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November 8, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

Social Impact of Title-9

  |   Video
  • Title-9 celebrates its 40th anniversary. Head coach of ASU's Women's Basketball Team Charli Turner Thorne, talks about the landmark legislation. Video clip of Ann Meyers Drysdale, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, speaks about Title-9.
  • Charli Turner Thorne - Head Coach, ASU Women's Basketball
  • Ann Meyers Drysdale - Basketball Hall of Famer
Category: Sports   |   Keywords: sports, basketball, title-9, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Title IX turns 40 this year. The landmark law prohibits gender discrimination in athletics and education. Title IX was part of a law signed by President Nixon in 1972. Since then, the number of women participating in school athletics and pursuing higher education degrees has risen exponentially. The head coach of ASU’s women’s basketball team will join us for more in a moment, but first, we hear from basketball hall-of-famer Ann Meyers Drysdale, who recently spoke with us about Title IX.
Ann Meyers Drysdale: If there's a certain amount of scholarships on one sport, the women get that same amount of scholarships. I don't know how many scholarships in football, if there's 85, then you have to equalize the scholarships for women in something else. It's supposed to be equal, it was an education bill but it's become the calling card for women in sports. If you look at the Olympics that we're just coming from London, that the United States had a bigger delegation of women for the first time in the United States, going over to London, and we won more medals than the men did.
Ted Simons: Interesting.
Ann Meyers Drysdale: And most of women will tell you that whether it be swimming, gymnastics, volleyball, soccer, basketball, field hockey, whatever, a lot of the women have come up and said I wouldn't be here today without Title IX.
Ted Simons: Here now to talk more about the impact of Title IX is Charli Turner Thorne, head coach of the ASU women’s basketball team. Good to have you here, thanks for joining us.
Charli Turner Thorne: Thanks for having me.
Ted Simons: Better definition, Title IX, what exactly is it?
Charli Turner Thorne: It's opportunity. It's choice. It's obviously -- women were being denied for admission to college, forget sports. It was basically legislation that allowed us to pursue something besides a caregiving profession and then it sort of built on OK now we're in college and guys are playing sports and it became, you know, the legislation that helped us create opportunities for playing sports. So go ahead. --
Ted Simons: I didn't want to interrupt you there, what led to this change and how much change occurred early on? From what you've obviously, '72 is kind of far back there. It got a lot of attention, a lot of hostility coming from different areas on this.
Charli Turner Thorne: Absolutely. Actually, you know, when it passed, it didn't really have any teeth for a while. And the NCAA actually tried to sue against it and they did not support this particular law.
Ted Simons: My goodness.
Charli Turner Thorne: They wanted football and their men's sports to get all the resources and allocate it all human and otherwise. So gradually, you know, women began to sue at universities in particular for opportunities to play and have coaches and have funding and stuff and prior to that, you know, women would put on pennies out of their P.E. classes. There's a picture way back in an ASU book where some women are in skirts tipping off on dirt. No facilities, no uniforms, no nothing.
Ted Simons: Is there still some hostility to Title IX? Has it become a cliché for some folks that kind of grumble a little bit?
Charli Turner Thorne: I don't know about cliché but yeah. I think there's still some sub-populations out there that feel like Title IX took opportunities away from male athletes, which is simply not true. That's a myth. Obviously, it's 37 words, read the words, it's equal opportunity for everybody, you know, for education, you know, with funding through the federal government. So because of the financial, you know, I mean administrations at universities have made decisions based on how they want to spend their money. So men's sports may be cut as they started to fund women's sports because they want to put "X" amount of dollars into football. Those are fiscal decisions, they're not what Title IX is about.
Ted Simons: Well, I was going to ask regarding the impact of Title IX on budgets for women's sports. Evolving, ever evolving?
Charli Turner Thorne: Absolutely. Ever evolving. Certainly I think -- we've come so far, and, you know, I know certainly in the state, we've had tremendous support and I've always felt like I've always had what I've needed to be successful. It's a little bit apples and oranges when you talk budgets in the sense that obviously, it's a business and men's basketball and football generate a lot of revenue. And they need certain things to be able to do that. And so more money is spent on those sports, but I think, you know, for me, I just think what does a program need? Men or women, to be successful in their conference? If they're a BCS conference or whatever level they’re playing at, and to provide a great experience for their student athletes.
Ted Simons: As far as the impact on participation? I've read something along the lines where it was rare to find women involved in athletics and also pursuing higher education degrees. That has changed dramatically.
Charli Turner Thorne: A couple of fun facts. So in 1972-ish, there was 300,000 women playing high school sports. Now, there's 3.2 million. Prior to that, there was about 10% in medical school and law school, female students. Now, nationwide, 57% of college students are women. So I mean, this, obviously, or anybody that doesn't know, Title IX truly changed the history of our world for women in terms of opportunity and, you know, choice to do kind of what we want to do.
