Coaches are speaking out against the NCAA’s recommendation to ban women’s basketball teams from training with men because it “undermines the spirit of Title IX and gender equity.” Tennessee’s Pat Summitt spoke to Sports Illustrated in support of training with male players:
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt has been one of the biggest figures in the development of women’s basketball and was one of the first coaches to use male practice players. She isn’t happy with the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics’ recommendation to ban them.
“I don’t want them to go. They’ve been instrumental in helping women’s basketball players improve,’’ the Hall of Fame coach said. “I know I was one of the first to use males as practice players. I grew up playing against my older brothers and they made me a better player. We have a better game because of the use of practice players. I think it would be a huge mistake to lose that.’’
“A lot of people have indicated that it would help some of the teams that are not in the top-20, but I totally disagree with that,’’ Summitt said. “At any level, you benefit from the challenge day-in and day-out of going against these males that are there to benefit the teams that they are working with. Our guys check their egos before they get on the court; they genuinely want to help us. They’ve been a very important part of the women’s game. It’s not like everyone can’t do it, perhaps some coaches don’t want to take the time to do it, but it is well worth it.’’