It may come as
something of a surprise, even to those who consider themselves to be
knowledgeable about the sport, but there are now two bona fide national
collegiate track and field championships. One, of course, is the annual NCAA
title event to be held next month at Louisiana State. The other took place last
weekend at California State Hayward. The relative obscurity of the Hayward
affair is accounted for by the fact that it was a meet for the other half of
the collegiate population, girls. Hayward was the championship of what some
malcontented French broad once called the second sex.
obvious one—the gender of the athletes—the differences between what happened at
the AIAW (Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) championship in
Hayward and what will happen at the NCAA championship in Baton Rouge were many
and instructive in both athletic and other terms. For one, the names of the
schools competing—and not competing—in the women's meet would strike a track
buff as curious. Nobody showed up to represent UCLA, Villanova or Tennessee,
since these institutions either do not have a female track team or did not want
to go to the bother and expense of sending their women to Hayward. Some schools
regarded as being major athletic powers—the Oregons, Kansas States, Texas Techs
and Minnesotas—did show, but they were minor factors at Hayward. The bullies
were such institutions as Cal State L.A., Seattle Pacific, Hayward itself and
especially Texas Woman's University, which won the meet.
Perhaps the most
striking difference between the AIAW and NCAA championships was in the quality
of competition. The NCAA is usually one of the two best meets of the outdoor
season (the AAU championship being the other). In a good year a few American
records and occasionally a world mark will be approached or broken. The Hayward
affair was first rate in terms of facilities and organization, but the
performances were relatively poor. For example, this was the first year in
which qualifying standards were required. It was also only the second year in
which the organization had sponsored a national event and the first that, in
respect to athletes (over 350) and schools (61), could be called major. The
AIAW standards were far less restricting than those of the women's national AAU
championship. Thus to qualify in the AIAW a woman had to have run the 100 in
12.0, while for the AAU she cannot qualify unless she has been clocked in 10.8.
In the mile the respective collegiate and AAU standards are 6:00 and 5:00, in
the shot 33' and 43'.
The reason for
this is not that higher education makes young women soft and slothful. It is
that the educational system, which coddles and encourages male athletes, has
shown very little interest in females. Competition and training facilities have
been all but nonexistent, and only a handful of women have ever received
None of the
females at Hayward had been recruited and paid to represent their schools. Had
they been, they could not have competed because the AIAW has had a rule barring
students with athletic scholarships from its championship. (Under threat of a
lawsuit from a Florida junior college which wanted to recruit tennis players,
the rule was abolished a month ago, but it was still in force at Hayward.)
One effect of the
anti-scholarship rule was to keep the best women's track team, Tennessee State,
from taking part at Hayward. TSU, which has contributed 30 Olympians during the
past 16 years, gives up to 12 scholarships according to Coach Ed Temple.
schools, and especially colleges, have not offered much to women in the way of
track and field, girls with a serious interest in the sport have been developed
in and through small, private, generally impecunious AAU clubs. This fact of
female sporting life was also evident at Hayward. Of the 13 individual events,
11 were won by women who were essentially AAU club competitors who happened to
be of college age.
The disparity in
talent and experience between the AAU athletes who were also often
internationalists (such as Jane Frederick in the pentathlon, Jarvis Scott in
the 440, Marilyn King in the long jump, Pam Greene in the 220 and Lynette
Matthews in the shot and discus) and the school-trained competitors was
considerable. To cite one case, Kathy Sloan, a University of Illinois freshman
who ran the mile at Hayward, had no running experience before coming to
college. Nevertheless, she had done well in strictly collegiate competition in
the Midwest. Though she turned in a personal best of 5:48 she finished far up
the track in her heat and did not make the finals.
exception was provided by Texas Woman's University, and the team victory of the
Denton girls was especially appropriate under the circumstances. In the first
place, it was a women's school winning a women's championship. Also, TWU is for
the most part a college team rather than a collection of AAU-trained athletes.
A school of some 6,100 women, with strong departments of nursing, health, phys.
ed. and recreation, TWU sponsors nine intercollegiate sports for girls. The
college also has for a track coach Dr. Bert Lyle, one of the better teachers
and technicians for students of either sex, who started the TWU team six years
championship, at which TWU rolled up 64 points to 40 for runner-up Cal State
Hayward, which scored largely on the performances of three AAU types, showed
that Lyle has something besides coaching know-how going for him. In a word, it
is talent, and most of it has been home grown. Of the 14-woman squad Lyle
brought to Hayward, only two girls, Marilyn McClung and Audrey Reid, were
outsiders in the sense that they had track reputations before matriculating.
McClung, who has run for the L.A. Track Club, placed fourth in the 440 (behind
three other club runners) and ran legs on TWU's winning 440 and mile-relay
teams. Reid, the meet's outstanding athlete, is a Jamaican who has taken part
in two Olympics and holds the American All-Comers record of 6'�" in the
high jump. At Hayward she placed sixth in the 100, third in the 100-meter
hurdles, anchored the 440-relay team and won the high jump with a leap of
5'8". "Perhaps I might have been a bit higher," she said, "but
I was glad to help the team. Team is very important for us."