On Monday night, a petition to make women’s sports worth the same amount of Gold Pass points as men’s spread across Boston College students’ Facebook newsfeeds. This petition began as part of a group project assigned for Sharlene Hesse-Biber’s class, Women and the Body. The group did not contact BC Athletics prior to beginning this petition. As of Wednesday night, the petition had nearly 300 signatures.
“We started with just unequal representation in the media, and then we tried to concentrate on the Gold Pass,” Angela Jin, one of the group’s members and CSOM ’17, said.
The group of seven, including Jin; Abigail Kordell, LSOE ’17; Chloe Ewanouski, Annie Keller, Casey Mahalik, all MCAS ’18; Arantxa Medina, MCAS ’17; and Anna Seigel, MCAS ’19, decided to focus their efforts on the athletic department due to BC students’ active interest in athletics, Keller said.
“I also think that BC idolizes sports so much,” Jin said. “You see all of this attention in men’s hockey and football, but there is not nearly as much press or hype about women’s sports.”
Jin explained how the focus of the class is about how women’s bodies are received in all aspects of life. The project that they are currently working on is an activist project to fight gender inequality on campus.
The group decided to create a petition because it would be something tangible that they could present to the administration and the athletic department in an attempt to equalize the point values of men’s and women’s games, Jin said.
To promote their petition, the group sent the link to friends and posted it on their Facebook pages.
“The bottom line is that it should be equal,” Keller said. “You shouldn’t value anybody over another, especially when there is legislation that you cannot value men’s sports over women’s.”
“If it means the end result is getting more students to support our games, that is why the Gold Pass was created.”
-Jamie DiLoreto, associate athletics director in charge of Marketing and Fan Development
The most surprising part, Keller said, was the fact that people who they did not know were commenting on the petition, talking about the importance of this movement.
The group spoke to a member of the women’s hockey team who thought that if the team was given a better game time and their games were worth more points, then more students would attend the games.
For the group, it is the principle of the Gold Pass that bothers them the most.
“It’s not like the Gold Pass is maliciously doing this to be unequal,” Keller said. “But it’s perpetuating and adapting to the inequality norm.”
In response to this criticism, Jamie DiLoreto, associate athletics director in charge of Marketing and Fan Development, has expressed a willingness to speak with this group of students and talk about their ideas for how to improve the Gold Pass, BC’s relatively new ticketing system in only its third year of existence.
“If it means the end result is getting more students to support our games, that is why the Gold Pass was created,” DiLoreto said Wednesday afternoon.
DiLoreto clarified that the discrepancy between the total amount of points is structured around ticketed and non-ticketed events. BC 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 incentives to attend the non-ticketed events. Each of these four sports receives points for all of their games which occur during the Academic Year.
After that, each non-ticketed event (this semester, that included men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s ice hockey, field hockey, and volleyball) worked with the BC Athletics External Operations Department to deem five to seven games per sport as worthy of point allocation. According to DiLoreto, a big reason not every game a non-ticketed sport plays centers on the amount of staff Athletics has. The department, however, has expressed an interest to increase the marketing of the non-ticketed sports, especially women’s hockey, given the team’s immense success over the last two years.
Prior to implementation of the Gold Pass, DiLoreto noted that there was no incentive for students to attend non-ticketed events outside of personal interest or convenience. With the Gold Pass, students who were not interested now have a reason to accumulate points for sports that were not previously given incentives.
Nevertheless, the onus lies on the students to actually go to those games. On average, 4,519 fans attend a BC men’s hockey game, based on the six games the Eagles have played this season. Meanwhile, the average attendance of BC women’s ice hockey games this season has been 355 fans in nine games, and much of that is based on estimation given the fact that there is no exact swipe-in system at Conte Forum for those events.
“That’s where we want to see results,” DiLoreto said. “If we do offer those incentives, we want to ensure that we’re getting the support and attendance for it.”
Featured Screenshot courtesy change.org