Your source for CHS news


Your source for CHS news


Your source for CHS news


Men’s, women’s athletes perceive difference in recognition, promotion

Luke Miller
Senior and basketball player Jake Griffin (second from left) gets ready to compete with his teammates in a CHS home game. Griffin said the crowd helps to motivate the team to perform their best.

Playing for a varsity team and representing your community and school, especially at a competitive school such as this one, is a dream for many student athletes, regardless of gender. However, some female student athletes, such as Keaton Gatlin, women’s basketball player and junior, said they feel like the recognition and support at this school for women’s sports from and the student body is discouraging.  

“I think (female athletes are) recognized poorly (as individuals and as an organization),” she said. “We don’t get as much social media content and just recognition from the school that we have games or when we play, or scores of games.”

Gatlin’s thoughts reflect a larger trend.  The 2022 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) post-season averaged 456,000 viewers while the WNBA’s men’s counterpart, the National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs averaged 3.71 million viewers.

Athletics Director Jim Inskeep pushed back on Gatlin’s assessment and said he works hard to make sure men’s and women’s sports are recognized equally throughout the department. However, he said, promotion is a different issue.

“I do not feel that (men’s and women’s sports) are recognized differently,” Inskeep said. “Our process is set up where the recognition is the same. Where it becomes different is how outside entities recognize and promote from there, whether it’s social media or attendance at games; those are things a little out of our control.” 

Inskeep said because the athletics department is self-funded through ticket sales, it can impact the promotion of men’s and women’s sports.

“Yes, (this school does promote men’s and women’s sports differently), and I would say obviously there are varying degrees of promotion that goes on across the board mainly because some of things also deal with (the athletics department being) a self-funded department, so ticket sales are a huge part of being able to provide for all of our student athlete programs, but we are pretty cognizant of the number of tweets and those types of things as it relates to our male and female sports teams as well.” 

Gatlin said the disparity in promotion to come to women’s games, especially through game themes, is frustrating. 

“The boys always get (promoted and recognized) for (the) student section on Instagram, they always post for their games and like to show up and they have themes,” she said. “We don’t have themes.” 

But, Inskeep said certain aspects of games, such as themes, are out of the athletics department’s control. Those, he said, are conducted through Greyhound Nation, which is this school’s student section. What the athletics department can control, he said, are the basic needs of each team.

“When there is a uniform change that comes up, they have the same amount of uniforms, they both get an alternate color, road uniforms and all those things,” Inskeep said. “We are very in tune with keeping those similar, and neither program goes with any needs unfulfilled when they request.” 

In other areas, Gatlin said another frustration was that hardly anyone comes to support the women’s basketball team compared to the men’s team. She said having fans in the stands would help to motivate the players.

“We have no one (that comes to our games),” Gatlin said. “The boys have pretty much the entire (city of) Carmel behind them. When it comes to close games, if there (are) more people (attending), we would have more of a drive to play better, and the energy of the floor would be different.” 

Jake Griffin, men’s basketball player and senior said crowd energy and support definitely benefits how he plays basketball.

“I know it affects different people in different ways, but I feel like it’s a lot more exciting for me when I play in front of a lot of people and makes just playing basketball a lot more fun,” he said. “I feel like I play a lot better when there’s more people there. In addition to the crowd energy, I feel like both negative and positive energy help me play better and are just something that I really enjoy when I play basketball.”

However, attendance is a complicated issue. Gatlin acknowledged that the women’s overall record of 4-19 added to the lack of support and recognition, but she said it’s a two-sided coin.

“Being a low-winning team this year, it’s just hard because we don’t have anyone so then there almost is no motivation, because we don’t (have) that energy coming from any (of the students),” she said. 

Griffin said he thinks if the men’s basketball team also had a losing record, it would see a similar decrease in game attendance.

Inskeep added that recognition of a team based on its record is found at every level of basketball and other sports, regardless of gender.

“That’s no different at any level of competition whether you look at high school, college or professional, and sometimes you kind of get the fringe fan that might come out if a team is doing particularly well in basketball, you are always battling with people’s time in the winter because people have different things (happening), their families, and scheduling around which does impact attendance levels,” he said. “Saturday night versus Friday night, those are also big things because Friday night is the optimal night for attendance, historically speaking.” 

Still, Gatlin said if there was more awareness and support for the women’s basketball team, they would have better game attendance.

She said, “If we had more people that cared about women’s sports, we would have a better chance of more people coming (to the games).” 

Leave a Comment
Donate to HiLite
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All HiLite Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *