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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Should male practice players be allowed to practice with the women’s team?

    Women lose if men don’t practice

    Members of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics:

    Remember when Ozzy Osbourne attempted to sing “”Take Me Out to the Ball Game”” at a Chicago Cubs game in August 2003 and butchered it? It was wrong and should never have been allowed.

    If you have your way, all male practice players across the nation who donate their time with women’s college sports teams will be wiped away. Just like Ozzy’s mumbling and ruining of a baseball tradition, this, too, is pain to my ears.

    You claim that the use of male practice players “”violates the spirit of gender equity and Title IX.”” Come on, get real, people. You think that non-starters are losing practice time to the men, but that’s not the case at all. Just look at the Arizona women’s basketball team.

    In some cases with the injury-prone Arizona team, the practice players are vital to a full practice, “”especially late in the year when a lot of the girls are banged up and can’t play anyway,”” practice player D.J. Heltsley said.

    “”There’s been days where there are only eight (healthy) girls, so they can’t even play five-on-five without us.””

    You say that practicing with men is unfair to the women because the men are more athletic, faster, and bigger. Duh. That’s the point. It challenges the women. You want them to get better, don’t you?

    Even professional teams, including the WNBA’s Storm, regularly practice against men. It’s just smart basketball.

    You would also be taking from the men who use this time to keep in shape and stay in the game they love. You’d be taking from all the players who will spend the off-season working one-on-one with Arizona’s guards to make them better.

    But what if the men hurt the women? you ask. For 15 years now, Arizona has used male practice players and the only thing that’s ever been hurt are the players’ feelings when they think about losing these guys. They like playing with them. They like the challenge. And if they win in practice, they like saying that they beat the guys.

    Women don’t need men to get better

    We always hear about the male-female competition. We hear the arguments that men are bigger and stronger than women.

    Sometimes we even hear that men are smarter than women, but no tests have me convinced either way. But in a sport like basketball, do women really need men to get better?

    When I first heard about the women’s basketball team using men in their practices, I was appalled. And then, when I learned the reasoning that using male athletes would help the women to “”get better,”” I still wasn’t convinced.

    I found the whole idea of using men in practice to be not only demeaning to women, but also unprofessional and nonsensical.

    With the current rule, the NCAA is basically sending a message to its women’s college basketball players that they need men to be better basketball players.

    If the NCAA passes the bill that would ban men from participating in women’s practices, it can make women’s college basketball programs nationwide stronger and will create more opportunity for women to play competitively.

    UA coach Joan Bonvicini said that having the men around during practices and scrimmages helps her team not only to get better, but also to stay healthy and well-rested.

    To counter the team’s necessity for extra practice players last season, the NCAA should not just ban men from participating in women’s practices, but should also allow teams to expand their roster size to allow more women to play in college.

    Both of Arizona’s basketball teams have 14 players, and both could benefit from added players.

    Male practice players might boost their morale and help the team to gain confidence in preparation for games, but since the practice men can’t compete, they can do nothing to help Arizona’s win-loss column.

    Conversely, it could also be hurting the women’s morale because it does take away from team-building experience, as the NCAA’s report states.

    The NCAA must put a ban on this ridiculous rule. There should be a clear distinction between men’s and women’s basketball, and with the current rule, there isn’t.

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