Monday, February 16, 2009


Lower women’s standards


Reader poll

Should women's basketball lower the baskets to nine feet instead of 10?

  • Yes 26% 130 votes
  • No 70% 349 votes
  • Undecided 3% 17 votes

496 total votes.

Oklahoma, the No. 2 women’s basketball team in the nation, coached by marquee attraction Sherri Coale, made its biennial appearance in Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday night, and one night later, nobody could be heard talking about it in public. Courtney Paris, one of women’s college basketball’s biggest stars, came and went without a murmur about her.

The announced crowd for the game was 4,332, not a bad number, but not worthy of a visit from the No. 2 team in the nation and the sport’s most popular coach. Many of the fans backed Oklahoma.

Yet again, news of the men’s basketball team’s latest victory, a gutsy one in Manhattan, dominated bar talk.

Women’s basketball — the sport in general, not just Kansas University’s perennial lower-division Big 12 program — can’t seem to work its way into the conversation in Lawrence.

I’m here to help.

The sport needs to be overhauled with major rules changes that would create an entirely new look, a far more exciting game. Lower the hoop from 10 feet to nine feet, shorten the court from 94 feet to 80 feet and cut back the halves to 15 minutes from 20 minutes. Men are taller, jump higher and run faster than women, so as long as women play the same game by the same rules, they always will come up short when compared. So invent a new game that better suits the bodies of the athletes who play it.

You think maybe the women’s basketball team would lead Channel 6 sportscasts more often if Aishah Sutherland were throwing down 360-degree slam dunks? Of course it would. Shooting percentages would soar. Fast breaks would be faster. The game would be played above the rim.

Face it, the best way to grow women’s basketball is to shrink it.

I would say it’s amazing nobody has come up with the idea yet, but the truth is many probably have, they just were afraid to express it. Political correctness in the sports world is such that nobody spends much time talking about how to improve women’s basketball for fear of being labeled a sexist pig.

So critics shut up and let their absence from games do their talking for them.

Yet, in real-world professions that require discipline and physically taxing duties, different standards are required from women than from men.

The minimum scores on the Tanner Scale for Physical Fitness used by the military and police forces are different for men and women. It is so because of realism, not sexism.

It’s time for everybody to open his or her mind and let in the idea of lowering the hoops to raise the excitement.

Here’s a challenge for every basketball fan in Lawrence. Purchase a ticket for the Iowa State-Kansas basketball game Feb. 22 at noon. Wear pink to the game, which has been designated “Pink Zone Women’s Basketball Game.” The promotion is designed to raise awareness for breast cancer, and Kansas Athletics will donate $1 for every fan in attendance to support breast cancer treatment and research.

While at the game, ask yourself the following question and answer it honestly: Would you enjoy the game more if the hoops were a foot closer to the floor?


RockChalkJayBlog 9 years, 4 months ago

Part of the reason no one was talking about the KU-OU game was that it wasn't even promoted .

JuliansWright 9 years, 4 months ago

Agree, yet it would never happen, women would cry about this as it's pretty much an admission that women are not equal to men.

johnsont1 9 years, 4 months ago

Wow. Keegan. First of all, didn't edit your article. I hope the typo in the third-to-last paragraph didn't go into the paper. Who edits these? Oh yeah, you do.

Second of all, not a bad idea, except that the reason that people don't talk about KU women's basketball is not because the goals are the same height as men's hoops, it is because the women's team's success pales in comparison to our men's team.

Third, and last. The title of your article will probably not be well-liked by any woman that reads this article, or any guy that has any sense of respect for women. "Lower women's standards?" Sounds like it was written in the 1940s.

Omegatron 9 years, 4 months ago

"I’m here to help.

The sport needs to be overhauled with major rules changes that would create an entirely new look, a far more exciting game. Lower the hoop from 10 feet to nine feet, shorten the court from 94 feet to 80 feet and cut back the halves to 15 minutes from 20 minutes. Men are taller, jump higher and run faster than women, so as long as women play the same game by the same rules, they always will come up short when compared. So invent a new game that better suits the bodies of the athletes who play it."

