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Little League pitcher Mo'Ne Davis & Negro Leagues pitcher Mamie "Peanut" Johnson

Little League pitcher Mo’Ne Davis & Negro Leagues pitcher Mamie “Peanut” Johnson

Just a reminder to thank advocates of Title IX, past, present and future…..

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Remember this? (June 2012)

Now, consider this (June 2014)

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Dr. Charlotte West: From Athlete to Advocate to Athletic Director: Blazing the Way for Women’s Basketball

Charlotte West was a little worried. She’d been told she has only five minutes to speak at her Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction. “I thought, my Lord, I’ve been involved in competitive women’s basketball for 70 years. I started listing things that I want to say that I’m like, oh my gosh, this should be an hour and a half.”

Born in 1932 in Michigan, West and her sister were adopted by a couple in New York. She spent much of her early years “snow-birding” as her family traveled from upstate New York down to Florida until school administrators put a stop to it. “That out and in several times a year was really interfering with [my sister’s] progress in school. My parents were called in and they said, ‘she needs to be tutored and to put keep her one place or the other.’ So starting in the fifth grade, I did all my schooling in St. Petersburg.”

West’s earliest sports memory is playing 7th grade basketball. “We probably only had three or four games,” she recalled. “But I can remember playing and feeling very empowered.” She so wanted her own hoop and a basketball but, though her parents were supportive – even though neither of them were particularly athletic — it was wartime. “Everything was rationed. If it was rubber or leather, like a basketball would be, you couldn’t get it.” Yet somehow, they managed. “We were on our way to Memphis to visit my father’s relatives where we spent our Christmases and spent the night in Dothan, Alabama,” said West. “We were walking around after dinner and found a sports store and it had a basketball. So my father bought me that for Christmas. I tell you, that basketball got plenty of use.”

Basketball in the land of oranges

West played three years in junior high and three years at St. Petersburg High School. “I had a great high school coach,” she reflected, who “did it for the love of the sport because they didn’t get supplemental pay.” As a player, West describes herself as “Fast. Very, very fast. So I mainly played forward. I did play guard sometimes, when they wanted to substitute different people, and of course I loved the rover because she got to move.” Things changed, though, when she started college. “I went to Florida State and we had nothing,” she stated bluntly. “Nothing.”

Fortunately, St. Petersburg was part of the AAU/Industrial Leagues that swept across the country during World War II. Many companies such as Maytag, Kelvinator, Dr. Pepper and such, sponsored basketball, softball and volleyball teams in an effort to build worker cohesion and brand recognition. “When I was junior or senior in high school St. Petersburg had R.H. Hall (an appliance store company). They would play [teams from] Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa. So I got some early experience with a higher level of play. When I got into college, I played with them a few times when it was convenient to get away from school.”

While at FSU, West completed a double major in Math and Physical Education. “I loved math and I was good in it,” said West, “but I also loved sports and I knew I wanted to teach. And at that time there was a little stigma if you were in Phys. Ed. I don’t know if there was some protective mechanism there or not, but I did my practice teaching in Physical Education in Jacksonville, but I did it with the condition that I could go in and do a class in plain geometry at the high school so I’d be qualified to do both.” After she graduated from Florida State she returned to St. Petersburg to be with her mother – her father had died two months previously – and started as the physical education teacher and, eventually, coach at Boca Ciega High School.

Pushed off the court and into organizing

West continued her studies at UNC–Greensboro, one of the two prominent graduate schools for women in Physical Education (Texas Women’s being the other). “I visited with both chairs of the department and I just liked the connection at Greensboro.” It couldn’t have hurt that there was a local AAU/Industrial team that seemed more and willing to bring on West and her fellow student, Joan S. Hult (who later went on to write A Century of Women’s Basketball: From Frailty to Final Four). The two arranged a tryout during a game and, she recalled, “we clicked. We did really well and [the coach] was excited about us. He said, ‘Now you ladies, you are coming back every time aren’t you?’ I said, ‘yeah.’ Unfortunately, the news didn’t go over so well at the University.

“We got to school the next day and we both had a note in our boxes in our mailboxes in the P.E. Department. The head of the department called us in and she said, ‘I understand that you’re down playing city league basketball and we just don’t let our majors do that.’ She turned to Joan and said, ‘You’re a graduate assistant, so I’m telling you, you will not play.’ She looked at me and said, ‘I can’t tell you that (West was on an academic scholarship) but I think it would be to your advantage not to.’ In typically direct fashion, West countered, “Miss. Morris, I love sports, I love to play and I think it’s a crime that we don’t have more for women.’ So,” continued West, “she puts me in charge of a inter-class tournament for all the PE majors. So we played, but that was her ‘solution.’”

After West completed her Masters in Physical Education and Dance, the same department head directed her to Southern Illinois University because, explained West, “she said they do more for women sports and she knew my intent to work towards varsity athletics for women–which I was told might hinder my professional success.”

Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

Small acorns, great oaks

West arrived at Southern Illinois in 1957 began a 41-year career of advocacy and action in women’s intercollegiate athletics. She coached of the women’s golf team for over 12 years (winning the national championship in 1969), badminton for seven years, and volleyball for one year. She also coached women’s basketball from 1959 to 1975 – all while serving as a professor in the Department of Physical Education. In 1973, she became a full professor (having gotten her doctorate at Wisconsin-Madison in Physical Education with a minor in Educational Measurement) and developed SIU’s graduate program in Sports Management, which she directed until June 1991. From 1960 to 1986, West was director of intercollegiate athletics for women and led the transformation of the department into a nationally recognized program with a budget of more than $1 million for 11 sports. After the merger of the men’s and women’s athletics departments, she served as associate athletics director for one year, interim director for another and associate athletics director for 10 years.

In parallel with her duties SIU, West became heavily involved with Title IX legislation, serving as a consultant for the Health, Education, and Welfare portions of Title IX that related to athletics. Since the NCAA was not willing to sponsor championships for women, West helped do so through the American Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) – and organization for which she also served as president. With the dissolution of the AIAW (1981-82), West continued her work advocating for equity in in athletics by serving on the NCAA’s Committee on Financial Aid and Amateurism, the Committee on Athletic Certification, and the Gender Equity Task Force. She spent five years (1992-97) on the NCAA Council, a 44-member group that governed collegiate athletics and was the first woman member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), eventually being inducted into the NACDA Hall of Fame (2006). The first recipient of the Woman Administrator of the Year Award from the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, in 1996 West was also named the first recipient of the Honda Award of Merit— a national honor given for outstanding achievement in women’s collegiate athletics. She retired from SIU in 1998.

Looking back, looking forward

When she reflects on all she did, the teaching, the coaching, running tournaments and serving on panels and committees, she laughs. “Billie Jean King talked about their efforts in the ‘70s and she says, ‘when I think back I have to take a nap.’ It’s a good line. I think back and wonder, ‘My gosh, how did I live through it? How did I do it?’ But you know, you are driven because you love what you were doing. We could see so much progress. And, yes, we had setbacks, but it just it was exciting. It was an exciting time of seeing your efforts come to fruition.”

For all that was accomplished, West knows that the work is not close to being over. “You know, we’ve documented that men’s participation is growing at a more rapid rate than women. We’re not even close to equity in participation. The budgets are just extreme,” she continued. “The men are just gaining twice as much every year as the women, and people just seem to say, ‘well, as long as the women are getting a little something everything’s okay.’ The administration is going down you know the number of women in athletic director roles has been flat or now starting downwards, which is a huge surprise.”

“A lot of people don’t realize that if it hadn’t been for AIAW, we wouldn’t have had that growth and we wouldn’t have had a billion dollar television contract — all these things that really happened in the 70s. It’s a kind of a paradox for some of us,’ said West. “We worked so hard to give the athletes the benefits they have today, the opportunities. So you rejoice in that. But then you’re saddened by the fact that they don’t know how they got there. No respect whatsoever, you know they expect these benefits which — I’m glad that they’re there for them — but they don’t appreciate them. They don’t understand how you have to continue to strive.” She takes some comfort from a friend who heads the SIU Department of Philosophy. “She said, ‘every great movement rises, and then there is always this falling back.’” West paused a moment. “Just so long as it doesn’t it fall back to where you started.”

******

Historical note: Women’s basketball history owes a debt to Dr. Ellyn Bartges, who earned that prefix through her research on and interviews with Dr. West. “Circle more before you land”: an ethnography of feminist leader Dr. Charlotte West is now posted at IDEALS: Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship.

Additional information: Charlotte West, interviews by Ellyn L. Bartges, audio and print transcripts, Family Memories Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.  Three interviews over six years were conducted, (March 2005, June 2009, and August 2011) .

You’re also invited to check out What about the character of the girls?: Girls and Women’s Basketball in Illinois, 1968-1977.”

Illinois hosted its first Girls’ State Basketball Tournament in 1977, five years after the U.S. Congress passed the landmark Title IX legislation. Title IX led to an explosion in the growth of women’s sports in the United States, dramatically changing American culture in the process. This collection of oral history interviews chronicles that story and the early struggles for both Illinois girls’ basketball (high school level) and women’s basketball (collegiate level) throughout the country. The twenty-six interviews in this collection were conducted beginning in 2004 by Ellyn Bartges, herself a participant in Illinois’ first tournament in 1977. Ellyn designed the oral history project and conducted the interviews as part of her master’s capstone project at Western Illinois University, under the direction of Dr. Virginia Boynton of the WIU History Department.    

In 2010 Ellyn Bartges was interviewed about her own life story and the creation of this oral history collection by Mark R. DePue, Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Oral History program

The page includes interviews with various folks including: Dr. West, Jill Hutchinson, Gail Marquis, Billie Moore, Chris Voelz and Holly Warlick.

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Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014 — Hall the end of a long journey for Jazz Perazić

When Jasmina (Jazz) Perazić enters the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame this June, she will do so on the merits of her career as a Maryland Terrapin (’79-‘83). During her time in College Park, the six-foot guard led the program to three ACC Championships and the 1982 Final Four. Her 1,396 points ranks her 18th all-time in scoring for the Terps and she is one of only three women to have their jerseys retired by the University.

Quite the accomplishment for someone whose earliest basketball memories include coaches yelling, “What are you doing?”

And the rest of the series, in case you missed’em (two more still to be published – Lin Dunn and Charlotte West): Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Yolanda Griffith – Perennial underdog arrives at pinnacle

Reflecting on her journey to the Hall of Game, Griffith said, “It is truly a great honor. I’m happy for the recognition. But every day I say I am blessed. I am blessed with how I turned out because of my parents and my brothers and sisters. I’m blessed because I’ve never taken anything for granted. I don’t want you to give me anything.  I want to earn it. That’s just how I was raised.” “But throughout my career playing basketball, I’ve had the right coaches that guided me in the right direction. Basketball’s just a huge part of my life, taking up a lot of time and focus. Trying to get my game better, realizing that there’s somebody out there that’s better than me. I was always the underdog, not getting the publicity. And, you know, I’m pretty much okay with that not happening — because people that know basketball know.”

Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Mimi Senkowski Griffin — A love affair with the game

Griffin is not unaware that the role girls were expected to play in a Catholic school seemed contradictory to those they played on the court. “That’s the dichotomy of sport: allowing you to be what you weren’t able to be in school,” she reflected. “I think one of the reasons that young girls in Catholic schools loved basketball was it gave us a sense of identity. It was so great to find something that made you feel good about yourself and feel good about accomplishing something with others as a group. It cemented our self-esteem and,” she added with a laugh, “it was just the bomb.”

Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Michelle Edwards — The Miracle of “Ice”

“When I first heard, I was like, ‘What?!’ Then I went online to see who else had been inducted — Lin [Dunn], Yolanda [Griffith] and Jazz [Perazic]….  I mean, Lin Dunn was my coach [with the Seattle Storm]! Then I thought about all the great players that have not gotten in. Then I started thinking back on my career asking myself, ‘Was I really that good?’ It blows my mind, when you really dissect it, because I’ve played with some great players.  And some great players came after me. I’m definitely humbled and feel blessed. I hope my teammates can come because I really want to thank them ….” Edwards took a deep breath and regrouped, as she looked ahead to next month’s formal induction ceremony. “I’m going to take it one day at a time and try my best to just take it all in.”

I ran out time and couldn’t do anything on the 1976 US Women’s Basketball team (the first to play in the Olympics), but I can pull up some old stuff I did.

In case you don’t remember, here’s the team:

NAME
POS
HGT
WGT
AGE
SCHOOL HOMETOWN
Cindy Brogdon
F
5-10
155
19
Tennessee Buford, GA
Nancy Dunkle
C
6-2
155
21
California State Fullerton Fullerton La Habra, CA
Lusia Harris
F
6-2
180
21
Delta State Minter City, MS
Pat Head
F
5-10
155
24
Tennessee-Martin Ashland City, TN
Charlotte Lewis
C
6-2
180
20
Illinois State Peoria, IL
Nancy Lieberman
F
5-9
140
18
Far Rockaway H.S. Far Rockaway, NY
Gail Marquis
F
5-11
165
21
Queens College St. Albans, NY
Ann Meyers
G
5-8
135
20
UCLA La Habra, CA
Mary Anne O’Conner
G
5-10
158
23
Southern Connecticut State Fairfield, CT
Patricia Roberts
F
6-1
150
21
Tennessee Monroe, GA
Sue Rojcewicz
G
5-7
135
22
Southern Connecticut State Worcester, MA
Juliene Simpson
G
5-6
156
23
John F. Kennedy College Roselle Park, NJ
HEAD COACH: Billie Moore, Cal State University, Fullerton
ASSISTANT COACH: Sue Gunter, Stephen F. Austin University (TX)
MANAGER: Jeanne Rowlands, Northeastern Univ. (MA)
ATHLETIC TRAINER: Gail Weldon, Western Illinois University

In 1976, the US team had to qualify for the Olympics. As the USA Basketball site mentions: the USA finished in a distant eighth place at the 1975 FIBA World Championship. When the team traveled to the 1976 Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Ontario, most “experts” gave them little chance to earn a berth to the Montreal Games. So, when they DID, they didn’t have a budget and the didn’t have a practice space. Famously, Bill Wall used his own American Express to cover expenses and Hunter Lowe (of Kodak All-American fame) stepped up and found space up in Rochester. Eventually, this “unexpected team” won a silver medal, falling to the powerhouse Soviets in the finals.

From the archives: Lucy Harris, who scored the first basket in the Olympics

The 6’3” Harris-Stewart is considered by many to be the prototypical modern center. Born February 10, 1955, in Minter City, Miss., she grew up watching her equally tall older sister win high school championships. “Most people don’t realize how organized [girls’] basketball was in Mississippi during that time,” she explained. “In my area, it was a money-drawing event.” “I used to love watching her play,” said Harris-Stewart of her sister. “She could really handle that ball. When I went to Amanda Elzy High School in Greenwood, we had the same coach, Conway Stewart. That was so awesome, to be able to play for someone who loved the game.” Harris-Stewart remembers coach Stewart talking about the game and keeping a cool head. “He talked to me a whole lot about keeping my composure and not to do things to be thrown out of a game. Because,” she admitted with a sly smile, “even though I was a shy person, I would get you back on the court.” 

A little Nancy Lieberman, Ann Meyers and 1970’s AAU basketball

 “If anyone’s telling you they were aware, they’re not telling you the truth,” said Nancy Lieberman, who competed with the AAU team the New York Chuckles in 1978. “It was basketball, and that’s what made it so pure. We didn’t know the politics, the dynamics. We didn’t know about Title IX, we didn’t know about AIAW. All we knew about was basketball. It was competitive. It was pure. People didn’t complain about playing time. Nobody was trying to get a commercial. Everybody was paid the same thing: nothing.” Carol Blazejowski, who played for the Allentown Crestettes, concurred. “I had just graduated from college (Montclair State), and I was playing in as many games as I could to stay in shape for the ’80 Olympics. It was just ‘get in the game.’ Once you graduated from college, where were you going to play? Hooking up with an AAU team was the ‘bridge,’ if you will. Either into extinction or, if you were pretty good, it was a holding place until the Olympics or USA Basketball geared up.”

A little USA Basketball history:

When the United States joined the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) as a member in 1934, it was the Amateur Athletic Union (a very different beast than the AAU of today) that FIBA first recognized as the organization responsible for USA teams in international competitions. While the AAU had been holding U.S. women’s basketball championships in since 1929, the 1953 World Championship marked the very first time a major international basketball competition was held for women. Until the early 1970′s, staff and players for those teams were drawn from AAU teams, sometimes known as Industrial teams, with names like Nashville Business CollegeMidland Jewelry, Raytown Piperettes and the Hutcherson Flying Queens. AAU All-Americans like Katherine Washington,Doris Rogers and Colleen Bowser competed under the direction of coaches like John HeadHarley Redin and Alberta Cox. ABAUSA, or the Amateur Basketball Association of the United States of America, emerged in 1974 after a 10-year struggle between the AAU and other U.S. basketball organizations for control of the USA’s international teams. With the recognition of ABAUSA by FIBA, international teams and coaches began to be drawn almost exclusively from the collegiate ranks. The first team fielded by ABAUSA was for the 1975 World Championships. Though coached by Cathy Rush of Immaculata College, it included none of Rush’sMighty Macs,” instead featuring such players as Lusia Harris,Nancy DunkleAnn Meyers and Pat Head (later Summitt). Choosing Rush as coach “really was a no-brainer,” admitted Bill Wall, Executive Director of ABAUSA from 1974-1992,Margaret Wade having retired and Cathy having just won three straight AIAW titles with Immaculata.”

From the old WHB site, 2009:

Ted first talked about Hunter on this blog in 2005, when he was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.In February of ’08, we wrote about the Hunter and his Kodak All-Americans when State Farm took over the AA sponsorship.Hunter died this past September, and Sherri Coale spoke to Low’s impact.

Recently, others offered their reflections on Hunter Low:

Betty Jaynes, former head coach of Madison College (Harrisonburg, VA) from (1970-82).

On meeting Hunter.

[In 1975] we had that national AIAW championship and I happen to also be the tournament director. That was the year Eastman Kodak decided that they would have a Kodak All-America team. I was on the committee to select — as well as the Championship chair — and that is where my life crossed with Hunter.

He walked into our gym one January with a whole entourage of Eastman Kodak folks to sit down and talk with me about how we could have a meeting place for the Kodak committee and the kinds of things that we could do with a group. At that time the AIAW would not let a sponsor have any type of appearance or recognition at the championships site. So our plan was, once the players were flown into Harrisonburg, to bus them in to Washington DC where we could have the Kodak luncheon and the presentation.