Ted Simons: And some ancillary things, as well, that people may not think about, just the concept of the athletic aspect, women's health, exercising more, getting out and being more active. That had to have changed, as well.
Charli Turner Thorne: Absolutely. I think obviously, the participation numbers have grown in youth sports. It's more accepted that girls can be athletes and, you know, this is what we do. I know for me growing up, I played with boys, and now, boys sometimes play with girls. Or there's opportunities probably just about in every sport for girls to have their own leagues, which definitely didn't exist when I was growing up.
Ted Simons: And something else that folks don't think about, but should be referred to is the concept of leadership skills, because sports in general, but even pursuing some of those higher degrees but especially sports, you learn so much in the way of leadership and, you know --
Charli Turner Thorne: Spoken like a former athlete.
Ted Simons: Well, you know, I pretended for quite a while, but you know what I mean?
Charli Turner Thorne: I do know what you mean. I truly believe sport is absolutely an education unto itself and that's why I want my kids to play and I truly believe that our student athletes learn probably as much within their sport in terms of growing themselves as men or women as leaders, you know, growing their life skills, I mean everything, their communication skills. All that they need to do to go on in life and be successful and do whatever they want to do, maybe more so than even in the classroom. So certainly Title IX providing those opportunities, you know, you look around today, you look at women in leadership positions, I mean our own governor, you know, we've had a series of governors in politics, CEO corporate America, I always contend that we've always been the head of the household, Ted, myself. [ Laughter ]
Ted Simons: No one's going to argue with you on that, either. You know you’re not going to practice, you watch your players, and you see how they communicate, some seem to lead, some seem to follow, vice versa, some are aggressive, but do you think about how far women's athletics have come? Just sometimes watching this, seeing how they've developed and knowing that '72's not that long ago.
Charli Turner Thorne: I do. I guess I'm in it so closely, I probably don't step back enough and just have a greater appreciation. There's a good movie called the Mighty Max that came out last year and it chronicled like pre-NCAA and scholarship college women's basketball on the east coast and these schools where all these great players played but pretty much nobody really knew about them and yeah, I mean it just amazes me what these young women get and certainly they give a lot. They have to work incredibly hard to earn the opportunities to be a scholarship athlete.
Ted Simons: Indeed.
Charli Turner Thorne: But when they get there and they earn that, I mean they truly have resources, some better than professional athletes.
Ted Simons: Wow.
Charli Turner Thorne: At the collegiate levels. So it's come a long ways.
Ted Simons: Do they have -- I don't want to say appreciate, I think most athletes do, but do they understand the importance of just the opportunity? Do they know about Title IX?
Charli Turner Thorne: Well, good question. I mean, obviously a big impetus for us, for our celebration this Sunday November 11th at our home opener 2:00 p.m., was certainly to educate. It's amazing to me to be honest how many teenagers, how many 20 years old, 30-year-olds have every even -- never even heard of Title IX. Some of our athletes had done a little paper in school and some were not very aware of how much it has impacted their lives. So that was sort of why we decided to do what we're doing this Sunday and honor 40 local heroes, pioneers and people that have taken advantage of the opportunities like myself to just, you know, hopefully impact others and make the world a better place. But yeah, we've been tweeting, we've been doing everything that we can to sort of hey, did you know fun facts, this is where we were, this is where we've come and, you know, we probably -- I think they were saying the other day, I don't know what happened to the 25th anniversary and the 30th. All of a sudden, it's the 40th and we probably need to appreciate it all the time.
Ted Simons: It's almost to the point where it's in a sideways sort of way kind of encouraging that they don't know that much about it because it's so entrenched now, it's so much a normal, that maybe that's not all that bad. But you do want them to know.
Charli Turner Thorne: That's a great point. I mean, that's how far we've come and we've grown and that is a good thing.
Ted Simons: Okay. The team celebration of Title IX, Texas tech?
Charli Turner Thorne: Yes.
Ted Simons: That's Sunday.
Charli Turner Thorne: Correct.
Ted Simons: 2:00.
Charli Turner Thorne: 2:00.
Ted Simons: At Wells Fargo.
Charli Turner Thorne: At Wells Fargo.
Ted Simons: 40 athletes are going to be out there at half-time?
Charli Turner Thorne: Not necessarily athletes. 40 people that we selected and we could have selected 400, not just women, but people that have in particular in the state of Arizona in our community been pioneers in education or in sport in particular for women.
Ted Simons: Okay.
Charli Turner Thorne: So media people, our own Jeff Medcaff from Arizona Republic, lots of great educators, coaches, we're going to actually have a panel after the game, Anne Meyers Drysdale is going to be on that panel, some other incredible women are going to be on it. Dr. Anna Battle, the principal at Desert Vista who was honored as the top principal in the country last year, great panel. –Great Panel.