Interesting... Except... Most people don't have access to adjustable goals except in a major facility. Parks and school yards are all fixed at ten.

NCAA will laugh at you if you recommend putting several straight out of bounds lines 14 feet on the floor.

Coaches will probably laugh at you since you are effectively telling them to throw out their entire playbook (via shortening the court by 14 feet) and game strategy (by reducing the game by ten minutes).

But I doubt you'd get a foot into the door since I'm a man and I even find your article sexist. Can't imagine what a lady thinks, or want to know...

Omegatron 9 years, 4 months ago

"NCAA will laugh at you if you recommend putting several straight out of bounds lines 14 feet on the floor."

Misprint. Meant to say 3 feet and few inches... 4 in the morning.

Omegatron 9 years, 4 months ago

Now that I think about it. It'll be 7 feet on each end and x-number of feet on the sides. cause it's 94 by 50. you'd have to make it 80 by...

Enough of this...

Machawk 9 years, 4 months ago

All you have to do is look at the KSU girls program and see how they recruit and build around in-state talent, that for whatever reason KU coaches past and present ignored.

Brad Avery 9 years, 4 months ago

Women's basketball does well when you put a decent product on the floor. The one rule change I would suggest is eliminating the shot clock. Part of the beauty of the women's game is that they play together as a team. With the exception of a Bill Self-coached team, most men's teams play an upgraded version of YMCA pickup ball. Women, with some exceptions, don't have the ability to effectively create their own shots. They depend on their teammates to set them up for a shot. The shot clock distracts from that wonderful part of the game because women players tend to rush their shot at the end of 30 seconds and it often results in a bad shot. Eliminate the shot clock and let them run their offenses.

FlaHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

The woman BB game at KU is just ugly. LIttle localtalent ... actually little talent period!, Coach Bonnie is over her head.and drowning the program while she collects her $500K a year. If they want funding like men's game than they better win like the men do!

easyfive 9 years, 4 months ago

I would go and ask M. Lee and J.Case to take over the womens program!!!
I think Bill would help if they had any questions.
Mike might be the winnest Jayhawk ever. I don't know if he want to do a girls program or not. But a half mill yr. i could get over it real fast.

Carter Patterson 9 years, 4 months ago

I think baseball needs the same changes as well.

6 innings, 4 outs, and only 8 players on the field. That would quicken the game with fewer inning changes, 6 less outs, more runs scored and the managers would have to put more defensive strategies into the game. We may want to shorten the base paths by 2 feet to eliminate the routine ground out.

Other than those small changes I'm a traditionalist.

KEITHMILES05 9 years, 4 months ago

Bonnie needs to step this program up big time or she's gone. I'd give her through next year.

kcjayhwks 9 years, 4 months ago

I would like to answer Mr. Keegan's final question: No, no I would not enjoy that game cause those playing are still the same. This is just as dumb as those stupid-@ss WNBA commercials that had the players saing "Not as fast, not as exciting, not as competitive....we wouldn't stay these things, would you?". Changing the game's parameters doesn't increase size, speed, athleticism, strength, and skill.

5DecadeHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

LakeShawnee 9 years, 4 months ago

For all of those who want to rid KU of Coach Henrickson, I ask "who would you replace her with?"

So far, I would say that Coach Henrickson has had to suffer through a number of untimely injuries, but others insist that she is a terrible recruiter and lacks a common, basic understanding of the X's and O's. So, for all of those who want to replace her, which Coach out there is a better recruiter, program builder, X's & O's person for our women's hoops program? Remember, at any given time there could be 6 out of the 12 teams in the Big-12 ranked in the Top-25 so choose wisely, otherwise, I know you'll want to replace them come four-year's time....

Oh, and when you make your choice, please don't cop out and say "anybody."

kranny 9 years, 4 months ago

Don't agree with the article. The women play with a smaller ball already and I dare say that the talent level and level of athleticism will evolve with time. To me the only reason for lowering the goal would be for more dunking, otherwise the game is the same. More and more women will be able to dunk in the future as women's bball gains more in the way of AAU circuit type situations and more women take up the game at an earlier age. Leave it the same. I'll bet the women would say the same thing.

