Every so often, something pops up on my radar to remind me how much further women have to go when it comes to sports. The latest example comes from Joanne C. Gerstner, president of AWSM (Association of Women in Sports Media): the 114-member panel voting on the weekly ranking for the BCS does not include a single woman. AWSM quickly expressed its concerns to the BCS and to Harris, which is administering the poll. According to the BCS, the 300-person pool -- from which Harris randomly selected the participants -- included "a few women." The nominees from each conference were supposed to be former coaches, players, administrators and media.
No recourse for this year but AWSM has been asked to contribute potential panelists for next year; it's not a guarantee of inclusion but at least the pool will start off with a higher potential to include some women panalists. (That's assuming the controversial BCS poll doesn't implode before then.) As Joanne wrote to members: "We need to get involved, so there are no excuses for
future panels. We demand women be represented."
Women certainly are represented in other ways when it comes to college football -- as journalists, administrators, cheerleaders, season ticket holders, merchandise buyers, just to name a few. We shouldn't have to demand that women be represented in the BCS or similar endeavors but we still aren't anywhere close to a time when that might be the case.
The same newsletter included a new PayPal option for renewing dues. Done.
Coda: It was 25 years ago this summer when I had the chance to shadow Atlanta Journal baseball writer Tim Tucker. My first trip into the Braves clubhouse was memorable, to put it mildy. Three years earlier, SI's Melissa Ludtke bravely pushed back when Bowie Kuhn excercised his power as commissioner of baseball and told her she couldn't cover the World Series alongside her male colleagues; the locker room was off limits. She went to court backed by Time Inc. and won in time for the 1978 World Series. In response, Braves owner Ted Turner bought his players bathrobes to wear whenever women were announced. The problem the night I went in: someone decided it would be more fun not to make the announcement. We all survived.