Ted Simons: Good information, good stuff, good luck on the season, too.
Charli Turner Thorne: Thank you Ted.
Ted Simons: And that is it for now. I am Ted Simons, thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

VOTE 2012: Accuracy of the Polls

  |   Video
  • Veteran pollsters Bruce Merrill and Mike O’Neil take a look back at the accuracy of polls on the presidential race. They will also discuss which groups of people voted in the election and how they affected the outcome.
  • Bruce Merrill - Pollster
  • Mike O’Neil - Pollster
Category: Vote 2012   |   Keywords: vote, 2012, vote 2012, election, results, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Election 2012 was a big win for President Obama as he was re-elected to another four years in the White House. But was Tuesday’s vote a win for data-driven predictions from polling services? Here to talk about the accuracy of polls in this election cycle are two Valley-based pollsters, Bruce Merrill and Mike O’Neil. Good to have you both here, thanks for joining us.
Bruce Merrill: Good to be here.
Ted Simons: On "Arizona Horizon." We'll start with you, how accurate were these national polls?
Bruce Merrill: Overall, pretty darn accurate. All polls have sampling error, at least plus or minus 3%, sometimes, 5%. Most of the national polls were well within that margin and the national polls have been very accurate over the last several elections.
Ted Simons: What do you think, mike?
Mike O’Neil: I think the most impressive thing was that various poll aggregators who took all the polls, they produced weighted averages, that started with Nate Silver four years ago, who now writes for the New York Times. Mark Blumenthal does it for and there are two to three others. They got 51 out of 51 states right this time. Four years ago, Nate Silver got 50-51, missing only Indiana.
Ted Simons: With that information in hand, and obviously, some folks got it more right than others, but in relatively a clear picture, it seems as though the Romney campaign, the candidate perhaps even himself and certainly the Romney backers were genuinely taken aback by the results of this election because they were seeing and hearing things from polls and pundits that didn't follow the narrative.
Bruce Merrill: What Mike and I both know, you can take poll data and give it to two different people, you'll get two completely different interpretations. Polling is just collecting the data but it the real skill, the real art is what does the data mean? And I think one can argue that the Romney people really never understood the changes, the demographic changes particularly, that were occurring in this country. So their view of their data I think would be very different than somebody else's view.
Mike O’Neil: I think it's a huge difference this time. This was a massive victory for people who actually systematically collect data, decide what models they're going to use to collect it and how they're going to analyze it, as opposed to another group of people, and these were optimized by some commentators, who started from a conclusion that they wanted to reach and invented a rationale to get there. And they started to believe their own Kool-Aid and they were genuinely shocked.
Ted Simons: Some commentators had Romney with over 300 electoral votes.
Mike O’Neil: And based on nothing other than their own belief systems. It was crazy.
Bruce Merrill: In other words, even if they got polling data that showed something different, they wouldn't believe it.
Mike O’Neil: And you saw that. What was this, I forget the name of the site, the polls are all wrong or something dot com and they invented rationales. They said you're underrepresenting Republicans. They think you can match to some preexisting thing, which you can’t. The whole purpose of a poll is to determine what the current partisan disposition, if it's a democratic year, you will have more people identify as democrats. You cannot presume that which you're trying to measure.
Ted Simons: What about state polls? There wasn't a heck of a lot of state polling done.
Bruce Merrill: Not, at least in Arizona. You know, polling to do it well, to do it right, is pretty darn expensive. And so you have people that are making a lot of money like Mike to do it -- [ Laughter ] But there's not a lot of polls that have been available for the last two election cycles here in terms of providing data to help people make decisions.
Ted Simons: What little was seen, did it seem --
Mike O’Neil: The thing about these models that you can develop, they are incredibly accurate if you have a lot of data to work with. There was not enough -- people would ask me based on a few little robo polls, I said A., I don't trust them and B. it's a month old, and it’s two polls, it's simply not enough. It's not a fair question. There wasn't enough there for one to reasonably presume that it would be accurate.
Bruce Merrill: The sad thing about that is that the richness of polling is really in the breakdowns of the polls, the demographics and the psychographics, particularly in Arizona. We're a population where you have a lot of old people but a disproportionate number of young people. Hispanics are a growing population here, so the richness is what Mike is saying. If you've got the data, it's more important sometimes to know who has an opinion than what public opinion is.
Ted Simons: Let's go with some of the information we do have regarding the national election and focus in towards Arizona. What turned this election for President Obama?
Bruce Merrill: Well, frankly I think it was two things. Particularly, number one, the Democrats understood four years ago that the groups that they were going to need four years later, they really focused a lot of good research, they identified who was really supporting them and they spent four years getting them ready and delivering them to the polls. So I really think you have to give them an awful lot of credit and you don't see this because the other thing that they did well is the social media. And you don't see that. It's like an underground river but they did a magnificent job I think, identifying their people and getting them to the polls on Election Day.
Ted Simons: What do you think turned it for the president?
Mike O’Neil: The electorate that came out to vote, there was speculation all year round, will the young people come out to vote like they did in 2008? They came out slightly more. Will the minorities, the blacks in particular, who were excited in 2008 come out in 2012? They came out again and the Hispanic percentage was up by 2%.
Ted Simons: So was this -- I'm remember reading this, so I'm getting my questions right, is this the election where demographics really did show perhaps more than others?
Mike O’Neil: Absolutely, and there is the contrast, by the way, in 2010, those groups did not come out in large numbers. There wasn't a big shift in attitudes between 2008 and 2010 when the Republicans won big. It's just that the people at the fringe of the democratic vote stayed home and the population of people who were voting in 2008 excluded those heavily Democratic groups. They came back in 2012.
Bruce Merrill: I felt -- I had been saying all along that if Romney lost this election, this might surprise some people but it would be because of his selection for vice-president, with Ryan. Now, the reason -- I'm not comparing Ryan with Palin. Ryan's a very brilliant young articulate man. But what it showed to me is that Romney's view and you would think if he had good data, he wouldn't have had this view, but it moved them so far to the right that I think the Republicans were simply out of the mainstream of where the demographic changes are taking America.
Mike O’Neil: Again, the issue of who voted? Romney got the exact same percentage of the white folk that Ronald Reagan got when Ronald Reagan won 400 electoral votes. So with that in mind, Democrats have obviously figured this out, what do the Republicans do? It sounds like -- I'm hearing some Republican pundits, some folks on the right side of the aisle, our next candidate needs to be more conservative, more of a Republican than Mitt Romney. Does that make sense?
Mike O’Neil: No, not if you want to win. You have to be within the bubble to come up with that idea. You're not going to get the Hispanic vote by hiring a mariachi band to play at your gig. It has to be sustained and has to be credible I think it has to be more than having Marco Rubio making a speech or two. They have a problem in they have a significant component, the Tea Party component of the party that is hostile to immigration, that is going to be very difficult to convince Hispanics they're not hostile to browns.
Ted Simons: Compare that to Arizona. You look at the map and you see a whole lot of blue surrounding Arizona, except for Utah. What's going on down here?
Bruce Merrill: Mike’s right. The Republican Party has moved to become a much whiter, older, elite party, when the demographics are moving in the opposite direction. Now what's happening in Arizona? Because of immigration, because of the retirement community, a lot of older military people, the party in Arizona and the population in Arizona is kind of more older and more elite than some of the surrounding states. But that may change with the growing Hispanic population.
Ted Simons: Did we see a growing Hispanic population? There are a lot of votes out there that haven't been counted, I feel like we’re treading water a little bit here. But did we feel that -- obviously, around the country, the demography was destiny. Arizona the same thing or not quite yet?
Bruce Merrill: I don't know. I haven't seen the actual data. I think the Hispanic vote may have ticked up a percentage or two, but it obviously wasn't enough to elect Carmona.
Mike O’Neil: And the net Republican over Democrat margin in the last four years went up from 5% to 6%. I heard they registered 35,000 Hispanics, which is frankly underwhelming, in terms of dealing with something of this magnitude. That's the micro-answer. I think if we look out 15 to 20 years, we become purple and we turn blue. This is a southwestern phenomenon. New Mexico is first, Nevada is second, and Colorado is third, and we’re next.
Ted Simons: What do we take from this election? What do you walk away with?
Bruce Merrill: Well, again, I think the Romney people really never had a good understanding of the changing demographics and psychographics in this country. And I think Romney is the last of his generation frankly. He would have been a transitional kind of a candidate, and the Republican Party is going to have to become much more inclusive, it's got to go out and reach more into the middle, bring new, exciting leaders in or it's going to be a permanent minority party.
Ted Simons: What do we take from it?
Mike O’Neil: One more factor. It wasn't just the loss of the presidency. The Republicans lost 25 out of 33 Senate races.
Ted Simons: SO?
Mike O’Neil: They can win in tiny little districts at the congressional level, but when you get to the statewide level, they're in trouble.
Bruce Merrill: And sometimes, we need to talk about these huge amounts of money like the Coke brothers that are coming into states like Arizona and literally identifying moderates and replacing them with conservatives, it's something that has frightening consequences.
Mike O’Neil: What this election shows is you can't buy the presidency but you can buy legislators on the cheap.
Ted Simons: We'll leave it at that. Gentlemen, good to have you here, thanks for joining us, we appreciate it.
Bruce Merrill: Good to be here.