[Eventually] the AIAW got a little bit better at allowing Kodak to be near the championship, so about two or three years later we are able to bring the players in and have our own luncheon in the city where the championship was.

Talk about Hunter’s role in the founding of the WBCA.

He was instrumental in that because, in 1980, the NCAA decided that they would take over women’s sports. When they did that, the AIAW sued them for antitrust (and eventually lost). Hunter was very concerned about where the Kodak All-Americans would be housed — they had a contract with the AIAW and it was no longer in existence.

He encouraged me, along with many other coaches, to form a Coaches Association so that we would have our own identity, no matter what area we played — whether it was the NCAA or the NAIA, or NJCAA — no matter what it was, we could bring our coaching profession under a Coaches Association and have our own identity about strategies, awards and be political about our rules and regulations.

He sponsored the original group that met in Syracuse. Norfolk [VA, 1982] was our organizing committee, and the group that met in Syracuse during the Olympic Festival was sort of a sounding committee. They came together and decided, yes this is what we’re going to do. And he was responsible for housing that group and getting them to the meetings.

How did he connect with women’s basketball?

He had two daughters Valerie and Elizabeth – and one of them played. His wife Jody has always been heavily involved in this whole All-American thing. She said for years he went away to be with all these women, and she finally got pretty much tired of it, so she decided she’d tag along. And she falls in love with everybody and everybody falls in love with her and then Hunter says, “Now wait a minute. This is my gig!” (Laughs)

Hunter had always been involved with the American Football Coaches Association in doing their Eastman awards. You’ve got to understand that he’s a Kodak man. He was in film and the football coaches had film every Saturday. They filmed the games, they sent it Kodak and they processed it, and it was back in their hands the next day. I think he saw men’s and women’s basketball as the potentials for the use of that film. I think that was his whole thing. That’s why Kodak was the official imager of the women’s basketball committee.

Was he connected to the 1991 book of women’s basketball photographs, “At the Rim”?

His boss was responsible for that, Ray Mouland (?). Ray was really into the imaging and so he said that if we would help to get all female photographers — that was part of it. It had to be all-female photographers. We did all of that legwork for them — signed the players and the teams and the coaches — and then they put together the sports information groups, like in Virginia, and got the female photographer there. Then they went through and picked out the photographs.

That was a real exciting time for me because they let me go to Rochester and see all the pictures. I had no input, but it was just an absolutely amazing kind of thing to watch all that transpire. And then the deal was that every member of the WBCA would get a copy.

I love the one of Muffet McGraw and her baby. He went away as a [college] freshman this year. It’s just amazing how all these things transpire.

Describe the man to somebody who never met him.

Well Hunter was very big in stature — I want to say maybe 6’3” or 6’4” — a big, overpowering, gentlemen. You would think that he would be rough, but he was a gentleman’s gentleman. That’s my sister’s comment, that he was a gentleman’s gentleman. But that’s what he was — he was tender, very caring. Exceptionally polite to everyone and very gracious when he was introduced to someone.

He loved to all of the All-Americans. They always remembered him. They would write to him and communicate with him. Ann Meyers Drysdale was one of his favorites. He loved Nancy Lieberman. And Jody Conradt. Lin Dunn, who coaches the Indiana Fever. Billie Moore, the ‘76 Olympic coach, because he was responsible for taking care of a lot of their housing and their practices in Rochester.

I loved being around Hunter and his sidekick Bill Orr. Bill was with Tel Ra Productions in Philadelphia. Bill always provided a videotape of the Kodak All-Americans that we distributed to all of our [WBCA] members, and our members would show the highlights of these players during their camps. That’s the only kind of video that they had, the Kodak All-American videos. I think that’s why so many young girls coming up through the system said that they wanted to be a Kodak All-American. They learned it from their experiences during summer camps.

He just loved to the fact that women received recognition. Even before the Kodak, the early days of 70’s, the latter part of 60’s, he was involved with basketball clinics in the Poconos. It was a Kodak clinic. He funded those and that then fell into the Kodak All-American. And it just kept rolling. He was just extraordinary.

Pat Summitt, University of Tennessee

Hunter Low was a great friend of women’s basketball for many, many years. I first met Hunter in 1976 when he helped to arrange a place where our women’s Olympic basketball team could train in Rochester before we headed to Montreal for the Olympic Games.

He was passionate about the game of women’s basketball and was instrumental in the development of the Kodak All-America team. There was no better person, father or friend to the game than Hunter.

Kathy Harston (Wayland Baptist and a 1978 Kodak All-American)

Hunter Low saw the exuberance and passion that women’s college basketball players played with and was instrumental in helping make women’s college basketball what it is today.”

Ann Meyers Drysdale (UCLA 1974-’78. First player, male, or female, named to Kodak’s All-America team in four straight seasons)

Hunter, Hunter, Hunter! He really was a special man and friend. I am so sad to hear the news.

He took care of me when the first Kodak team was named. Since I was the only freshman, he sent me a round trip ticket. Or did I pick it up at the airport (LAX)? Remember in those days (1975) tickets were hand written. I was babysitting as my Mom and Dad went up to Oregon to watch UCLA and my brother David play at in the NCAA tournament. I don’t remember how Hunter worked it out with my folks to get me to fly cross country — but he did. Then when I was flying back home out of Reagan Airport (it wasn’t Reagan yet) I had thrown my airplane ticket away, because I had already used it (one way) and didn’t think I needed the receipt (which was the other leg home), but who knew? Hunter had to go to the counter and get my ticket rewritten and explain the WHOLE thing! :>)

My sophomore year in Minnesota, Hunter had a big birthday cake for me and had all the All-Americans sing Happy Birthday to me.

Hunter was great with EVERYONE! But he and I hit it off and he and Jody became very special friends in my life. He was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. We were so lucky to see the world through Hunter’s eyes and heart. He was special to so many and made our world a better and happier place to be in!

Jody Conradt, former head coach at Texas (1976-2007)

Talk about Hunter’s “hidden” legacy.

I think in our sport we have a tendency — I mean in the general public — to think this is something that just started in the 1970’s. At that point in time there just wasn’t as much focus on women’s basketball the way it is in certain situations now. So therefore people that weren’t involved at that point in time probably don’t have an appreciation for what Kodak’s contributions was and the fact that that contribution happened solely because of Hunter Lowe.

Describe Hunter to people who’d never met him.

I used to always think about his sense of humor. His sense of humor and how he had a wonderful recall. You could not see him for months — almost years — and you would be in his presence and he would remember obscure details about the last time you saw him, or about your team. Just wonderful recall.

Nancy Lieberman, Old Dominion University (Kodak All-American 1978, ’79, ’80)

Talk about what Hunter’s role in the growth women’s basketball

I had sent a letter to his family. I just wanted them to know what he meant to all of us and to women’s basketball. He did things…Kodak didn’t have to support women’s basketball or the all-American team. They were one of the first people to really step up, not with a toe in but with a full commitment. We’re talking about the early 70s. It wasn’t a popular thing to do, but he was so passionate.

He had a vision. He was so real. There was nothing pretentious about him he could make the call. He had the ability to write the check. Or tell the people that needed to write the check. And he did.

I couldn’t wait to give him a hug because this man just genuinely loved women’s sports. He just treated us like we were gold. Really, some of my experiences around Hunter were some of the first experiences that I had — eating at a nice restaurant or staying in nice hotels. I mean, I was a poor kid from New York. In ‘76 I was 17 — I turned 18 in Montreal (at the Olympics). Hunter was real protective of me because he knew I was so young and that I probably was a little out of my element. He always made me feel so comfortable. You don’t forget that.

What Hunter stories do you have?

I can’t tell you how many times I had dinner with him in Rochester or when he was with us with USA basketball or with the Kodak team. He loved to tell this story my senior year we’re at the Kodak All-American banquet. Inge Nissen, my teammate who was 24 — at the time we were all like 22 or something, but she was very mature because of her European background– and Inge is sitting at the Kodak All-American table with me with a cognac in one of those big glasses. Her hand is on the bottom and she’s swirling it around, and smoking a cigarette and kids are coming up, “Oh, Miss Nissen, I want to be like you one day!”

And I’m just sitting there and Hunter’s going, “You want to die of smoke inhalation and be inebriated?” [Laughs] I was such a nerd. I didn’t smoke, I didn’t drink, I didn’t do drugs, but she was so mature. Hunter loved telling that story — it was the darndest thing I’ve ever seen because, you know, she was so much older and mature. We laughed.

Talk about his legacy.

I think the hardest thing for people like me is that we didn’t see him enough, after we had a measure of success, to say thank you. And that’s the thing you kick yourself in the behind about. It’s the simplest thing to just be able to just say, “Hey thanks for everything.” And you lose those opportunities. And I’m really sorry, on a personal note, because we only saw him at events.

We were his family and his family was our family. He treated one and all like family. And he has decades and decades of us on posters. All you have to do is take a look at them and you’ll know. That’s the key to life.

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All hail the “weaker” sex

Go, Diana, go!

Happy Labor Day, indeed!

Gertrude would have been proud.

“I knew it could be done, it had to be done, and I did it.”

— Gertrude Ederle

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Well, before everybody starts complaining about how UConn’s dominance is bad for the game (I’m doing a private countdown), let’s address the fact that, for some folks, we’re already at the “Is this as good as it gets” stage: Women’s college basketball plateaus

Back in 1995, when Connecticut won its first NCAA championship in women’s basketball, the sport seemed ready to explode.

