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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student


Women's participation declining

National trend shows time limits add to problem

Throughout the last decade, womens' sports have made their mark in American society. The United States has witnessed WNBA's introduction in 1997, the 1999 Women's World Cup Championship and the Olympic dominance in softball. \nThe female presence within American sports continues to grow and it seems this trend would follow at all levels, including intramural sports at colleges such as IU.\nBut Assistant Director of Intramural Sports Satoshi Kido said a national trend of falling female intramural participation has occurred during the past few years. At first glance, no feasible cause can be found for such a participation decline with exception of a potential lack of interest.\nWith further analysis, this trend actually has a positive cause. The fall within intramural competition is not caused by a lack of female interest as initial analysis might provide. The reason is less complex, he said.\n"There is simply more choice these days," said Kido. \nThis choice stems from the different forms of recreational athletics that are provided to the average student. \n"There are four programming areas within rec sports; Intramurals is one, Strength and Conditioning is another, Aquatics is one, and Outreach is the fourth," Assistant Director of Special Events Chris Geary said. \nWhen one group is separated into others, participation numbers are guaranteed to fall. \n"Five to 10 years ago, intramurals was the backbone, it was the program of Rec. Sports," Kido said. \nAnother reason for the downward trend is time constraints among potential female intramural athletes. \n"We sometimes ask women why they don't play intramural basketball, and (they say), 'we need to study,'" Geary said, adding that time constraints might be problem. "They don't want to play for five weeks, they just want to play for a day or three or four hours." \nWhile the number of female intramural participants might be decreasing, the number of physical activity participants is increasing. \n"The number of people that use our facilities (and) enroll in our programs is going up," Geary said. "Group exercise is up something like 320 percent."\nThis growth has even caused group exercise leaders to turn people away from overflowed sessions. \nOther than the occasional inconvenience for participants, this is a positive trend for rec sports. Geary said the goal of RecSports is to "Try to get students involved so that they're playing for the rest of their lives,"\nThis drop within female intramural participation has been rampant throughout the country. As for Bloomington, RecSports officials remain confident. \nKido and Downing said that women's participation in intramural sports will remain steady at IU and Geary agreed.\n"It's not by any means that intramurals is going down," Geary said. "It's that women are changing, they're choosing which area they want to get involved with"

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