Colleges Fail to Hire Female Coaches, Survey Ranks University of Cincinnati Best School for Women's Sports Leaders

Colleges deserve more than a slap on the wrist for this: Most women's sports teams at major universities do not have female coaches. In fact, according to a just-released ranking, none of the 76 schools surveyed has a female head coach for all women's teams. The Tucker Center at the University of Minnesota and the Alliance of Women Coaches released its first-ever "report card," and only one school, the University of Cincinnati, got an "A" grade for gender inclusivity. During the last two academic years, Cincinnati has the highest amount of women sports leaders — 80 percent — out of schools in the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12 and SEC conferences. Conversely, Oklahoma State was branded with a big fat "F" for only hiring 12.5 percent of female coaches for women's teams.

The schools that rank with "B" grades lag way behind Cincinnati: Texas has about 64 percent of female coaches on women's teams, Miami and Penn State have 60 percent, and UCLA comes in with 57 percent. Colleges with "C" and "D" grades include Ohio State, Louisville, Duke, and Rutgers. Virginia Tech and West Virginia also got slapped with F's for having only 20 and 18 percent, respectively, of women's teams represented by female coaches.

It gets worse. When Title IX was enacted in 1972, female coaches were welcomed with open arms — probably because most male coaches didn't want to be branded as heads of all-female teams (and there was no money in it yet). During Title IX's heyday, more than 90 percent of intercollegiate women's sports teams had female coaches. That number now? A measly 40 percent.

Nicole M. LaVoi, associate director of the University of Minnesota's Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, thinks that the prominence of men as coaches could be detrimental to young female athletes:

"Most college men are coached by men, but less than half of college women in the biggest and most visible programs are coached by a female head coach. Therefore, women are not often visible role models in schools that are most often in the public eye."

USA Today reporter Christine Brennan is more blunt:

"As women's sports have become more popular, and more lucrative, women's head coaching jobs have become more attractive to men. And because the vast majority of athletic directors doing the hiring are male, they often end up picking one of their own."