After garnering national attention over the past week, several members of the Colorado State softball team met with members of athletic administration this week to discuss the changes they’d like to see in their facilities. Some of the team’s requests included an indoor or covered batting cage, changes to their lights and bleachers as well as more equitable sharing of CSU’s existing Indoor Practice Facility.
Last Friday, the softball team held a sit-in at CSU’s IPF to protest the inequality in facilities being given to women’s athletics as opposed to men’s, particularly when a sport has a women’s team but not a men’s team. Senior outfielder Hayleigh Evans thinks the administration is hearing them out, but no official changes were yet established. The meeting gave the team a chance to layout their request and complaints.
“We talked to administration and basically we really focused it on equitable athletic opportunities and how we felt we didn’t have that,” Evans said.
In regards to the IPF specifically, Evans mentioned feeling a lack of mutual respect in the way softball has been treated when football needs time to practice.
“One experience we’ve had is they get 45 minutes to put their equipment in there, so we have to be out of there early,” Evans said. “We’ve been told we can’t go into the IPF when football’s practicing because we’re a distraction, even when all we’re trying to do is put our equipment away.”
“One experience we’ve had is they get 45 minutes to put their equipment in there, so we have to be out of there early. We’ve been told we can’t go into the IPF when football’s practicing because we’re a distraction, even when all we’re trying to do is put our equipment away.” Hayleigh Evans, senior outfielder
While the team hasn’t been told the facility is only for football, they don’t feel like it’s being shared equally.
“Our main point was that it doesn’t feel like a shared facility what so ever,” Evans said. “We have to be there at a certain time and I get other teams have to practice, but the guidelines aren’t the same.”
The team brought up some of their ideas of long- and short-term goals for assuring that the softball team has equitable facilities.
“Short-term is to have equitable access to the IPF, especially for teams that are in season.” Evans said. “There was a time when it was snowing outside and we conditioned in the snow while they were inside and we thought, ‘Well that makes sense because they’re in season.’ But now it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, they get the IPF, and oh yeah it makes sense because it’s their facility.’”
Other problems the team brought up at the meeting included a lack of proper lighting on the field, not having their batting cages covered and better protection for coaches in the batting cages. Another point of focus included having taller bleachers because the newest parking lot west of the softball field and the adjacent Moby Arena parking lot team up to create a glare that makes the ball hard to see for fielders.
“We’ve had to forfeit games in the past because we didn’t have the lights to finish the game,” Evans said. “They were receptive on that, same with wanting to cover our outdoor batting cages, they were pretty receptive on that.”
Maybe the most significant and long-term change the team asked for was one of representation as they suggested a committee be formed to monitor this issue in the future.
“We did mention having a committee, where we have some of the athletic administration and two or three of our players and our coach,” Evans said. “Just to make sure people are accountable and we see what we want to see.”
Overall, Evans felt the administration was receptive, but the team still feels uneasy about what’s to come.
“I think for the most part, they listened to us,” Evans said. “We don’t think of them as bad people by any means, we respect them. That’s why we came to them and that’s why we had the meeting with them. I guess we’ll really see what happens. There’s still kind of a little bit of feeling of unrest because we walked out of that meeting thinking, ‘We don’t know how that went.’”
Time will tell.
Sports reporter Mackenzie Beaulieu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @Macknz_James.