The attention Rebecca Lobo, Jen Rizzotti and the rest of the Huskies received from the adoring media, especially in the New York City area, helped fuel a “Year of the Woman” campaign for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and the birth of the WNBA a year later.

Title IX triumphs!

But as the confetti fell on UConn’s eighth title team Tuesday night in the New Orleans Arena, there was the general feeling that women’s basketball, both on and off the court has plateaued.

I’m always amused by folks who think women’s basketball will grow in an uninterrupted line upwards, or that somehow “social agendas” — read “empowering women,” “fighting sexism,” “fighting homophobia,” “advocating for equal opportunities” — are hindering the game’s growth. (Is there anything that DOESN’T have a “social agenda”?)

That’s why, while I love the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, it also frustrates the hell out of me. Why?  Because it lays out the history of women’s basketball as if it were a natural, fight-free progression. It was not. And is still not.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: imagine if the small-minded, homophobic and sexist folks hadn’t won the battle to ban girls basketball in the mid ’20’s and 30’s. Consider what was happening at the turn of the century:

When Doctor Naismith joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 1898 basketball was generally regarded in Kansas college circles as a woman’s sport. This could scarcely have been surprising to its inventor, for girls had begun playing it in the East when it was barely a month old. Coeds on Mount Oread experimented with it as early as 1896, the Kansas University Weekly reporting on November 21 that the girls had organized several teams and that the freshman and sophomore girls hoped to play a match game. There is no record of this contest, if it was played, but if the young women carried out their plan it probably was the first basketball game on a Kansas campus.

In 1897 their athletic facilities were enlarged. A space was reserved to be used as an athletic field for women and facilities were provided for an open-air basketball court. [2] The women of Baker University first played the game in the spring of 1897, when the contest between the Delta Delta Delta team and one picked from the other girls of the university was a feature of the first spring field day, according to The Baker Orange of May 19. Girls pioneered in basketball at Washburn College, Ottawa University and Emporia Normal, as well as at K.U. and Baker. TheWashburn Weekly Review announced on November 3, 1898, that “we may expect our young ladies to issue a challenge to some of the neighboring schools for a basketball game before long,” and reported a week later that they were learning the fine points of the new pastime at the Y.W.C.A. gymnasium in Topeka.

Heck, what might have happened if THIS sentiment had prevailed in the men’s game:

Veteran basketball men say that one factor that prevented basketball from becoming a major sport during the first decade of its existence as a Kansas college game was that men students regarded the game as effeminate.

Where would our game be if it had grown in lock-step with the men’s game? Yes, it probably would look different on the court — sort of how men’s gymnastics is different than women’s gymnastics — BUT off the court?:

  • Perhaps the fan bases would grow at an equal level (’cause, back in the day, they were huge for both girls and boys teams).
  • Perhaps coaches would have been equally paid and respected. For instance, maybe a reporter would be asking, “Would Coach Mike Krzyzewski have been successful coaching in the women’s game?”
  • Perhaps college athletic scholarships, offered to men as early as the 1870’s, would have also been offered women, as opposed to having to be legislated. ‘Cause, as we know, even legislation, most universities are still not in compliance.
  • Perhaps the homophobic bullying tossed at women’s basketball players would be called out/challenged directly by coaches, parents and the media and called out for the hate speech it is. Perhaps, then, Kim Mulkey would not feel the ned to play the ostrich, but be a leader amongst coaches who say “Enough is enough.”

I’m not offering the above “what ifs” as an excuse, but as an example of how things ain’t so simple and/or cut and dried when it comes to women’s athletics. Knowing history is essential to making progress.

So, I look forward to reading Val Ackerman’s “White Paper,” in which, she will present her findings on her “comprehensive assessment of the current state of intercollegiate women’s basketball” and present “her conclusions and recommendations about how best to position and manage the sport.”

  • Revenue generation
  • Marketing and television strategies
  • Image and branding
  • Youth/grass-roots tie-ins
  • Cost structures
  • Scheduling
  • Governance/management
  • Championships

The above points of focus center on topics one might call “hard skills” involving money, tactics and personnel, which is essential to developing strategic plans for growing the game. That is, IF the NCAA actually has the will (and personel) to take action. There have been earlier studies on improving all of the above — with grants given out by the NCAA in 2010 — but for some reason (yes, I can think of some) schools seemed unwilling to adopt identified “Best Practices.” And there was nothing the NCAA could do about making them because universities are independent beings. (Sound familiar, WNBA?)

I’m going to guess that Val’s paper will NOT address “political” issues such as university funding of sports or homophobia within and without the sports. That being said, there does seem to be a sea change happening (and a corresponding backlash – did you see this reaction to the firing of Rice?), primarily led by student-athletes.

Recall this from 2012: Athlete Ally: Hudson Taylor tackles homophobia

The gay jokes. The homophobic slurs, those comments uttered so habitually on the practice mats that no one stops to notice what they actually mean or whom they hurt. They stung Hudson Taylor.

Wear an equal rights sticker on your helmet during a match and we’ll have a hard time cheering for you, some of his Maryland teammates warned. Their words clawed at Taylor, tore at him the way their words tore at so many athletes never bold enough to speak out before. He wondered if by taking this stance he was actually hindering his cause, if his teammates were becoming more homophobic simply because he asked them not to be.

“Sometimes, 18- to 22-year-old young men don’t realize how much an impact their words have,” said Maryland wrestling coach Kerry McCoy. “Hudson brought that issue to the forefront for our team.”

Yes, I wish coaches would speak out more. But, I do understand the fear factor: did you see this from The Tucker Center?  Examining Online Intercollegiate Head Coaches’ Biographies: Reproducing or Challenging Heteronormativity and Heterosexism? Writes Pat Griffin:

Let’s look at the decision whether or not to include a description of one’s family in a professional bio through the lens of heterosexism.  For a heterosexual married coach or athletic administrator, this decision is relatively minor.  Being heterosexual and married with children is what is expected and accepted. Heterosexuals freely share this information in a million little ways every day: wearing a wedding ring, placing family photos on a desk in the office, having casual conversations with colleagues about family, bringing family to department social and sports events. Why wouldn’t she or he want to include this information in a bio? There is no real down side to providing information about a heterosexual spouse and children. To the contrary, in a sports world where many high school recruits and their parents, athletic directors or the general public still view non-heterosexuals in negative ways, this “evidence” of heterosexuality can be read as a big plus, whether intended as such or not: The coach is not gay! 
Through the same lens of heterosexism, the factors affecting the decision of lesbian, gay or bisexual coaches in same-sex relationships to include their family information in a professional bio are quite different from those of their heterosexual colleagues.  Their decision is a big deal in ways that it is not for heterosexual coaches.  Here is why – Lesbian, bisexual and gay coaches carefully consider this decision because it can open the coach to professional and personal risk in a world where heterosexism is the norm.  Only 16 states and the District of Columbia have laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. There are no federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Many coaches work in schools that do not even have institutional non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation or gender identity. As a consequence, most lesbian, bisexual and gay coaches have no legal protection against discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

So, maybe the tipping point will be led outside of the college arena. How can you not draw hope from this?

NHL, Players Union Launch Initiative To Battle Homophobia

The National Hockey League and its players union launched an initiative today that it hopes will stamp out homophobia from the game.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman tells our Newscast unit that the partnership with You Can Play is intended to send a message that everyone is welcome in the NHL as a player or a fan.

“This is really about celebrating diversity, whether or not it’s your national origin, the color of your skin or your sexual orientation, and making you feel comfortable that whoever you are you can have a place you can play,” Bettman said.

And while there is this (NFL More Homophobic Than Ever, Asking Prospects If They’re Gay and The NFL Sets the Standard for Homophobia) there is also this and this Donté Stallworth, Wide Receiver, Joins Group Fighting Homophobia In Sports

“I think it’s important for us as professional athletes not only to set the tone in our own respective fields, but also for the kids who are watching our programs or our sports,” he said. “If you isolate a child and teach them hate, hate, hate, that’s the way they’re going to grow up. … And unfortunately, that’s the environment that I grew up in. There was a lot of disrespect for gays. I unfortunately was a part of that. But as I got older, I became more ashamed of that and more open to rights for all.”

Yes, I see women’s basketball as being more than “just basketball.” I can enjoy the game for the game’s sake — niche sport or not. But I also enjoy the fact that it can have a bigger role: It can challenge our preconceived notions and push us to consider our conscious (and unconscious) biases about the “natural state” of the world around us. Why would anyone want to shy away from do that?

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messin’ with dem boyz whoz wants to play sports. Charts: The State of Women’s Athletics, 40 Years After Title IX

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Bernice Sandler, who helped draft the legislation back in 1972recently told ESPN, “The only thought I gave to sports when the bill was passed was, ‘Oh, maybe now when a school holds its field day, there will be more activities for the girls.'” During the Senate hearings on the bill—aside from one Senator’s crack about coed football which drew hearty guffaws—sports weren’t mentioned at all.

My, how things change. Forty years later, despite the important impact it’s had in other areas, from math and science education to the rights of pregnant students, Title IX is best known for transforming women’s athletics. In 1972, just 1 in 27 girls participated in high school sports; today, about two in five do, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. The number of women playing at the college level has skyrocketed by more than 600 percent. (Incidentally, these days coed football teams aren’t a joke either.)

Yet progress towards gender equity in sports has been uneven and incomplete. Here are five charts showing what’s changed—and what hasn’t—since Title IX’s passage in 1972.

