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Mill’s view of Geno Auriemma and UCONN Women’s Basketball

April 14, 2011

In December of 2010, the UCONN women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma made somewhat controversial comments regarding his teams’ quest to break the record of most consecutive wins in college basketball. A record that was originally set by John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins who won 88 straight games from 1971-1974. One of the main things that sparked Auriemma’s comments is the division and inequality seen in men and women’s basketball.

Auriemma stated:

“I just know there wouldn’t be this many people in the room if we were chasing a woman’s record,” the Connecticut coach said Sunday near the end of his postgame news conference. “The reason everybody is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men’s record, and everybody is all up in arms about it.”

He then went on to say:

“All the women are happy as hell and they can’t wait to come in here and ask questions. All the guys that loved women’s basketball are all excited, and all the miserable bastards that follow men’s basketball and don’t want us to break the record are all here because they’re pissed,” Auriemma said. “That’s just the way it is.”


The UCONN women went on to break the record winning 89 straight games before losing. Auriemma’s controversial comments pushed me to look back at our debate in class about the difference in women and men’s sports. In this case we see that although it may not be true, Auriemma felt that his team was not receiving the same respect as men would have received if they were breaking the record. Is it because they are women? Why is it that they are not receiving the respect they deserve?

Looking into Mill’s The Subjection of Women it is interesting to consider how Mill may consider Auriemma’s comments. On page 679 of Modern Political Thought, Mill states “any woman, who succeeds in an open profession, proves by that very fact she is qualified for it.” Women’s and Men’s basketball is separated into two and therefore it is hard to compare the records between the two different genders. I personally would think that Mill would consider the women’s streak just as legitimate as the men’s streak which they defeated. As stated in his quote, these UCONN women succeeded in an open profession and therefore are just as qualified as men. Mill would realize where Auriemma is coming from and I think he would support the statements made.

Later on in the reading Mill states, “It is by no means established that the brain of a woman is smaller than that of a man. If it is inferred merely, because a woman’s bodily frame, generally is of less dimension than a man’s, this criterion would lead to strange consequences.” Is it reasonable to consider that maybe Auriemma’s comments were accurate? Unfortunately, it seems that many times people think of women’s basketball as less because women are less physical and have smaller body builds than men. In my opinion, based off of this quote Mill would continue to support the UCONN women by retaining the idea that just because a woman is smaller doesn’t mean she is not as smart or less worthy of appreciation when accomplishing something great.

Sources:

Wootton, David. Modern Political Thought: Readings from Machiavelli to Nietzsche.Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2008.

Images:

Geno Auriemma:

John Wooden and Bill Walton:

4 Comments
  1. Andrew Colman permalink
    April 14, 2011 2:07 PM

    After reading this article, I believe that Mill would agree that the University of Conneticut’s Women’s basketball win streak is legitimate and therefore should be recognized the same as if a mens team had did it. Although it is sad to believe, Coach Aureimma’s comments are blatantly true. A significant amount of men are perturbed with the fact that these women are able to accomplish a feat that at once only the most tough and dedicated of men were able to accomplish. Most likely agreeing with Mill, I believe that these women should be given the credit they deserve. Just because, they “have smaller body frames” and in the past Womens basketball was not recognized as a legitimate profession, clearly the UCONN women’s basketball team proved that they are legitimate at their profession and therefore are qualified for it.

  2. Bobby Marshall permalink
    April 15, 2011 4:18 PM

    I agree with the article that Mill would most certainly agree with the idea that Uconn’s woman team’s record would be legitimate. As the article above says, Mill makes multiple references that woman are equal to men, there are no sort of differences in brain size/skills or such. Therefore from this point made, Mill would most certainly agree that their win streak was legitimate. As i do agree with Mill, one aspect that i have to disagree with Mill on is sports. Though men and woman are equal in intelligence and capability, one thing that must be taken into account especially in sports in the physical attributes that each has. Men are much more physically large and stronger than woman are. Though it makes sense that men are stronger and therefore must play stronger competition and woman against weaker as they are inherently weaker, i do not personally think that the records are truly capable of comparing. Merely off the fact that at the end of the day i find it hard to believe a comparison of both sports saying they are very similar, as the characteristics and gameplay are very different.

  3. jdeclaire permalink
    April 15, 2011 6:12 PM

    I certainly think that Mill would agree with the fact that the women from UConn in this situation were not given the proper amount of respect. As you stated in the post, Mill writes about many times how women are essentially put on a different level. As Andrew stated above, this is a sad truth in our society. Especially in sports, women are completely overshadowed by men in many aspect of our life. It has almost always been that way, and it does not seem like it will ever change. Women and men will never be compared on the same level, and therefore women and men will never receive the same respect and recognition in either case. In addition, as Bobby pointed out, it may not even reasonable to compare women and men because there are so many differences between the two.

  4. April 15, 2011 9:11 PM

    After reading about this post, I do agree that Mill would consider UCONN’s record breaking streak just as impressive as the 88 game win streak by the UCLA men’s team. I also however do agree with Coach Auriemma when he states “I just know there wouldn’t be this many people in the room if we were chasing a woman’s record.” In today’s society, men’s and women’s sports are definitely weighed differently. No matter how impressive the UCONN team played and how many games they won, there are still people out there who do not consider their streak better then UCLA’s. I believe that these two streaks should not be compared to each other. I find it hard to compare them because they are both so different. Both streaks are equally impressive and they are the greatest in their respective sports. Nobody should consider UCONN’s streak less impressive because they aren’t a mens team. They practice, work, and play just as hard as the men and their streak should recieve as much recognition as any other streak, regardless of whether or not its men or women.

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