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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Sandra Kay Yow, June 22, 2005. Interview G-0244. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Need for more media attention to women's sports

Yow argues that more media attention would drastically increase the prestige of women's sports. Having outlined remaining challenges for women's sports at the college level earlier in the interview, Yow focuses here on explaining why the role of the media was a central aspect of those obstacles. According to Yow, more media attention and respect would generate greater visibility which would then led to higher expectations and better funding for women's sports.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Sandra Kay Yow, June 22, 2005. Interview G-0244. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

PAMELA GRUNDY:
We're taking a lot of time, and I know you're busy and need to get back, but I did have a couple of more questions that I wanted to ask. I think first, what do you think are the major obstacles that women's basketball and women's sports faces today? What are kind of the challenges you see to overcome in terms of just the broader progress of women's sports beyond the great progress it has made to this point?
SANDRA KAY YOW:
Well, to make greater progress it also could create some difficult situations for us. To make greater progress— I personally believe that it's all tied up in media. I think that's where it is, and we can continue to have the best teams that we can have. We can continue developing women players and getting them to higher levels, have better coaches. I think better coaches all the way down. I still don't think we have across the board the kind of great coaches in every high school, junior high, rec leagues. I don't think every rec league has a league for young girls, so we've got all of that to do. We just need to keep working on developing better women's players. But even now, let's say, we get all that done, we still won't be there if the media doesn't warm up to us a little more, because every once in a while they show a few games. And we have the greatest ACC television package we've ever had, we were on TV a lot last year. It's just that you can't count on it year in and year out, and you start to get a good package, and then maybe you're on ESPN, and then they move you to ESPN 2, and then you move to the next ESPN station that they put on. And then ESPN is just showing men's sports. Media. Just like what about in the paper even today, 2005: we can't get a box score for our women's games. We don't have— when you see who won the ACC games. You'd like to see how many minutes each of their players played, how they shot the ball, their percentage, we don't have a box score. We just have a little line down there that might give the leading scores. I mean there's a box score. Come on. That's the game. So when you see that in the paper, that tells you everything. In their minds we don't even deserve a box score. So when I see something like that, yes. We've written in about it, and other people have written about it, and we still don't have a box score. So the media has to really embrace us in a much bigger way. And, of course, when the media does embrace us in a much bigger way, it brings on a whole new set of challenges when that happens.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
Such as?
SANDRA KAY YOW:
Well, we become so much more visible. So many more people know what is happening with basketball. Then people want to get involved in it, and then everything with men's sports and men's basketball become our challenges. Everything. All of it.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
Right. Money, recruiting.
SANDRA KAY YOW:
Yes. Money, recruiting, everything. People have higher expectations because of more visibility. More people, then more temptation to get in the gray area for recruiting and then need more money. That's just the bad part, so, who knows. I don't know what's best. I wouldn't really want to make that call. I feel my call is to put out the best team that I can possibly put out, and hope that people will enjoy watching their performance, and that we can share it with people because the more people you have I think it raises the standard of play. When the gym is packed and we're playing, that's some of the best women's games. And I think that's why men play consistently at a high level. Every men's team doesn't have packed gyms.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
Right.
SANDRA KAY YOW:
But when the house is packed people playing know a lot is expected of them. And when you know a lot is expected of you you try to rise to the occasion. When there's few people there you don't feel that same adrenalin flow that you feel when it's packed, and you need that to rise to your highest level. Actually, pressure can either help or hurt you, but that's your choice. You can thrive on the pressure and the challenge, and it can bring the best out in you, or you can fear that pressure, and hate it, and sort of choke at the moment you need it the most. A great competitor is at their best when their best is needed, and if you thrive on a challenge, and you get a packed house you're going to want to play your best.