Louisville head coach Rick Pitino watches his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
This weekend marked the beginning of the NCAA basketball season. Unfortunately for many fans of the Louisville Cardinals, the season opening excitement was tainted by recent allegations that the team’s coaches have been using strippers and paid sex as a way to recruit new players—many of whom were still in high school.
In response to the story, Michael Kimmel, director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University and member of Demand Abolition’s Research Advisory Committee, wrote a powerful op-ed challenging the widespread gender inequality in the sports world that that allows this type of behavior to continue.
“The truly scandalous aspect of the whole ordeal is that institutionalized sexism has become such a routine part of the game behind the game. Women are bait; women are rewards — they are not people. That’s the message being conveyed.
Several years ago, I was an expert witness in a case involving four female students at the University of Colorado who had been gang raped by football recruits. The criminal case ended with plea bargains. The civil case, contesting that the university administration knew, or should have known about these rapes, was eventually dismissed after the coach, athletic director, chancellor and president all resigned in disgrace.
In depositions, other coaches discussed the pressure on them to use women’s bodies as a recruiting tool. In one case, boosters paid members of a sorority $1,000 each to be an escort for the weekend and show the recruits a good time. In other cases, recruits would greet their varsity hosts by asking “When do I get laid? I got laid at University X, and I got laid at University Y. If I don’t get laid, I’m not coming here.”
Events like this are remarkably commonplace, and they suggest, often, that male bonding and team camaraderie can be cemented by collective use of women. These activities normalize the buying of sex, as if it’s nothing more than a party.”
Read the article in its entirety at PRI’s The World, and, if you’re active on social media, share it with your followers to increase awareness about this extremely important topic.
To hear more from Kimmel, listen to this new podcast with author and activist, Marianne Schnall, discussing the 2016 election. Kimmel provides his insights on why it is so important for men to support women candidates and the differences in how men and women view the idea of electing a woman to the Oval Office.