Rowan University is making headlines this week over politically-criticized policies: The school's cross-country team has recently been instructed to relocate its practices to another location after female runners who are on the college course than "Distracting" "To footballers training nearby."
Oh, and they were also told that they could not run in sports bras thanks to a school policy requiring athletes to wear shirts at all times.
The Controversy in South Jersey The school has become viral and has sparked discussions about the twin standards that women ̵
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And so it went on: Last month Rowan's cross country men's and women's cross country teams met for training the school's only stretch randomly surrounding a soccer field. As the training intensified, some members of both sexes removed their shirts, the New York Times reported from 19459010.
A football coach turned to the women's cross-country coach and told him "that the runners distract the football players, "said Outside Online. This is not the first time that such comments have been made on female runners, team members said this week with Think Progress, but was the first time it had lasting effects.
A few days later, the cross-country team was told that, according to Uni guidelines, only one team could use this particular practice facility at the same time and the football team had Dibs. According to another directive they were also told that all athletes must wear shirts during training.
The team's selection was limited: they could change their training time or take to the streets across the street. The athletes were frustrated that they were the ones who were asked to move – and with the message that they wanted to send the school over their bodies to women.
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Former cross-country skier Gina Capone heard from her friends on the team and wrote about the experiences on the self-publishing platform Odyssey . "If you run in a sports bra, you have to ask for it, right?" She wrote. "Well, according to a football player at Rowan University, this is true."
Capone's powerful essay appeals to women across the country – many who have been told that tight or skin-straining workouts are somehow inappropriate. (Who can forget the scandal that Brandi Chastain took off after the US World Cup win in 1999?)
"I'll let you know why women in sports bras run our hard-earned abs," she wrote. "Women, whether they have a six-pack or not, run in sports bras because, frankly, it's hot. We run in sports bras because our workouts are demanding, demanding and powerful. We run in sports bras because we are confident, hard-working student athletes. "
Women do not do not run in sports bras," she continued, "to show our bodies to distract men.
Capone wrote that all 15 members of Rowan University's Cross Country Team for Women believe that running in sports bras should be allowed, even those who cover themselves up. She also pointed out that the Women's Cross Country team is one of the few teams at Rowan that does not provide a daily uniform for the exercises. "How is the women in this team expected to participate in a nonexistent dress code?" She asked.
"The fact that the Athletic Department supports the claim that this is distracting or that women are asking for it is disgusting," wrote Capone, citing rape culture as the actual topic, citing an anonymous source as well – presumably a woman on the team – pointing out that it's not just female runners who wear eye-catching workout clothes.
"As a girl, we could look at the football team and say that their tight trousers that show everything demand it, but we do do not do it, "the nameless woman said." If we're on the trail, we'll do a hard workout that requires all of our concentration so that we do not look at them and see what they are doing, when they are distracted by us, Obviously, their exercises do not require their full attention or they are simply not as committed to the sport. "
RELATED: 3 sports bras for large breasts that Actually Work  The women in Rowan's cross-country team not only represent their school, Capone wrote, but also a growing community of runners. "It's time for women to embrace their bodies and not live in constant fear of being demoted by men," she wrote.
The running community became aware of course. The controversy was tweeted about by Runner's World by columnist Peter Sagal and former US track and field athlete Lauren Fleshman.
"Well, that's not the perfect micro example of how normalized it is in our country to control women's bodies because men do not want to take responsibility for their own," Fleshman wrote. "From sports bra legality to dress code to responsibility for sexual assault right through to reproductive rights."
The former Olympic marathon runner Kara Goucher also played . "No lie – I had to bring along a message signed by my mother:" My daughter has permission to walk around in underwear "after a group of us ran into sports bras while training," she tweeted. "That was in 1995, I thought things had changed."
Rowan listened – at least in part. Less than 24 hours after Capone's article was published, the school made a statement addressing the controversy and formulating a "long-running verbal protocol requiring all athletes to wear shirts even during training." The government promises to immediately develop a written policy that "allows women." Athletes wear sports bra tops without shirts during training, "the statement says.
Something good has certainly come out of this incident: Members of the team interviewed by the The New York Times and Outside Online They appreciate the statement of the University and its reversal of the old policy. Capone has also started an encouraging discussion on Instagram, posted a photo of herself without a shirt and asked others why they work out in sports bras. "Let's use our voices," she wrote. "Let's bring some hell to it."
The cross-country team still can not use the school's only stretch, which is disappointing for Capone and her classmates. Proponents outside Rowan's community are also less likely to leave school.
Kelly Roberts, founder of the #SportsBraSquad movement, told Outside Online that she wished the school had worked for female students from the start. "Until we stop telling the women to cover up, we'll never solve the bigger problem," she said.
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