Summary of “Women in Intercollegiate Sport-A Longitudinal Study”

In recent years, women have made significant advancement in their careers as society has increasingly appreciated women’s ability to perform at levels equal to men. However, disparities still exists in their representation in various socioeconomic activities. In their 2012 report, Acosta and Carpenter present findings of women representation in the NCAA-affiliated intercollegiate sport to highlight the changes over the last 35 years. The report covers aspects such as women’s participation NCAA programs and representation in coaching, assistant coaching, administrative, and athletic training positions. The authors highlight changes over the period comparing the participation before and after the date of compliance with Title IX. This paper presents a summary of the report by Acosta and Carpenter to highlight the transformation in women representation in intercollegiate sport over the years.

A notable development in women’s participation in intercollegiate sport has been the increasing trend in the number of women’s teams. As Acosta and Carpenter report, 2012 recorded the highest number of women’s teams in history with 9274 women’s teams participating in NCAA programs (3). Such a number translated to a mean of 8.73 women’s teams per school, which, compared to the average of 2.5 teams per school recorded in 1970 before the enactment of Title IX, indicates that title IX may have encouraged increased participation of women in intercollegiate sport (Acosta and Carpenter 4). Title IX, a federal law, was enacted in 1972 and sought to end gender-based discrimination in all education programs that received federal funds by 1978. Although restricted only to gender discrimination, Title IX covers widespread nature of programs including sports, psychology, and financial aid.

Of the women teams, basketball has topped the rankings consistently as the most popular sport over the years followed by volleyball (Acosta and Carpenter 11). However, other sports have gained popularity over the years with soccer gaining the most popularity. For instance, while soccer was ranked at position 20 with only 2.8 percent of schools offering women’s soccer programs in 1977, in 2012, the sport was ranked at position 3 with 96.4 of schools offering women soccer programs (Acosta and Carpenter 11). Cross-country was the second sport with marked improvement in women’s participation, which improved from a percentage of 29.4 in 1977 to a percentage of 93.0 in 2012 (Acosta and Carpenter 11). Concerning divisions, division 1 had the highest number of women teams, followed by division 3 with division 2 trailing.

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