Jessica Dorrell. Now, you have an idea that pops in your brain when her name’s mentioned. Jessica Dorrell. For Christianne Harder, who was one of 159 applicants for the position of Student-Athlete Development Coordinator, and didn’t even get an interview, “Jessica Dorrell” is the poster child for women sleeping their way to the top in College Football. Harder was so upset she wrote a good column that was featured in Sports Illustrated Monday. My problem with Christianne’s take is that, in the 21st Century, she’s just plain wrong.
Christianne’s wrong in that she says what Jessica Dorrell did is a reflection on her as a woman. Think about that. It automatically gives power to some person / thing / group out there, somewhere, that’s passing judgement on Harder. And it doesn’t take a genius to realize that some one is a white guy in a college football executive position. But today, out of 121 athletic directors, four are women – a low number to be sure, but the fact is, it’s more likely today that where there’s smoke (women AD’s) there’s fire: women college assistant ADs’ and other titles, women representing corporate sponsors, and all impacting college football.
So, for a woman like Christianne Harder to think that what Jessica Dorrell did negatively reflects on her, Ms. Harder has to have what I call a “white male centric” view. That is, she is concerned with how seriously a white man takes her, even if that person’s not in an executive role. It means she will take up a relationship with such a person in college football because of where that connection might take her. It also means she’s less likely, herself, to take anyone else as seriously who’s not white and male, and think of black men as just athletes. If you extrapolate what Harder wrote, it leads to a World view that’s not pretty, full of prejudiced, sexist people, and Harder would have to count herself as one of them.
If she thinks about it.
Thankfully Christianne Harder is wrong about what Jessica Dorrell’s actions say about women in college football. The truth is, to anyone with good self-esteem, who is honest in their communications, and creative in their approach, the whole deal says nothing at all about anyone other than Jessica Dorrell and Bobby Petrino. As I said here:
As one who’s seen the sports business from many different places: as aide to the Mayor of Oakland, then overseeing Oakland’s Super Bowl Host City Bid, and then starting Oakland’s only Sports Commission, and today as a sports blogger, I have seen great women rise in the sports business, and with the help of men they never even came close to sleeping with, and with the admiration of women who were their peers.
There are many examples of such women in WISE: Women In Sports And Events, a national networking organization for Women that I joined. WISE is an organization Christianne Harder should join and become active in. There she will meet many well-connected, confident, smart women.
Perhaps Ms. Harder needs to be in such a support system to know that the World’s not as she thinks it is. I can guarantee you WISE women would have a lot to say about Jessica Dorrell, assuming they were paying attention to the story, but it’s a good bet they would not think she had anything to do with them.
The fact is what Ms. Dorrell did happens every day, several times a day. Men and women get together in the workplace so much that one study said that “Most colleagues aren’t bothered by office romances as long as they don’t negatively affect the workplace.” Bobby Petrino wasn’t fired for the relationship and cheating on his wife – he was fired for lying about it, and for using it to promote Jessica Dorrell.
The fact that Petrino was outted and then fired for his actions shows that the Jessica Dorrell story has no reflection on women. And even if Petrino had been permitted to keep his job, it would have come with a steep price of penalties – another signal that what Dorrell and Petrino did wasn’t accepted.
Christianne Harder is wrong. About the only thing Jessica Dorrell did for Christianne Harder is give her some small level of name recognition. From that perspective, Harder should thank Dorrell, and perhaps send her a nice bottle of wine.