RockChalkJayBlog 9 years, 4 months ago

A less sexist way to help the game is to reduce the number of Division 1 schools with women's basketball.

This makes more of the "good" players go to the "bigger" schools. By increasing the talent per team in Division 1, you make it a "better" game.

35TangoTango 9 years, 4 months ago

Once again, I'm reminded of that popular quote, "If I ever need a brain transplant, give me a sportswriter's brain because I want one that's never been used".

Even this author knows that it's not practical to build separate floors and arenas for WBB. This is just a chance for a testosterone-laden slap at the women's game. He's of course also rating all WBB attendance by that in Lawrence. We see the figures elsewhere in the Big 12 (including my home of Norman) and know better. The last thing we want is for the women's game to go the direction of the men's game. Actually, it's pretty disappointing for a sportswriter in the home of Naismith and Allen to rate the quality and popularity of the men's game just in terms of "throwing one down".

However, I have to admit that his idea in some ways parallels what I've been thinking for some time - and that's that the men's physical abilities have just outgrown the court. The men have moved the 3 point line back this year, not to make it harder to shoot, but in an effort to unclog the floor for drives to the basket. So let's not stop there. For the men, let's lengthen and widen the floor, and raise the basket to 12 feet. Then we can see men's basketball as it was meant to be played, and in the tradition that made Kansas a legend.

aroundandabout 9 years, 4 months ago

I have to agree with 35 Tango Tango! What I will add to that (as an avid KU men's and women's bb fan for years), is the program needs reviving.

The AD missed a grand opportunity when he did not retain Lynette Woodard as the head coach. Maybe we would have the figures that Tango refers to in Norman/Big 12 if we had the Paris Twins. KU missed any opportunity to get them when Woodard was replaced. Few people know that the Paris Twins mom and Lynette Woodard are childhood friends and came to at least one of the games (because I was there and got their autograph) during their junior year in high school. Woodard was recruiting them and they obviously took the time during their holiday/basketball break to come see a KU game. I remember seeing them talking with the AD prior to the game. I've always wondered "what if..." since then, especially after the game on Saturday when after the game I met about 30 people who were there cheering for OU...the Paris Twins family from Kansas City. How did we miss that boat?

Omegatron 9 years, 4 months ago

Starting to wonder if the LJW wants to lower women’s standards in order to match the standards they apply to them.

It's obvious that they have lower standards for the women based on the way they designed this site

Everything from schedule to roster to next game announcements, it obvious that the women's game is an after thought.

Sorry, we should not lower women standards but raise LJWorld's...

Vroo 9 years, 4 months ago

You've got it backwards. Excessive dunking ruins the mens game.

I think we should raise the hoop 6 inches for college men and 12 inches for NBA. Leave it where it is for women.

The shot clock is an essential part of the game. You could tweak the time to take off some pressure to shoot quickly (or increase the pressure the other way) but I don't see a need to do that.

Changing the size of the court is just silly.

JayViking 9 years, 4 months ago

I hate to be the bearer of bad news for those that enjoy watching women's basketball, but it's boring.


truefan 9 years, 4 months ago

I think all of the ideas about changing the game of basketball for women is rediculous. First of all, the size of the athletes is growing and there are even a few women out there that can and do dunk the ball. Second, the game would become a total joke, for instance, what happened when we reduced the size of the field and changed the rules for arena football?...exactly it sucks and gets laughed at. Third, our girls will gain support if they keep improving. No, they will never sell out an entire season like the men do, but I can honestly see them packing the house for big games if they start getting ranked regularly. It's up to the coaches to recruit better teams AND win, and it is up to the fans to support them.

We don't need to reduce the number of D1 schools with women's basketball either. The talent gap is shrinking with women's basketball just like it started to with men's basketball a few years ago when we started seeing "mid-majors" beating the big dogs regularly. Right now UConn and Tennessee are like the Kentucky and UCLA of years past and they will continue to win titles, but the amount of talent will rise with the recent increase in exposure to the women's game and the yearly title will start to drift to other schools.

