Bet 367

Duration 13 years (02008-02020)

“By the end of the year 2020, a professional sports team that is part of either the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, or Major League Soccer will integrate and have a woman as a team member/player.” Detailed Terms »

PREDICTOR
Thomas R Leavens

CHALLENGER
Nils Gilman

STAKES $500

will go to Lawyers For The Creative Arts if Leavens wins,
or University of California, Berkeley, History Department if Gilman wins.

Leavens's Argument

While there may be a rational basis for arranging competitive sporting events by gender when the competition is one-on-one, such as track, skiing, or tennis, that rationale starts to break down with respect to team sports, where gender physical differences may not have the same impact and women may not be viewed as being disadvantaged (or advantaged) by competing against men. Participation by women in all areas of sports has increased, with many entering areas previously occupied only by men. However, to my knowledge, no woman has been selected as a player with a major US professional football, soccer, hockey, basketball, or baseball team. My prediction is based on the belief that by 2020, a woman athlete will emerge as a member of such a team, based not only on her skill but also on the greater available pool of women playing such sports, the incentive of the greater talent compensation available to players on the major sports teams (as opposed to the compensation paid to current women-only sports teams), and the changing overall societal view of the role of gender that will make a team’s decision to add a woman player to a previously all-male team more compelling.

Gilman's Argument

In many sports, men and women are able to compete at nearly equal levels. Sports that are primarily about eye-hand coordination, reflexes, and rapid decision making are ripe for gender integration. However, there are many sports for which strength -- in terms of explosiveness, endurance, and sheer force -- are predominant factors in determining excellence. At the elite, professional level, male athletes in these sports exceed the conceivable strength of all females. This applies to football, soccer, hockey, basketball and baseball. Genetic or chemical modification could conceivably change this, and if such technologies were to become available, they would presumably also be used by male athletes, thus leveling the playing field.


Detailed Terms

A woman, or a person who identifies as a woman, must be a member of the regular season roster of players of one of the teams of either the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, or Major League Soccer by the end of the calendar year 2020.