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Sports Coverage Is Out of Whack

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 I picked up the sports section of the Buffalo News today and saw the three-column headline in the center of the page: “Bulls get the heave-ho.”

My immediate thought was that the University at Buffalo basketball team lost Wednesday in the Mid-American Conference Tournament?

I thought they weren’t playing until tonight.

Sure enough, there was a one-column story to the right of it with the headline “UB faces formidable foe in Kent.”

The Bulls who lost Wednesday were the UB women, the ones playing tonight are the UB men.

Having a UB women’s team nicknamed the Bulls is a little comically confusing.

But that’s not the only thing I’m confused about.  I’m often confused when it comes to coverage of women’s basketball in the area. The headlines often don’t say if it was the college men or the college women who won or lost games.

At the risk of being politically-incorrect and losing a few fans, I also will admit to being a little confused about why women’s college basketball gets so much coverage here. The coverage can be a little funny when stories include the line about the crowd of 400 or so. That’s hardly a “crowd.”

Of course, Title IX doesn’t apply to newspapers. Newspapers aren’t required by the federal government to cover men’s and women’s college sports equally or out of whack with interest.

In these days of declining circulation and revenue, you would think newspapers would be driven by interest and give their sports readers what they want to read.

The one statistic that is notably absent from the game story of UB’s loss to Central Michigan was the attendance in Cleveland.

I’m guessing it wasn’t too high because TV footage of women’s games usually shows the stands to be pretty empty and certainly much less filled than they are for men’s games. According to the UB website, no women’s home game this season drew more than 800 people and several were in the 230-500 range.

If you look at today’s newspaper, you might think we live in Connecticut or Tennessee, where women’s basketball is huge.

I’m not saying that the UB women’s game didn’t deserve to be covered. I’m just thinking two front page stories about it seemed a bit much on a page that undoubtedly shouted to sports readers “get me to the USA Today sports section.”

Of the five stories on the front page of the Buffalo News sports section, three of them are about women’s or girls basketball.

Two of them are on the UB women’s game, including a strong column about senior Kourtney Brown, the UB player who was the MAC women’s basketball Player of the Year.

After reading it, I almost wished I had gone to see her play some time in the last four years.

But I didn’t and nor did most of Western New York. The area just isn’t into women’s college ball that much.

The story didn’t say where Brown is from. I was guessing she isn’t from around here before I checked on the UB website. She is from Ohio. Only two members on the UB roster are from around here – one from Olean and another from Rochester.

I bring that up because the third story on the sports front page about women’s basketball was about local high school girls.

High school girls deserve the same coverage as high school boys because they are local kids with parents who are just as proud of their daughters playing basketball as they are about local sons who play basketball here. And many of their games draw decent-sized attendance.

I’m sure that defenders of the women’s college game probably are thinking that their attendance will eventually increase locally if the newspaper gives them more coverage.

But the paper has extensively covered women’s college sports for years and attendance hasn’t ballooned.

In these struggling financial times, I would think the newspaper would be less concerned about being politically-correct and more concerned about giving readers better coverage of the national and local sports they likely are more interested in reading about.

pergament@buffnews.com

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1 response to "Sports Coverage Is Out of Whack"

  1. Mark says:

    I disagree with Alan here. I DO believe that womens basketball deserves NO COVERAGE.

    Buffalo News doesn’t get it. The editor is a JOKE.

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