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Why don't they do some things they haven't done?

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

This is one of those times of the year that as sports editor I don't particularly care for, and the reason is lack of local sporting events to cover during the week.

Oh, there's plenty to cover on Fridays and Saturdays with volleyball, football and cross country of the fall sports still going on, but all the action this week will be tonight, Friday and Saturday.

I think all of you readers have figured out by now that local sports coverage is this newspaper's primary emphasis. We fill our pages with as much local content as we can get our hands on, and if we don't have enough local stuff, the paginators in Michigan will complete the rest with college and professional sports stories and the scoreboard.

We don't determine the amount of space we get for stories and photos. That is given to us, and we try to make do the best we can with that space we receive.

With fall sports winding down, not much is happening on weekdays right now. My forte as sports editor is going out and covering sporting events, taking photos and writing stories I hope you want to read. When I can't do that because there's little or nothing going on locally, I sometimes scramble to find content.

Schools being on fall break this week also hasn't helped, as it's difficult to contact some people when schools aren't in session.

So I guess this gives me the opportunity to relay a few things that have been building on my mind over the past few months that I couldn't relay because we had so much local content to put in our newspaper.

By the way, I hope you enjoy reading Steve Auten's piece in today's paper about his visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York as much as I did when I edited it for publication.

Early in September, there was a big stink about tennis star Serena Williams' outburst in the women's singles championship match of the U.S. Open. She was penalized a game because of it, and she claimed that men got by (without penalty) with much worse behavior than she displayed.

Some praised Williams for speaking up about this matter, while others criticized her behavior as childish and immature.

I'm not going to weigh in on one side or the other on this matter because I didn't see her outburst live on TV or the events that led up to it. Women want equal treatment with men, and I see nothing wrong with that.

However, here's a question for you. Why do women get the same pay as men for the major tennis tournaments when they don't have to work as hard or as long as men to get it?

Much crowing and praise was given when women got equal prize money for their performance at these major tournaments. But wait a second. Isn't this equal pay for unequal work, and therefore, discrimination against men?

Here's the facts. In their tennis matches, women have to win only two of three sets to advance and win, while men have to win three of five sets to do the same thing. Is this fair when they get the same amount of money? No, it is not in my opinion. Can anyone out there justify the reason for this?

Men having to work 50-percent longer than women for the same amount of pay is discrimination against men, plain and simple.

There's a simple solution, really. If women want equal pay as men, make it equal pay for equal work. Make the women win three out of five sets to win a match as the men have to do, or else reduce the workload for men and have them win only two out of three sets to advance and win. Then you'd have equality.

Women can do a lot of things today that men can do, they have the stamina for them, and they should be given those opportunities. But make it fair to both genders.

I'm still unhappy about the inequity of the divisions in Big Ten football. The Big Ten should get another name for its conference because it has 14 teams in the league now, but that's another gripe for another time.

Isn't it clear by now that the Big Ten East (with Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State in it) year in and year out is more powerful than the Big Ten West (in which only Wisconsin consistently has been good over the years).

There are occasional aberrations during the season, as when Northwestern defeated Michigan State last Saturday, but the evidence is in that East is more powerful than the West, making the divisions lopsided.

One can say I'm bitter because IU is stuck in the Big Ten East while Purdue is in the easier Big Ten West, and there's some truth in that. But I also want to see more variety in the conference schedule, not play the same six teams every year and see some teams more often than every two-or-three years to complete the nine-game conference slate each season.

As General Patton once said, "A blind man can see this." I would think the higher-ups in the Big Ten could see it, too, and take the necessary steps to make the divisions more balanced. The Legends and Leaders divisions (and I never could remember who was in which one) in the Big Ten were better than now.

Finally, press boxes. I have been in several this football season and was impressed with the layout and access of some.

At Franklin County, there is a separate stairway (supposedly for media only) to get to the press box, the one at Shelbyville wasn't too bad (and I was grateful to get into it as more than half the game was played in a monsoon), and the one at Mt. Vernon (Fortville) was a double-decker, with the press box for visiting media above the one for home media, scoreboard operator, PA announcer, etc.

I want to apologize to the New Castle fans I have had to climb over this year to get into the press box at Neal Field, as there are no steps leading directly to it as the other press boxes have that I have mentioned in this column.

This is not the fault of the current administration and I don't blame those people. This probably goes back to when the football field was constructed when the new high school was built in 1958. Why you would place the home-side fans and press box on the east side of the field where it gets the glaring late afternoon and early evening sunlight is beyond me.

It's too late to change that aspect of the design of the field, but better accessibility to the press box without having to climb over people already seated would be nice. Perhaps that will be in the cards sometime in the future.

David Risley is sports editor of The Courier-Times.