By Storm Blitz
Being in my final semester of grad school, applying and interviewing for jobs has taken up a lot of my time. During interviews, when asked where I see myself in 5 years, I give a typical answer about being Assistant Director of Compliance. Then, I go further and tell the employer that eventually I want to be an Athletic Director of a NCAA Division I institution. This is always met with wide eyes and looks of surprise.
Why is it such a surprise that I have this goal in mind? Maybe it is because the statistics are not in my favor. Currently there are only 6 female athletic directors out of 124 FBS schools (the college teams we hear about on ESPN all the time). As of 2012, there are 1.4 female administrators per athletic department, pretty much limiting women to the role of Senior Women Administrator (SWA). The SWA position was developed after the emergence of Title IX.
It is great that athletic departments make sure to have at least one woman in higher-level administration, but why limit ourselves to this one role? The SWA role even has its problems, as some SWAs do not have the same responsibilities as a male would in their position.
The change is not easy. Individuals hold the role of Athletic Director for a long time. We need these jobs to become open for a woman to have a chance. But when they are open, are women being overlooked for these positions?
There is still such a long way to go for women in higher administration roles in college athletics. Women are holding positions in athletic departments, many positions, but they are not in the top seat, in charge of the decision-making. Very few are breaking the glass ceiling.
Still, fortunately we have women to look up to as those hoping to break gender barriers work on such actions.
As for me moving forward in my career? I will take newly appointed Athletic Director of Rutgers Julie Hermann’s advice:
“Be authentically you, and never back down.”