As far as missing an opportunity by getting rid of we didn't. The twins weren't going to come here just like the Brown Brothers didn't come to KU for football. Our program was lightyears behind the rest of the Big XII because of poor recruiting. Bonnie is starting to pull better recruits every year without having to be old family friends to get them to the game. All it will take is a breakout year and we'll start competing from then on. If anyone can get women's basketball up to par it's her.

walkdog262 9 years, 4 months ago

Is there anything more hilarious than somebody (johnsont1) who rips a newspaper for having "a typo in the third-to-last paragraph" and then doesn't even write complete sentences or use proper grammar himself? How sad do you have to be, anyway, to go around scanning newspaper articles for mistakes? Get a life. Sad, sad, sad. And no, johnsont1, I'm sure you're usually a perceptive genius, but I don't know of any newspaper where staff members edit their own articles. That would be worthy of a rip, but it's not the case here, I am certain. p.s. Fire the coach!

Gordon Penny 9 years, 4 months ago

Maybe we should lower the standards for online sports editors... Oh wait, the standards for that cannot get much lower, as evidenced by this and many previous articles by this, ahem, writer.

theno1kufan 9 years, 4 months ago

who cares about womens bball anyways? i just turned on ut and duke 2 of the perennial powerhouses in bball and they cant even make a stinking layup!!! its laughable thats why no one wants to watch, harsh yes, sexist no

Omegatron 9 years, 4 months ago

"who cares about womens bball anyways? i just turned on ut and duke 2 of the perennial powerhouses in bball and they cant even make a stinking layup!!! its laughable thats why no one wants to watch, harsh yes, sexist no"

Don't watch much basketball do ya?

Since you missed it.,132302

After Texas Tech botched as many as 15 layups, Knight scoured the stands near the bench and invited a youngster to join a team huddle. Knight asked the boy whether he could make layups. The boy said he could. “I was just tired of having 18- or 21-year-olds miss layups that a 12-year-old could hit, so I brought a 12-year-old in to let them know that he could hit layups,” Knight said. “He’s 12, and he can hit layups, so why can’t you when you’re 18 to 21?”

theno1kufan 9 years, 4 months ago

so what thats one game its craphouse texas tech and even they had a bad game im talking about womens bball in general

johnsont1 9 years, 4 months ago

Walkdog262 - my comment is not the one going into the paper. He corrected the mistake on the website, which is all I could ask for. I really could care less, though.

I was not scanning newspaper articles for mistakes. Instead I was trying to scan this one for a consistent point, and did not find one.

First, he says there should have been more fans at the game because we were playing against a great team. Then he says that the team which we were playing had a big fan base based on their success. Finally, he says that women's basketball should lower the hoops. Does he mean that Kansas women's basketball (and other average programs) should lower the hoops to spark interest in women's basketball in Lawrence, or women's basketball in general should do so. If he means the latter, then maybe we should lower standards for men's basketball as well, because teams like Haskell do not receive anywhere near the support that Kansas does.

There might be other reasons to lower the goals in women's college basketball. I think he strikes a point when he compares the physical abilities of men and women and concludes that rules could be changed for that reason alone. However, the fact that the fan base is much lower in women's college basketball compared to men's is a problem that will not be relieved by lowering the standards for women. Maybe raising the budget and advertising more is a better idea.

Maybe he should add more typos to distract from the contemtuous nature of his article.

Omegatron 9 years, 4 months ago

"so what thats one game its craphouse texas tech and even they had a bad game im talking about womens bball in general"

I concede.

You're right, men hit layups every game to perfection, and women miss every time.

LauriH 9 years, 4 months ago

I am a woman and I agree that watching women's games is not nearly as "exciting" as men's games. That being said, there are some extremely fabulous women athletes that are impressive to say the least when you watch them play. Sometimes they execute plays better than the men. Unfortunately for them, they are shorter and not as strong so "thunder dunks" and "360's" are not in the game plan. If that is the only reason you watch the game, then women's bball is definitely not what you want to watch. Changing the height of the goal and the size of the court will not entirely change the way women play though.

Just accept the fact that women are different than men and they're going to play the game differently as well. I would venture to guess that 99.9% of men are glad that we're different anyway. :o)

champs528808 9 years, 4 months ago

Only 4,332 people were at the game because we don't WIN!! If we win, people will come...
Back in the day of Marian Washington, the LJW writers railed on her because of her inability to advance deep into the tourney with better players. But now, we have a coach who hasn't made the tournament since she's been here, but now we get an article saying we should alter the rules of the game. Let's just say that his rules are applied - UConn, Tennessee, OU, etc. will still be the best teams in women's basketball. Saying that dunks and playing above the rim would make the game greater is ludicrous. Let's just go back to this past April - the shot heard 'round the college basketball world was NOT a dunk, it was a 20 foot jumper by Mario Chalmers. Fans weren't watching the game to see Darrell and Sasha throw down dunks in the first half or the Chalmers-to-Arthur lob in OT - we watched the game because it was for the title - which requires winning.

jco8394 9 years, 4 months ago

Come on guys how many layups has Tyshawn Taylor missed this year?

Omegatron 9 years, 4 months ago

"Come on guys how many layups has Tyshawn Taylor missed this year?"

Since he is a Man, and according to the expert Men can't miss, none.

Why I conceded, but if you want to have a go...

Robert Lyons 9 years, 4 months ago

To answer Lake Shawnee, the coaches at Texas A & M, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor turned around programs in the same or fewer years than has Bonnie H. In some cases, their very first years. Outside of Texas Tech, very few of them had the same amount of success as KU had in the nineties. It would appear the coach Bonnie is good but not top notch, big 12 capable.

If you have ever heard coach Bonnie speak at a booster meeting or other special meeting, you would be shocked at her sarcasm when she speaks of her players. I would not want to play for her and I am not surprised that she doesn't seem to put together a team that is competitive in the big 12. I too will give her one more year but I am not renewing my booster membership and if there is another season without a team competitive in the big 12, I will consider not renewing my alumni association membership. Yes I am bitter about the lack of progress after closely following the teams in the late 80's and through the 90's including two sweet sixteens in the NCAA tournament.

kranny 9 years, 4 months ago

whoisjohngalt, Do you kiss your mother with that dirty mouth?

kcjayhwks 9 years, 4 months ago

whoisjohngalt, I love the solution. Finally, someone talking some godd@mn sense

Omegatron 9 years, 4 months ago

"Jesus Christ...why aren't you all bitching about the egregious inequity and sexism so clearly evident in the use of a smaller basketball for women's competition? Better yet, since we're so opposed to "dumbing-down" the competition, let's just not have a women's game at all. If women want to be "equal" they can compete for spots on the men's team."

Lawyers would never go for it.

Men and women getting physical on the court opens up way to many possibilities for lawsuits and criminal charges.

All it would take is one guy to accidentally touch a girl in a way that society deems inappropriate and all heck will break lose.

Parents, media, ambulance chasing lawyers looking for the one ticket that'll set them up for life...

theno1kufan 9 years, 4 months ago

"I concede." Omegatron ok then im glad you came to your senses

theno1kufan 9 years, 4 months ago

also i never said women could never make a layup and men could never miss im just making the point that mens sports are much more exciting than womens and big 10 sports in general

Chad Dexter 9 years, 4 months ago

Geez, Keagan. Were you drunk when you wrote this?

Terrible, terrible ideas.

beebe1 9 years, 4 months ago

At last, a whole bunch of comments in the women's BB section. Hey Keegan, keep writing, maybe we can get a lot more traffic in this section!

crmsnblu 9 years, 4 months ago

really how does the whole world have this wrong. it's "i really couldn't care less". stating that you "really could care less" means that you care to some degree. and this coming from the guy whining about typos. sorry this bugs me and everyone seems to do it. BTW lowering the goals would probably up my ticket sales. i love high shooting percentages and dunks.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.