At the heart of it, when you get through all the gender stereotyping and social backwardness (easy, no?) these days, the big issue is about money. Sharing the pie. About how to divide a limited pie to feed various mouths. And everyone knows that Athletic Directors (overwhelmingly male) make the money decisions. And (mostly) they’re not interested in equity. If they were, there would be no need for Title IX.

So, when the male AD decides that the last 10 football players – the ones who never get in to the game – are more important than, say, the best 10 male wrestlers, or the 5 fabulous female fencers… Well, that’s not the fencers’ fault because they’ve somehow developed an “interest” fencing because they caught a glimpse of Mariel Zagunis. Or the wrestlers’ fault because they’ve somehow developed an “interest” wrestling having  caught a glimpse of Rulon Gardner. It is a choice that ADs are making because they’re scared of football.

So, while I understand that the whimpy, lazy default is to blame women for having the temerity to be interested in the higher education opportunities that sports scholarships offer, I’d be more impressed if folks like Doug at the Deseret grew a set (so to speak) and looked at the facts and didn’t hide behind his threatened ego. I guess we know who Nikes “Voices were talking about:

I’m not saying the choices are easy — especially in these economic times when educators should really be looking carefully at what they’re spending on athletics and why. But lazy reporting and opinionating gets us nowhere. Women and men “just wanna play ball.” What’s the best way to help all of them do that?

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since July 20th. Thanks, Doug Robinson, Deseret News:  Women win big in Games — at what cost?

At the risk of raining on the you-go-girl parade, there is downside to the story, and you wonder why it has gone unnoticed and unnoted: The rise of the women has come at the expense of the men.

Universities, the lifeblood of Olympic sports in America, have been slashing men’s sports to comply with the federal government’s misguided demand for 1 to 1 proportionality — if 51 percent of a school’s enrollment are women, then 51 percent of the athletic scholarships must go to women, despite the original intent of the law that stated Title IX would be used to reflect interest and not as a quota system. Universities cut men’s sports to even up the numbers because A.) football has 100 or so players on the roster and there isn’t a women’s football team, and B.) there isn’t as much interest in athletics among females.

It is always impressive to find a writer with such a stunted vision of facts. Where to start, where to start? How about here.

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Women’s Olympic success: a flood that began as a trickle

Because this is how it happens: In 1976, Margaret Thompson Murdock became the first woman shooter ever make an American team. She might have been a token, but she was also a major in the U.S. Army, and she tied with her team captain Lanny Bassham in a rifle event for gold. Olympic rules prohibited a shoot-off, so the gold medal went to Bassham, while she got the silver. As the anthem played, Bassham pulled her up on the podium with him.

This is how it happens: In the 1984 Los Angeles Games, only 24 percent of the athletes were women. In the 1992 Barcelona Games, they were only 25 percent of the competitors. By the 1996 Games it increased to 36 percent, and by the 2008 Beijing Games, that figure exploded to 42 percent, and in London it was 44 percent, with every country sending at least one woman. The International Olympic Committee’s goal is 50-50 participation eventually. But an even more important benchmark would be to make the medal opportunities equal. Because that means that someday, as 17-year-old gold medalist Claressa Shields said, “There will be 30 of us in every event, and they will treat us fair.”

Also from the WaPo: U.S. women Olympians ‘hoping we have a million little girls who are inspired’

The U.S. team’s dominance, fueled by women who rolled up 29 golds and 59 total medals, defied the pre-Games speculation of London organizing committee leader Sebastian Coe.

“The only thing Seb got slightly wrong is he predicted we would come in behind China in the medal count,” USOC Chairman Larry Probst said Saturday, adding later, “We’re pretty happy about that. . . . Yeah, we like to come in first.”

First place makes a difference to the USOC, the only national Olympic committee that receives no government funding (WHB emphasis). The organization relies on donations from corporations and individuals to provide support for its athletes.

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a team of women.

 

Imagine what would happen if 100% of colleges and high schools were in compliance with Title IX.

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of covering the USA Women’s team than ESPN.

Here’s a story on one of my favorite Olympians: Cut from Team in 2010, Augustus Back to Claim Second Gold

Even though I thought it was a long shot and maybe a lot of other people thought it was a long shot for me to make this team, I just kept my focus,” she said. “Coach Auriemma and his coaching staff did a great job of finding great motivating words to help me push forward.”

“I think over the last two years she’s worked herself back into the team and has overcome more than any other player that we have,” said Auriemma. “I feel a strong sense of commitment and obligation to her to kind of reward her for how hard she has worked. I’m really, really proud of her.”

Here’s a video put together by the NBA/WNBA crew.

Rich Elliot captured a little of Auriemma’s Chat About The Olympics On WTIC-AM 1080

Q: Is there any team in your group that you are concerned with more than any other?

A: “In the end, the teams that everyone has been talking about has been the U.S. and Australia and Russia and the Czech Republic. The difference in international basketball is every team has experienced players that have played so much basketball together and against each other to the point where there’s no secrets, there’s no surprises. And that’s why I think the games are always so competitive, for the most part, because there really isn’t any situation where a real veteran team is coming up against a young team, an inexperienced team or a team that doesn’t have enough scorers to make life miserable for you. So lots of teams are really good. But I think those teams are probably the ones that are going to get the most attention.’’

From Brennan at USA Today: Finally: It’s all about the women at the London Olympics

It took 116 years, but the Olympic Games will finally enter the 20th century before too much more of the 21st goes by.

Nearly all the 205 nations marching into Friday’s opening ceremony will have at least one woman competing. It required a lot of arm-twisting for the ultimate holdout, Saudi Arabia, to relent, but even the world’s most chauvinistic Olympic nation has fallen in line, sending two women — a judo player and 800-meter runner — to compete in London.

Perhaps it was the peer pressure from Brunei and Qatar.

Those most traditional old boys’ clubs caved this time, too, giving International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge a clear victory in what has been an extremely uneven journey to some semblance of gender equity at an event that once was as discriminatory as Augusta National Golf Club.

I just want to add side note here: At the 2011 Final Four, Brennan was part of a panel, and she mentioned how USA Today had turned off comments on her articles because the majority of them were homophobic, misogynistic men – women and male allies simply weren’t interested in (or were unwilling to) posting. The comments are ON for this article. Just saying.

Oh, and another side note: From Christine’s article

To be fair, we’re talking about a long time ago, 1896 to be exact, when Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the modern Olympics, forbidding women because, as he reasoned, it would be “impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and incorrect.”

Guess whose grandma and great-aunt (Louise and Nancy Van Voorhees) were part of a group of women who traveled to the Aug. 20, 1922, competition at Pershing Stadium in Paris: The first international track meet for women.

Federation Sportive Feminine Internationale (FSFI) of France after the International Olympic Committee refused to include women’s track and field events in the 1920 Olympic Games. The Meet was commonly referred to in that day as the Women’s Olympic Games. The U.S. team placed second to the more experienced team from Great Britain.

My grandmother died when I was 11, so even though I’d heard my mom talk about Grammy “being in the Olympics,” I never got to speak with her about her experiences. In fact, in putting the wbball timeline together, I realized she COULDN’T have been in “the” Olympics — because women weren’t allowed. But I did start googling her name every now and then — which produced the linked page (started by a librarian at Columbia College who’d heard that one of the female professors had “been in the Olympics.” Ah, the story of women’s history…) and put the truth to the family stories.

This does explain why my mom was – and is — such a beautiful athlete. I, unfortunately, inherited neither Grammy’s skill nor her height. But I’m thinking this explains where my orneriness comes from….

Fans Taking Action Alert: From an email to the WHB: “Interesting non-response to my inquiry.” (Gotta appreciate the dry sarcasm – don’t know that Johnel caught it.)

Recently you requested assistance from our email support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.

Subject: The rest of USA basketball

Customer By Web Form

Question: Are there only men involved in USA basketball?

Response

Hello,

Thank you for choosing SportsToday. While there are women on the USA Basketball team, we have not yet received information or stock on the Women’s team merchandise. Please check back on our site for updated merchandise.

If you have any further questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

Johnel Trammell
Customer Service
http://www.sportstoday.com
Toll Free (US): 800-927-7821

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Nike: Make the Rules – Voices

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A Q&A with Coach Stringer about the 40th Anniversary of Title IX

When you think back on your life, how might it have been different with Title IX?

I didn’t have the advantage of a Title IX. As a result, I saw women in the more traditional roles (housewife, teacher, etc.). Now, you see women doing everything. They’re CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. I think, with Title IX, I might have been given a full scholarship to play basketball. Think about it, maybe I would’ve wanted to become a doctor. Who knows? But I couldn’t have done that. Look at how many women simply couldn’t afford to go to college. I was a poor kid.

Another Q&A, this time with Ann Meyers Drysdale: The former basketball star, the first female athlete to receive a four-year scholarship from UCLA, discusses the landmark equal-rights legislation Title IX (passed 40 years ago) and her new memoir

Q: What athletic performance — your own included — would you point to as the ultimate validation of Title IX?

“For me, it has to be my own. . . . We didn’t have enough money for me to ever attend UCLA, but because of Title IX, I got an education at UCLA. I think my Pacers tryout is part of the history of Title IX, as well. I know Lynette Woodard, an All-American at Kansas, told me it gave her the courage to try out for the Harlem Globetrotters, and I’d hope it gave others the courage to pursue their dreams.”

