The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the Editor: Support women’s athletics

Owen Barbato
Members of the women’s volleyball team practicing on Wednesday Nov. 8 in preparation for their matches at the Midwest Conference tournament.

The National College Athletics Association (NCAA) spent much of 2023 celebrating Title IX. Its success is simultaneously debatable (e.g., 2021 “March Madness”) and irrefutable (e.g., greatly expanded opportunities across women’s athletics.) As such, it remains a work in progress. 

Women’s athletics at Grinnell has never been stronger. Over the last four to five years, women’s golf, volleyball, soccer and softball teams have all qualified more than once for their respective NCAA Division III tournaments (I apologize if I’ve missed others). This year alone, coaches of women’s volleyball, women’s soccer and women’s basketball have (or will) joined our men’s basketball coach in reaching the 100 win plateau at Grinnell. The tenure and continuity of our coaching yield consistency in our performance, and that is a cause for celebration. 

Despite this success, a disparity continues in the number of spectators attending men’s versus women’s games. While many encircle Springer Field to watch men’s soccer, fewer are on hand for women’s games. There’s a buzz that fills the air from fans at Pioneer Park for baseball, while the softball crowd emits only a murmur. Most troubling, to me, is that over 300 loud, proud fans can fill Darby for men’s basketball, while we’re lucky to hold onto 50 fans for the women’s game which, this year, occurs immediately after the men’s contest. For some women’s games, the opponent’s fans outnumber our own. 

These are your peers, attending the same classes, eating in the same Dining Hall and living next door.

— Chris Zug `93

Our women athletes work just as hard in the classroom and on the course, court, field, pitch, pool or track, as the men. These are your peers, attending the same classes, eating in the same Dining Hall and living next door. This isn’t just a student issue — faculty, staff and the Grinnell community all need to step up, but it begins with student support. Come for the men’s game and stay for the women’s! This spring, head to the baseball game, but pop over to softball for a few innings, too! 

It’s not easy to study at Grinnell and represent it in competition, but our student athletes do. I played four years of golf and can count on one hand the number of non-family spectators I experienced. All Grinnell College athletes share a strong sense of GC PRIDE. Do you? 

Chris Zug `93 

Grinnell, Iowa

Letters to the editor can be submitted through email at, or mailed to the College at box #5886. 

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About the Contributor
Owen Barbato, Staff Photographer
Owen is a third-year psychology and political science major from South Pasadena, California. When he's not photographing for the paper, Owen enjoys taking nighttime and landscape photos. In his free time, Owen can be found trying to learn guitar and overanalyzing music.
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