The Perceived Differences Between Male and Female Athletics

Zoe Hollowell, Georgia College & State University


A study was done to examine how female athletes are perceived by athletes, coaches, and Athletic Trainers at D1, D2, D3, and NAIA universities. When observing the athletic community, research has shown female athletes receive minimal funding, misguided media coverage, and little to no acknowledgement in comparison to males. Participants: Participants consisted of 50 athletes, 6 coaches, and 1 Athletic Trainer who had been in their position at a D1, D2, D3, or NAIA university for at least six months. All participants were given the option at the end of the survey to participate in an interview, 4 agreed. Methods: A mixed-methods research study was done, consisting of a fifteen question survey followed by an optional semi-structured interview. Data from the surveys were collected and analyzed using an independent samples t-test for each question within SPSS statistics, with significance being determined by a P value less than .05. Qualitative data from the interviews were analyzed with thematic methodology, and the number of participants was guided by data saturation. Results: Survey responses demonstrated that female athletes in the D1, D2, D3, and NAIA settings do not feel seen as equals to their male counterparts regarding overall support from their universities (t(5)=.364, p<.05) and are not taken seriously by University staff (t(5)=-3.341, p<.05). Collectively, the interviews revealed the perception among female athletes was unequal representation in the media, insufficient financial allocations, and inadequate care from Athletic Trainers and university faculty. Conclusions: The results of the study show that on average, female athletes in the D1, D2, D3, and NAIA settings receive less funding for their programs, less media coverage, and less acknowledgement from their peers in comparison to their male counterparts. Discussion: While the implementation of Title IX has greatly influenced the athletic community, there are still stereotypical behaviors and perceptions of females within the athletic community.