Michelle Smith writes about a couple of folks who’ve benefited from Title IX: Guard play puts Sun atop East

Kara Lawson, in her 10th season in the league, is experiencing the best start of her career. Through Sunday, she is averaging 13.8 points a game (second on the team) and has scored in double figures in 10 straight contests. Through 12 games, she has established career-best numbers in scoring, minutes played (29.0), field goal percentage (52.5), 3-point percentage (47.1) and free throw percentage (94.9).

Lawson, in the best shape of her career after switching to a vegan diet late in 2011, is also motivated to avoid being brought off the bench again as she was last season.

“It wasn’t something that I liked, but I don’t think anybody likes that,” Lawson said. “Nobody grows up dreaming of coming off the bench or wanting to be a role player. Everybody wants an opportunity to play a significant role and I would expect nothing less.”

Missed Mechelle’s chat from last week, and she was in rare form:

Judith (Broiling in DC):  After the Mystics’ loss to NY on June 8 that dropped DC to 1-5, Trudi Lacey required every player on the the team to write her a letter, at least one-page long, about why the team couldn’t finish and was losing. Since then, they eked out a 1-point win over Indy (scoring only 7 points in the last quarter), were blown out by LA, and last night couldn’t beat the Mercury bench. If you were a Mystics player writing a letter today to Trudi, what would it say?

Mechelle Voepel: “Trade me, please?” But that woudn’t take up a whole page, unless I wrote in first-grade script. I just think the vibe there is hard to overcome. Although I guess you could say there are a few other WNBA teams now that aren’t experiencing roses and sunshine, either.

From Richard (you can tell he’s an Alien because he insists on adding extra vowels.): WNBA Today, 06/24/2012: Favourites all cement their superiority. Just.

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday – it’s been a busy few days in WNBAlien-land. Everything should be back to normal next week. For now, we’re going to catch up on Friday night’s game, as well as everything that happened on Saturday. Everyone who was supposed to win eventually took care of business, but some of them did it with far greater ease than others.

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So, what does it mean that the

NBA/WNBA site has a big ole Title IX at 40 t-shirt on the front page, but when you search for Title IX it gets all confused and can’t seem to find the T?

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a little flashback, courtesy of Title IX’s birthday: From Lee over at Full Court Press, Title IX: Former Texas Longhorn reflects on era of change

Hiss, who served as director of physical training for women at UT for 36 years, was an interesting character. In some respects, she was a pioneer. Her own promotion to that rank in the gender-biased culture of that era was no small accomplishment. Hiss made two years of physical education mandatory for every “co-ed,” as the women on campus were called at the time, and worked tirelessly to acquire resources for women’s athletics, raising $400,000 for construction the women’s gym and surrounding tennis courts and playing fields and establishing a vital intramural sports and physical education program for women that included a variety of activities from tennis and golf to archery, swimming, posture and interpretive dance.

At the same time, like her mentor, First Lady Lou Henry Hoover, one of the early heads of the Girl Scouts of America and one of the founders of the National Amateur Athletic Foundation, Hiss was adamantly opposed to team sports and intercollegiate competition for women.  Both Hiss and Hoover also actively campaigned against the inclusion of women’s sports in the Olympics, with partial success – though female Olympians competed in individual sports, the U.S. did not field its first Olympic women’s basketball team until 1976.

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There have been some concern that, with Kim closing her womensbasketballonline.com site (and it is just that – closed) that the Women’s Basketball Timeline she hosted (and I put together in a fever induced summer of googling) would disappear.

Kim and I have chatted, and she sent over the files. I’ve turned them in to a new page (see here) on the blog.

It was fun reviewing the Timeline (and it’s cool that, because the site is searchable, so is the Timeline), but I shudder to think how many of the links are broken and/or missing. And, of course, there are odd gaps in the contemporary history because neither Kim nor I had the time or brain space to keep it up these last few years. Now? Well, I guess I know what my summer 2012 project is…

I invite any and all of you to peruse the beast. Send me links. Make corrections. Suggest additions. Forward it to your Athletic Directors! On my way back from Kentucky, I ran into the very personable AD of a DIII college — he was on his way to Denver to talk alcohol and drug abuse policy. We got to speaking about what he’s finding on his campus — women team athlete’s dropping from teams, if they’re not playing during games (and occasionally becoming superb solo athletes). I brought up the history of female athletes being pushed away from team sports in to solo sports — using Gertrude, Sonja and Babe as examples, and contrasting it with women’s basketball…No surprise, he had NO idea of the history of women’s basketball, much less the “one step forward, two…maybe three steps backward” process its been simply to offer women the same right to play basketball as men do. Consider this little gem from 1919:

Tennessee: Dr. Mary Douglas Ayres Ewell, graduate of Sophie Newcomb College for Women in 1917, played under Clara Baer. Mary Ayres returned to Knoxville in 1919 and was named coach for the University of Tennessee girls’ basketball team. In March 1920, UT women students, with Ayres’ approval, requested “equal rights and privileges” with male athletes including team travel to other colleges for athletic events, increased funding for the women’s program, and representation on the Athletic Council.

Happy birthday, Title IX.

By the way, I’ve asked Kim if I can host some of her fabulous resources: the women’s basketball library and Media Tips in particular. If there’s anything else you’re going to miss, holler (womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com) and I’ll see what can be done to fill the void.

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about nuthin’.

Except, of course, they do.

From NPR: 4th Grader Lets School Know She’s Got Rights (btw, GO MOM!)

When the girls basketball team was cut from Charlotte Murphy’s Pittsburgh school last year, the then 4th grader told the superintendent that the cut went against Title IX. For the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the law that prohibits schools from discriminating on the basis of sex, host Michel Martin talks to Murphy and Superintendent Linda Lane.

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Kim Callahan has decided to shut down her site, womensbasketballonline.com.

I would classify Kim high up in the ranks of what a friend recently identified as “amateurs who are more professional and passionate about the women’s game than most who are paid to cover or work in it.”

Those of her who’ve known her since the site was called “Chicks with Balls” can only gape and the number of early morning hours she spent gathering all the articles published online and organizing them in to one, readable page. And let’s not forget the endless extra hours she spent tabulating attendance, hunting down wnba media and team contact information, crafting her “lessons for advocacy” know as Media Tips, or hosting the women’s basketball timeline (information that has been sourced by various media outlets, big and small, not to mention numerous college students and a diverse group of history-curious individuals).

Ask her a question, and Kim has never failed to respond, either offering her information or directing you to the person who could offer you an answer.

Most people are lazy about their passions. They’ll indulge in them, but they rarely advocate for them. Kim did nothing BUT advocate.

I will miss her presence on the ‘net as much as I’ll miss her pointed humor and her constant support. The loss to women’s basketball is immeasurable.

Hey, Kim? “Chicks with Balls” rules!

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and not so….

Hmmm, Minny’s looking good. *thunderous knocking of wood by Lynx fans*

Tina “It’s fun to score” Charles had a good time with the Mystics.

No, I’m not thinking you called Prince as the scoring leader (so far) or Prahalis as the assist leader (so far). I do call, “WTF with the hair” in that picture of rebounding leader (so far) Big Syl, though.

Is there something about Stanford players and last second baskets? And, no, L.A., you can’t play Seattle for the rest of the season and geez, Roman, sensitive much? :-)  wnba.com showing West Coast bias by hyperventilating over L.A. Sparks

CP3 confusion ends, though there is a need for a copy editor: Dream Waives Courtney Parris (sic) To Make Room For Jessica Moore

40. It’s the new XI: Sky, WNBA to honor Title IX on uniforms

COLLEGE:

Thank you, Sherri: The Write Space and Time: June 3 – Leave your story better than you found it.

As coaching careers go, mine was born lucky. My grand introduction to women’s college basketball coincided with the collision between the old Big Eight and the Southwest Conference. Football power conference plus women’s basketball hotbed equals the Big 12 Conference, a new concept and a fertile breeding ground for explosive growth. Nationally speaking, women’s basketball was poised for a coming out party. New programs and personalities were on the scene, attendance was rising, television was flirting…lightning was begging to get captured in a bottle. I was new to the collegiate scene, barely cognizant of the perfect storm I had landed in the middle of, and yet there I sat at the table with the giants of our game.

I was young and dumb in 1996 and yet smart enough to be quiet (read: keep opinionated mouth shut) and pay attention. Pioneers in their prime were running the room. Marsha Sharp was the captain of this juggernaut known as Lady Raider Nation. She coached Sheryl Swoopes (who scored 47 points in the National Championship game and would become an Olympic Gold Medal winner) and together with their throng of faithful followers they won a National Championship and took west Texas and the country by storm. Jody Conradt sat at the table–a national title, an undefeated season, the architect of Texas Women’s Basketball and a figure so respected, and at times so imposing, that she could have run for governor in that enormous state. And she would have won. Across from her sat Ceal Barry, the Colorado coach whose teams won four Big Eight titles and whose tenacious man-to-man defense and post player development had been building blocks of my high school teams for years. I loved watching her win and I so admired how her team did it. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! At those early Big 12 spring meetings held in the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, it was often hard to tell if my shortness of breath came from the altitude or the luck of my draw for getting to be a mouse in that room.

I’m not sure what’s going on with the Tennessee athletic department, but it sounds unpleasant and hurtful.

