College Athletes Identify Trouble Spots in Women’s Basketball

San Antonio — Many women’s basketball players say their collegiate experience has left much to be desired.

The athletes’ feelings about how they were recruited, which college they ultimately landed at, and the ethics of their coaches were included in a broad-based 2010 NCAA survey of nearly 20,000 college athletes across all sports and divisions.

The findings include some dispiriting news for those involved in women’s basketball. Many women’s basketball players singled out college coaches as a source of their dissatisfaction: More than a third of the Division I players surveyed said they had been contacted too often during the recruiting process, and just 39 percent—the lowest percentage across all sports—of players in that division said they “strongly agreed” that they could trust their coach.

In Division II women’s basketball, only a third of the athletes surveyed said they “strongly agreed” that their head coach defined success “not just by winning, but by winning fairly.”

The survey also included information on the students’ time commitment to athletics. NCAA rules allow athletes to spend 20 hours each week on their sport, but by including “voluntary” activities as well as official practices and games, the weekly tallies in many sports far exceeded that limit.

Football players in Division I-A, as they did in a previous survey, from 2006, still lead the pack: Those athletes reported spending more than 43 hours each week on athletics. Division I baseball and basketball players also devoted significant time to their sport, with 42 and 39 hours, respectively. (In Division III, by comparison, athletes reported spending at least 30 hours each week on their sport when in season.)

Many women’s basketball players were not pleased with the amount of time—nearly 38 hours in Division I—spent on their sport, particularly when it came to being with coaches. More than a third said they would have preferred spending less time with their head coach (only 7 percent said they would have wanted more time). Across all three divisions, women’s basketball players said they would have preferred spending less time on athletics.

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