The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Editorial: GV students need to show more support for women’s sports

Editorial: GV students need to show more support for womens sports

Support for women’s sporting events has often been dwarfed by that of their male counterparts. At Grand Valley State University there are currently nine men’s and eleven women’s varsity sports active within the athletic department. Soon, women’s wrestling will be added to the athletic department in the fall of 2024.

On Nov. 10 the women’s and men’s basketball seasons will begin, with the GVSU women opening their season at home against the University of Missouri-St. Louis at 1 p.m. in the Fieldhouse Arena. Just last season, the women’s home opener against Tiffin University had nearly 400 fewer fans in attendance compared to the men’s squad when they lost to the University of Indianapolis (1,012 in attendance).

It’s not for a lack of entertainment value, as the Lakers’ women went on to have a 31-3 record and just two regular-season losses in 2022. They also made a run into the Elite Eight of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament. 

Lakers women’s basketball head coach Mike Williams has won over 80% of his games and has his team playing a fast-paced, high-energy, three-point-launching style of basketball that naturally excites fans. He should have another stellar team this season with plenty of key players returning.

The men’s 2022 team went 18-12 and missed the NCAA Tournament. It is no disrespect to now second-year Lakers’ head coach Cornell Mann, who was in his first season and is rebuilding the program back to national prominence. Although the general feeling around the program is excitement about Mann’s squad, they were simply not as good as Williams’ womens team. 

The question begs to be asked: why do students, staff and alumni not support women’s basketball in the same way that they do for men’s?

The GVSU women’s basketball team had an average of 557 fans to the men’s 939 for the 2022 season. The near 400-person differential from the home opener proved to be true for the final game of the season against Ferris State University, where 1,120 people showed up for the women’s game compared to 1,624 for the men’s. Many of these games were played back-to-back on weekends or weekday nights. We are more than disappointed in this difference in viewership. 

We are not going to sit here and tell you the product that each team puts out on the court is the same because it is not. What we will say is that they are different styles of play and the physical component of the game shapes that. You will still see both men and women accomplishing athletic feats or making impressive plays in their own right, and we can acknowledge that difference. 

To treat them as the same and to compare the product in that way does not do either men’s or women’s basketball justice. However, there is no reason one team should receive more hype than the other, especially when the women’s teams might be even more successful than men in particular seasons.

Historically, there has been a large gap in viewership in the crossover between men’s and women’s sports. According to TIME Magazine, “both interest and participation in organized sports is still a predominantly male thing,” however “when any culture makes the effort to level the playing field of opportunity, female participation rises dramatically.” 

The women on these teams are just as dedicated as their male counterparts. They are our classmates, our roommates and our friends. We believe women in sports deserve just as much support as the male teams, especially when they have been performing better. We would like to see the Laker student body make the same effort by showing up and showing out for our women’s sports just as much as they do for the men’s.

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