Oh, Canada! Natalie Achonwa Named To Canadian Women’s Basketball Olympic Qualifying Team

Cheerio, mate! Harvard’s Fagbenle on Verge of Making British Olympic Team

There’s a new boss in Sioux Falls: Amy Williams named USD’s women’s basketball coach

Ditto in Charleston, IL (EIU Introduces Lee Buchanan As Women’s Basketball Head Coach) and almost in Edwardsville (Buscher or Brown will be new SIUE women’s basketball coach)

Tambien in the land of the Thundering Herd: Daniel named Marshall women’s basketball coach

Aussi in New York City: After helping build SHU women, NYU a natural for Hall-Gregory

Central Arkansas taps Delta State for their new boss: Cent. Arkansas announces Sandra Rushing as women’s basketball coach

Delaware (no, not the Blue Hens) State picks Tamika Louis As New DSU Women’s Basketball Head Coach

Still waiting at Tennessee Tech: Coaches chime in on TTU search

Need one in Buffalo: Buffalo women’s basketball coach Hill-MacDonald’s contract will not be renewed

The former coach with a towel has a new gig: Associate Commissioner of the A-10

Interesting. As the WBHOF welcomes its newest inductees, (Go, Red Heads!) it also has an expanded board that’s rather… orange. :-)

OTHER STUFF:

Leveling the playing field even more

Girls-only sleep-away camps and suburban athletic clinics have been around for decades, of course. DePaul University women’s basketball coach Doug Bruno has run a basketball camp for girls at North Central College in Naperville since 1980, for example. What’s different is that these businesses are run by women who personally benefited from the changes wrought by Title IX and see their for-profit businesses as having an overt social mission.

Barb Lazarus was cheering her son’s baseball game several years ago when she noticed girls on the adjoining field didn’t really know how to play. Their lack of skills spurred Ms. Lazarus, 52, to make a business of multisport instruction for girls. Her Game On Sports Camp 4 Girls, in Lake Forest and Chicago and a sleep-away camp in Michigan, is in its sixth year.

Yes, I’m worried that Taurasi might not be able to play in London (I think we’ll be okay if she doesn’t, but it would stink for her), but I have no concerns about the future of USA Basketball:
Speaking of USA Basketball: Women’s basketball: Geno lifts Meier higher
Despite the 28-year age difference, their relationship has leveled. The mental pummeling Taurasi endured as an 18-year-old at Connecticut is over.
“When we’re together, something’s got to give,” Auriemma said. “When she was 18, I win, you lose. Now? She wins, and I lose.”
Auriemma’s ease of concession is surprising. It’s not a duo known for capitulation.
“I got to say that because I need her for the next month,” Auriemma said with a laugh. “Check with me after August.
* * *
Taurasi’s chance for her third gold medal almost didn’t reach this point of give-and-take. A false-positive test for a banned substance while playing in Turkey in 2010 nearly derailed everything. Taurasi says she’s never taken anything illegal, and the lab admitted it screwed up, then was stripped of its accreditation. She almost lost basketball.
“I don’t know how that makes a person feel,” Kathy Auriemma said. “It’s devastating. She’s not a casual person, she feels things very deeply. She cares and she loves strongly, and I think she was very lost [afterward].”

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a visit to the Sports Economist blog brings me this interesting take from Victor Matheson who responds to Frank Deford’s lament: Where are the American women (golfers)?

Prior to Title IX and the explosion of women’s intercollegiate athletic programs, the potential for any economic returns for women athletes were limited to golf, tennis, and perhaps figure skating, meaning those sports should attract the best athletes. It’s should come as no surprise that Babe Didrikson Zaharias, probably the greatest female athlete of the 20th century, gave up track for a career in golf. In a world with large amounts of scholarship money available to college players, however, it is far from clear that golf or tennis provide the best opportunities for monetary rewards for female athletes.

A full athletic scholarship at my institution has a retail value of roughly $55,000 per year. While that’s a far cry from $2.9 million, it’s also much easier to attain. Fewer than 90 women’s golfers earned over $55,000 on the LPGA tour last year while over 60,000 women earned NCAA scholarships (although admittedly most of them were worth only a fraction of $55,000). Still, the total prize pool from all events on the LPGA last year was about $35,000,000 while the NCAA’s “prize pool” for women athletes outside of golf and tennis was about a billion dollars. Given these sorts of figures, it comes as no surprise that American women athletes have increasingly turned from golf and tennis to other sports where the reasonable chance of a small scholarship payout outweighs the nearly impossible chance of the “big bucks.”

Visiting the Title IX blog is always interesting. A recent post: Boys Excluded from Field Hockey Teams

What does Title IX say about this?  Contrary to suggestions in both stories, Title IX is not necessarily violated by a school that allows girls to try out for boys’ teams (football, say) but denies the same right to boys playing on girls’ teams.  For one reason, when it comes to contact sports, Title IX allows but does not require schools to allow cross-over participation.  There are some quirky definitions of contact sport out there — basketball is listed as a contact sport in the Title IX regulations — so it’s arguable field hockey shares this status as well.  More importantly, Title IX regulations recognize that girls’ athletic opportunities have “historically been limited,” which justifies their crossover participation in a way that does not apply to boys, who usually have and have always had more athletic opportunities overall.

Yet, I will throw out a Title IX argument in favor of Keeling Pilaro’s case.  Courts have held that once a school allows cross-over participation in situations where it is not required by Title IX, it may not then discriminate against that cross-over player on the basis of sex.  I would argue that Section XI has elected to allow Pilaro to play even though Title IX does not require it to do so. Therefore, it may not single him out for differential treatment based on sex. Clearly it has done so, as no girls are subject to the possibility of losing eligibility for being too good at the game.  Only Pilaro, because of his sex, faces the dilemma of playing well or playing at all.

Moreover, if I were in charge, I would opt to move the cross-over participation regulations out of the stone ages by (1) eliminating the contact sport exemption, which is blatantly rooted in sex stereotypes, and (2) requiring schools to allow cross-over participation to both sexes unless doing so would take away an actual opportunity from the underrepresented sex.

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it’s just work and a seriously annoying spring cold did their best to fell me. As if!

Did you catch this: Sports Illustrated’s Title IX Anniversary Issue Released; 12 Women’s Basketball Players On SI.com’s Top 40 List

Congrats and enjoy: Carroll’s Don Racine resigns as City League’s winningest girls hoops coach

Imagining that Don Racine would be the Bishop Carroll girls basketball coach for, well, ever never seemed too far-fetched.

Wednesday, though, Carroll announced Racine’s resignation after 33 seasons.

“I’ve enjoyed it. For me, it’s the best place for me to be coaching,” Racine said. “…All good things eventually come to an end. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Good, bad, indifferent. The kids are great, the administration, the families. I loved it all.”

Obviously lots of coaching shifts and, as a result, coaching openings happening.

Saint Louis hires former Badgers coach Lisa Stone. Some may wonder about this hire, but then they’re probably ignoring her pre-Wisconsin success. This might work out for both the Billikens and Stone.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff introduces Mississippi Valley State’s Kilbert as women’s basketball coach

UNCW tabs Adell Harris as women’s hoops coach

FAU hires Nebraska assistant as new women’s basketball coach

You stay put: New contract makes Kentucky’s Mitchell SEC’s highest-paid women’s basketball coach

An addition to the Jayhawks: Katie O’Connor Returns To Kansas Women’s Basketball Staff

An addition to the Vols: Warlick Names Law to Coaching Staff

Speaking of Tennessee: Warlick era under way in Knoxville – Coach influenced and motivated by dad’s love of sports

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick jokes that in her family, if you didn’t want to talk or participate in sports … you might have been tempted to try to find a new family. Her father, Bill, coached youth-league teams in basketball and baseball, and always encouraged her to play.

“Sports were just a part of our family; that’s what we discussed and what we did,” said Warlick, who officially took over as Tennessee’s coach in April after legendary coach Pat Summitt moved into an emeritus position. “If you didn’t enjoy sports, the conversation would have been … extremely limited. We were always on the go — practicing, walking to the ball field, walking back.”

An addition from Cal to Gonzaga: Lindsay Sherbert Added To Women’s Basketball Squad

Speaking of players: UNC is making some noise: Recruiting Coup – No. 3 Diamond DeShields is gem of North Carolina’s quartet of top 2013 recruits

A little conference championship hosting news: Albany selected to host America East men’s, women’s basketball championships. ‘ware the Danes!

Whoop-dee-do it’s almost basketball time again!

pilight does a little years later quarterbacking: Best Draft Picks Ever in the WNBA

Saturday Links: WNBA Preseason Begins Today With Three Games a

Check out The Michelle and Mechelle Show: WNBA Preview Advertisement

Eastern Michigan’s James is Enjoying Challenge Of Making Lynx Roster

Speaking of W hopefuls: Courtney Hurt & The Difficulty Of Making The WNBA As An ‘Undersized’ Power Forward

More from Minny: Whalen & Co. on Lynx ready to defend WNBA title

Czech out more on Whalen: One chapter in Whalen’s basketball career perhaps ending, another beginning

From Jayda, picked up by the Chicago Times: Storm’s Tina Thompson balances basketball, life as mom (I wonder if we’ll ever see the headline “LeBron James balances basketball, life as a dad?)

Out of Tulsa: Shock players see new energy at practice

Sun’s Jones chasing title, Olympic gold this year

Anticipating that trip to London, the Sun ponder impact of long Olympic break. Might I make a suggestion to the league (that they won’t listen to)? Make a big. friggin’. deal. about the Olympics. Having viewing parties. Get team members to attend. Hunt down former Olympians (and their coaches) to host. Raise money for target charities — how about the Special Olympics teams? Or the women’s paraolympic basketball team? Don’t let the W buzz die.

