.  Golf clubs are a great example of this questionable practice.  I bought the Cleveland TA7 golf irons that I currently use.  Those clubs were $699.99, just for the irons.  Then, of course, you need a driver, woods, a putter, golf bag, and other accessories.  These particular clubs are made of steel (as most are), which can be produced relatively cheap.  They’re only worth about $100, but because of the fact that golf companies want to make a lot of money more quickly, they set extremely high prices.

The second major irresponsible marketing practice is creating products that are not good.  These useless products can be found everywhere.  The best example is the typical “dollar store” item.  Every one of those cheap toys breaks the first time they are used, but because the toys were only a dollar, they will not be replaced.  Some products may not work well, or may not last long, even though they sell at a high price.  This is not ethical or socially responsible.

Consumer-oriented marketing is the philosophy that holds that businesses should view and organize its marketing activities from the consumer’s point of view.  This means that the businesses need to analyze the market to find out what the consumers need, and then figure out the best way to satisfy those needs.  By looking at the market though the eyes of the consumer, the buyer-seller relationship can be improved so that both parties benefit.

Innovative marketing is similar to consumer-oriented marketing in that both ways deal with improving the relationship between the buyer and the seller, and making businesses more effective and efficient.  Innovative marketing is the philosophy that businesses should constantly be searching for ways to better their products and the marketing process itself.  For example, Apple Corporation has continually developed new, longer-lasting, higher-quality products over the past few years.  First, the iPod came out, then the iPod Mini, then the iPod Shuffle.  Currently, the iPod Mini is no longer in production because it was found to break very easily.  Taking the iPod Mini off the market is socially and ethically responsible because they will break too easily, not providing the services that Apple boasts of its products.

Although there have been many questionable marketing practices in the past, the future seems bright.  The sponsor of this post and a great example of striving to change the look of business is a company owned by Micheal Banish, specializing in pest control beaverton or.  He serves as proof that there are many businesses using ethical practices, such as innovative marketing and consumer-oriented marketing that are prevalent and continue to better the world we live in.  And, he’s just one example of a business making a difference.

 

Proper Golf Club Fitting

Proper fitting of golf clubs is a key element of scoring well out on the course, and although it can be expensive, it’s well worth the price.  Fitting clubs correctly is based on four different factors:

  • Gender
  • Height
  • Skill level
  • Swing speed

We’re not talking about Title IX here; we list gender because there are standard (universal) club lengths for men and women.  This element has been pre-defined by the PGA and represents a standard across the country.

The 2nd factor, height, comes into play because the length of the golf club needs to be appropriate for the size of the individual.  Club length can differ by more than 3 inches, which significantly impacts the plane the club is swung on.

Factor 3, the skill level of the golfer / handicap (if available) is used to determine the appropriate type of clubs and the right shaft flex. Regarding the club type, the golf industry has separated clubs into two categories – “player” clubs and game improvement clubs. Player clubs are the least forgiving, as they’re meant to allow the golfer to work the ball in a fade or a draw more easily. In amateur hands, player clubs will make the golfer worse because any mishit will be further accentuated by the irons. Game improvement clubs are used for exactly that, people who are not playing at a high level and want to improve their ability. These clubs are much more forgiving, allowing amateurs to strike the ball and keep it in play even if their swing isn’t perfect. Shaft flex is the 2nd part of the equation. The stronger individual is going to need a shaft that is more firm, while the weaker person should use a softer shaft.  Shaft flex types are denoted by letters, where R is regular, S is stiff, and X is extra stiff.  There are two others, A and L, which represent “senior” and “ladies”, however, they are not as common.  The shafts can also vary by composition, from graphite to steel.

The last factor need for proper club fitting is swing speed.  This aids in determining which shaft flex to choose.  The flex of the golf club needs to match the individual’s swing speed, or the game becomes much more challenging.  For example, if a person with a 110 mph swing speed uses a regular, graphite shaft, the club will lag very far behind their hands as the approach the strike zone.  This makes the timing of the swing much more challenging.  The swing starts, and as the golfer’s wrist cocks and he starts his descent, the shaft bends with the pressure created.  A fast swing would be better served with a stiffer shaft to best take advantage of the power.  A slow swing on the other hand can be greatly improved with a regular or softer shaft simply because it will bend more easily, allowing added ball flight (and distance), despite the weaker swing and lower speed.

My buddy Phil is the best at water damage restoration boston ma and he golfs like a pro because he had his clubs properly fitted when he got them.  The improvement in your game can be significant when you use the right tools out on the course.  Good luck out there!