On Monday night, a group of students released a petition calling for equal distribution of Gold Pass points between men’s and women’s sports. The petition, made on change.org, was created as project for Women and the Body, a class housed within the Women and Gender Studies program. By the time of publication, it had 293 signatures, while shares on Facebook included sentiments saying that it was time for equality and that this was long overdue.
It’s worth noting that the athletic department never received any complaints on this issue prior to the release the petition. The Gold Pass point distribution was built around incentives offered to students for attending revenue-generating sports, replacing a previous season-ticketing system. Point consideration for non-ticketed sports was a marketing bonus of the new point system. The athletic department’s decision to weight some sports higher was economically motivated, not because it aims to value some sports over others—three of the four revenue sports just happen to be men’s sports.
Considering more equitable point distributions is certainly a change worth considering, but such change will require conversation with Athletics, and cannot be affected by petition alone.
The Gold Pass is only in its third year. The bottom of each email from Athletics says to reply to them with questions or comments. They are incredibly accessible, and they strongly encourage communication to help the Gold Pass grow as a viable and fair ticketing system.
Jamie DiLoreto, associate athletics director of Marketing and Fan Ticketing, said that the discrepancy between the total amount of points is that Athletics wants to reward fans who attend the University’s four ticketed sporting events—football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and men’s ice hockey—while providing marketing benefits for the non-revenue generating games.
The challenge Athletics faces in providing these benefits is that the current point system is prone to abuse. While increased check-in opportunities can boost fan support, such an increase also adds to the risk of fraudulent check-ins via the Gold Pass app’s imprecise geolocation system. This could, in the long run, reduce the relative point value of attending individual events in earnest.
Men’s and women’s sports should be treated equitably, and ultimately, this change will only happen when students begin to attend more non-revenue sporting events. This is partially a question of marketing, but more importantly, a change that fans can bring about through concerted efforts to offer female athletes stronger support. It cannot be achieved through check-ins and Gold Pass points alone.
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor