Meet Becky Carlson, the “Fearless Coach”
Becky has been in NCAA college coaching (USA) for more than a decade and is passionate about not only Women’s NCAA Rugby, but is also an advocate for the health and welfare of our coaching population. As a public speaker, equality advocate and coach, Becky has grown tired of the abundance of resources for sport specific technical skill building and sitting at endless seminars only to be left with no solutions on how to survive in the profession of coaching with this generation.
Becky believes our athletes are losing their ability to communicate with each other and therefore, with us, the coaches. Becky is interested in connecting and assisting other coaches who are challenged daily through this profession with today’s generation.
“Athletics / sports remains a staple in a long line of vehicles used to create social change. I am a firm believer that if we have truthful conversations with the next generation, both male and female about equity and treatment, we can solve unfair hiring and ethical practices in athletics / sports. Ultimately this will lead us to a healthier society with both women and men having equal representation in law making, policy development and in the workforce. If you are having trouble as a coach finding your voice and asking for more, please connect with me. We can all learn from one another.”
Becky Carlson – Fearless Coach
As “Fearless Coach”, Becky is often the first to stand up for female coaches alike and share stories and examples of women being mistreated and discriminated against within the US NCAA System. We wanted to find out from Becky where her passion for equality advocacy began and how she thinks the coaching profession can be improved for all.
Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing videos and blogs created by Becky, but first, we will be sharing with you our interview…if you missed PART 1 CLICK HERE
Q: Do you the think one of the ways that women can deal with all of these issues is by connecting with other women and supporting each other through this?
That was originally the premise for me launching Fearless Coaching; I get 2-3 emails or calls a week from women telling me they were struggling with their Athletic Department and have no one to talk to about it. I became a library of sharedsecrets on how women are treated in Athletic Departments across all Divisions – and that for me was only part of the point. However, how does all this change if I am the only one with all the information? It doesn’t. It is comforting to those people who are able to talk to me, maybe they feel 1% braver after our discussion, I don’t know because I don’t have the measurable to work out what the impact is in women connecting together, but it’s that next step that is the biggest hurdle…what to do with all these testimonies where the majority beg for them to stay confidential?
It helps that women know there are people out there just like them who are struggling, because I tell them that I get calls from other women just like them all the time and I suggest they connect with others I know…but after that, what is the action? This is the answer we are all searching for.
I had a woman call me from a big Division 1 school. The case she explained is flat out discrimination, there were so many things wrong…but the coach in question was far more interested in being able to stay in the sport and keep her job. It helps to vent and talk about things, but what is the action item, how do you change that situation for her or help her beyond suggesting legal counsel?
I also have people that call who want to take action, but they cant afford a lawyer, but don’t have the resources to go through with litigation. And we have women that have taken action, such as Shannon Miller, Beth Burns, Tracey Greisbaum- but what happens to these women…they get slaughtered in the mediaand dragged through court. The options are far from encouraging.
Beth Burns is one of the most successful women’s basketball coaches, and she won her case (for being a whistle blower about Title IX violations) and was right about being discriminated against…and now she is an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coachmaking far less than what she is worth.
Tracey is a volunteer field Hockey Assistant at Duke and yet she was one of the best field hockey coaches in the Country…
Shannon Miller is back in Canada and despite winning her case on a federal level, schools aren’t lining up to let her back in to the NCAA. However, men who have been found guilty of physically, verbally and emotionally abusing their athletes just recycle back through their contacts.
Women don’t get back in after they have blown the whistle. There are countless women that just aren’t in sports anymore, but not even the women who are fullyout of sport are comfortable talking about what happened.
The question is how do we activate that group of women from being upset about their treatment, recognising that this issue exists and where do you take the information?
Do you take it to the NCAA? Even if you do, will they listen?
The Tucker Centerdoes a report every year and gives grades on equity of hiring of female coaches for all institutions (Universities). There are countless institutions that get D’s and F’s as marks every year, but they don’t care. They don’t change.
The NCAA and public opinion is keen on the idea that cases like Shannon Miller are one off’s, just typical disputes between employer and disgruntled employee and they don’t feel its compelling enough data for them to want to change their behaviour.
The NCAA loves to take credit for all the good things and all the successes, but at the eleventh hour when there is an issue with discrimination or Title IX, they are no where to be found. All of a sudden they don’t want ownership of their institutions when its bad news.
That’s no different to the NGB’s taking the credit for producing Olympic medals, but when it comes to abuse scandals like in US Gymnastics or swimming, they separate themselves.
The WeCoach organization (formerly the Alliance of Women Coaches) receives funding from the NCAAwhich isliterally sponsoring the group who has members begging college athletics to pay attention totheabysmalnumber of female coaches in the NCAA. Our number has beencut in half since 1972 and it’s not getting better. So what role does the NCAA play in thatand who holds them accountable if the groups put in place for coaches and administrators aren’t providing that advocacy?
If you are a coach in the NCAA…share your thoughts and experiences below (anonymously if you wish) and visit Becky’s twitter page for more information @TFCoachCarlson