Zahlmann: The blindfold is being lifted for CSU athletics

Luke Zahlmann

The Colorado State softball team grabbed national headlines this week after they were escorted out of the Indoor Practice Facility to make way for the Rams of the gridiron. If the broader picture is analyzed, a slippery slope is beginning for CSU athletics and its leaders.

When strolling down the sidewalk on the southern end of Moby, a passerby will see a field, accompanied by a few outdoor cages. No, that’s not an average high school facility, it’s the facility given to a Division I softball team.


Walk further west, you will pass by the remains of an old set of football practice fields. Instead of being demolished, they were left for the Rams’ Division I women’s soccer club as an upgrade over their previous field placed in the middle of campus on a slab of grass.

The trend between the two is undeniable.

The facilities given to two of the biggest women’s sports teams at CSU are far inferior to where they should be for a Division I program. Not only are women’s teams pushed out to make way for the goliath of college athletics in football, but they are forced to resort back to their already inferior conditions they deal with daily.

In the Division I NCAA softball RPI, the Rams sit one spot behind North Carolina State at No. 79 in the nation. The Wolfpack, though only a single spot above the Rams, are given facilities that only add insult to injury and reign far superior to a team that sports a squad a mere single spot under them.

The Wolfpack boasts a superior field surface, stands suitable for even the largest crowds and even concessions for the softball enthusiasts. NC State softball is given remarkable facilities, while also sporting a football field at the same level as the new on-campus CSU stadium, if not better.  

Speaking of the new over $200 million stadium, it is only available to football outside of a single exhibition game for the women’s soccer club. Dubbed a “multi-purpose” stadium, the only purpose the stadium serves sans a couple class rooms is a center purely for football and alumni purposes, along with an attached pair of practice fields within walking distance.

Their old practice fields are where the women of CSU get to take their talents. Located directly off Shields Street, the facilities used for women’s soccer are far inferior to their conference rivals to the south in New Mexico as the Lobos have a full-size field accompanied by multiple stands and a scoreboard. All of this is paired with a comparable football stadium.

The overlying point of the protest is that a brand-new stadium was built on campus and has casted a shadow over the eyes of those around Rams athletics, one that blocks their view of the inferior freedoms given to the women’s teams. Though Title IX rules stipulate that the same opportunities be given to both men and women, the women’s teams on campus are not getting their fair shake.

Options are widespread for a CSU athletics program that has turned a blind eye to the inequality within their programs. Options such as an indoor facility for softball would do wonders for a program that has their home games and majority of their practices in the Colorado cold.

Though a full-fledged indoor field is out of the realm of possibility, indoor batting cages should not be. Along with the cages, the facility should have a lane built for pitchers so that in the event of inclement weather, the players of CSU softball do not see their practice cut short by another program. The facility has plenty of room next to the field and would be a welcomed addition for a team in search of equality.


For the women’s soccer team, they deserve time at the on-campus stadium. Though their draw is lesser, they deserve the opportunity to play and practice under the lights and enjoy the luxuries of utilizing the greatest athletic facility on campus. Whether it is a game a week or a few practices, the women of CSU soccer deserve more than an old practice field on the edge of campus.

Though football utilizes the stadium for much of the year, they can take their talents to their brand-new practice fields from time to time. No program deserves to be of lesser importance.

CSU has run out of excuses given the money they have hemorrhaged for their men’s programs. If the money given to their men’s teams is not available for their women’s athletes as well, it should not be spent.

The women of CSU athletics deserve an opportunity to utilize all the amenities available to the men. The concept, though not a difficult one, is being severely overlooked in Fort Collins and Joe Parker, along with his associates, would be wise to take note. Going against successful programs at CSU is never a way to do business in collegiate athletics and the women of the university are beginning to stand up through protest, as they should.

Collegian sports reporter Luke Zahlmann can be reached at or on Twitter @lukezahlmann.