More Olympic stuff: USA Today’s looking at 100 Olympic hopefuls in 100 days: Diana Taurasi

The Senior National Team isn’t the only thing keeping USA Basketball busy: Top 2013 prospects set for USA trials – Mercedes Russell, Kaela Davis, Diamond DeShields to try out for U17 national team

and Four Gold Medalists Highlight 2012 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Trials Roster

Sun’s Tina Charles shines her light in Africa

During the last week, contruction finished on a three-room school in the village of Ganale that will accomodate up to 150 elementary schoolchildren during the day and adult litaracy classes at night. Charles paid the entire $32,000 cost for the 2,860-square foot school.

Unfortunately, there’s a “Dabnabbit” to report: Shyra Ely tears ACL, will miss WNBA season

WATN: Vanessa Nygaard: Windward School Makes Coaching Changes

More WATN: Terrell Owens, Other Stars, To Attend Brittany Jackson Dinner Party In Ooltewah To Benefit Pat Summitt Foundation

By the way, Grandpa’s got game, too: Senior basketball is serious business – Basketball at the Bykota Senior Center in Towson is definitely old-school — including some players in their 80s

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With a h/t for the reminder to Nate & Swish Appeal, the list of the nominees: Title IX Trailblazer Tribute For The National Association of Collegiate Women’s Athletic Administrators’ 40th Anniversary Contest:

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX on June 23, 2012, NACWAA invited athletics departments, conference offices and organizations across the nation to nominate and celebrate a trailblazer who has made significant contributions in the area of gender equity. We are pleased to announce that 25 trailblazer tribute videos were submitted and are now available for viewing on the NACWAA YouTube Channel. Direct links to each entry are listed below.

The video with the most views during the designated two-week viewing period (April 9-23, 2012) will win a $9,000 gift from the NACWAA Foundation Fund in support of its women’s athletics programs and/or female staff professional development.

America East Conference – Pat Meiser
Auburn University – Meredith Jenkins
University at Buffalo – Nan Harvey
Cornell University – Digit Murphy
Capital University – Dixie Jeffers
Dartmouth College – Josie Harper
University of Dayton – Ann Meyers
DePaul University – Jean Lenti Ponsetto
Fresno State University – Margie Wright
Hollins University – Lanetta Ware
Illinois State University – Laurie Mabry
Kent State University – Judy Devine
Lone Star Conference – Kathleen Brasfield
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Northeast Conference – Christie Rampone
Northwestern University – Kelly Amonte Hiller
University of Oklahoma – Marita Hynes
Pacific Lutheran University – Sara Officer
Princeton University – Chris Sailer
Southern Illinois University – Charlotte West
University of Texas – Jody Conradt
UCLA – Ann Meyers Drysdale
Wiley College – Janet P. Eaton
William Smith College – Pat Genovese, Aliceann Wilber and Sally Scatton
West Virginia University – Kittie Blakemore

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From Chris Whit at the Athens-Banner Herald: Murphey’s pioneering spirit lives on through UGA women’s athletics

[T]oday is the closing round of the annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, a women’s golf tournament she began 40 years ago as the Georgia Invitational and later renamed the Women’s Southern Intercollegiate Championships. It has become one of the largest, most competitive and longest-running women’s athletic events in the country, a fitting tribute to someone who spent nearly four decades laboring for the simple pleasure of seeing other women have the opportunity to play sports.

“It’s been forty years since this tournament started, and that speaks a lot to who Liz Murphey was,” said Landers, who was hired by Murphey and then-athletic director Vince Dooley in 1979. “For her to start this women’s golf tournament when she did, when most places didn’t even have women’s golf teams then, it was a big deal when you think about it now. That shows her vision and the passion she had, as well as the courage that she had to step out and dare to dream of something different for women athletes. That’s what Liz was about — that opportunity.”

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Kate Fagan and Luke Cyphers: Women continue to shatter stereotypes as athletes. So how come they can’t catch a break as coaches?

Since 2000, NCAA programs have added 1,774 women’s head coaching jobs. Men have filled 1,220 of the openings.

Women have entered the rest of the workforce at all levels and now make up 57 percent of college students. Sports are bigger than ever for them too, with an average of 8.73 women’s teams per school.

And yet female coaches continue to be sidelined. Stanford women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer is only half-joking when she says, “We’ll have a female president — and one woman coaching women’s college basketball.”

It’s not as if women are finding new opportunity in the men’s game: Only about 3 percent of men’s teams are coached by women, the same percentage as before Title IX’s passage. Coaching is a man’s world.

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(Doing a little catch up) From the Title IX blog: Alma College wrestling reborn

We’ve largely gotten away from correcting all the little mistakes, misinterpretations, and misrepresentations of Title IX that occur in the media. But sometimes one of them just strikes that nerve and…

A story about the rebirth of intercollegiate wrestling at Alma College in Michigan says that the program was cut in 1984 “in large part because of Title IX.” This bothers me for two–related–reasons. One, a majority of the wrestling community blames the enforcement of Title IX for its demise in the 80s. And two, Title IX was not being applied to athletic departments in 1984. The Grove City decision came down in 1984. No school is going to cut a program for Title IX reasons while a Supreme Court decision over whether it will have to or not is pending.

Erin does some interesting analysis in her post: How Diverse Are Women’s College Sports?

 Recently, the NCAA published the most recent school-year’s participation data, which includes breakdowns by sex, race, sport, division, and conference. Because this data set goes back to the 1999-2000 school year, I decided to use it to look for trends in racial diversity in women’s college athletics over the last decade. Several hours and few Excel spreadsheets later, I have the some questions and answers to report.
You can also hear Erin on NPR’s Marketplace discussing Title IX & Bullying: Legal Doors Closed, But Prince Case Continues to Impact
The settlement details of a lawsuit  between the parents of Phoebe Prince, a 15 year old student who committed suicide in January 2010, and the town of South Hadley and its school department were revealed this week.  A legal door may  now be closed for the parties involved, but legal analysts say the Prince case remains a cautionary tale.
Also from the site, and interesting action in light of the Penn State/Sandusky case: UNI Undertakes Title IX Compliance Review
The University of Northern Iowa is undertaking a comprehensive Title IX compliance review, officials announced this week. UNI reportedly has hired an outside firm to examine “‘all policies and procedures that funnel into Title IX’ including student misconduct, harassment and discrimination, communication, outreach and training.” This kind of review is the first of its kind at UNI, which has in the past conducted a narrow review of its sexual misconduct policy but never one as broad as has been described. It also sets UNI apart from its peers, as this this article suggests, by undertaking a review that is broader than sexual abuse reporting policies as other public Iowa universities have done in the wake of the Penn State scandal.
The review will undoubtedly examine the university’s response to a 2004 incident in which a female student was assaulted in her dorm room by two UNI football players. In 2007, the student sued the university, arguing that the university’s hostile and indifferent response constituted a violation of Title IX. She argued that university officials treated her with “great animosity,” denied her academic accommodations and a request to change dormitories, and failed to respond to reports that she was receiving harassing calls from players. After she was forced to quit school, the university sent her tuition bill to a collection agency and the dean of students told her she was disappointed “she didn’t tough it out.” All of this, if proven true, sounds like a classic case for institutional liability under Title IX.

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thinking things through and making informed decisions: NCLR Applauds New NCAA Inclusion Policy Benefitting Transgender Student Athletes

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) last week announced that it has approved an important policy that clarifies opportunities for transgender student athletes to participate on college athletic teams in accordance with their gender identity.

The NCAA— which governs sports for more than 1,200 colleges and institutions—worked closely with the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Sports Project and Griffin Educational Consulting to develop the policy, which according to the announcement “will allow a transgender student athlete to participate in sex-separated sports activities so long as the athlete’s use of hormone therapy is consistent with the NCAA policies and current medical standards.”

“I commend the NCAA’s commitment to creating and supporting an inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student athletes,” said NCLR Sports Project Director Helen Carroll. “That core value is strengthened as the NCAA unveils this new policy that will not only allow, but encourage transgender student athletes to participate on athletic teams. This is truly historic, and it will give transgender student athletes equal access and opportunities to play college-level sports without any obstacles.”

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A little background to

the It Gets Better PSA from Henry Abbott’s “True Hoop” blog at ESPN: Baseball and WNBA join anti-bullying campaign

…it struck me that athletes have a special opportunity here. In the clumsy traditional stereotypes, the jocks fall in more with the bullies, right? They’re the ones making it worse, as it were. So people like Hill and Dudley get to do something special. By piping up for treating all people, including LGBT people, with dignity, they’re adding their two cents, and more. They’re also communicating that even on the macho fringes of society, deep in the sports world where still nobody comes out of the closet, the LGBT community has friends. They’re also role modeling civil behavior to young sports fans, some of whom may have the inclination to bully.

I never had the feeling that NBA players had some obligation to join the It Gets Better campaign, but it was always an idea with potential.

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can cost you your job — but not as much as it will cost your school if they retaliate:

Former Texas Southern women’s basketball coach Surina Dixon has won a federal lawsuit against the school in which she alleged gender discrimination and retaliation for her 2008 firing.

A jury awarded Dixon $730,000 on Friday.

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Where can I get the chicken piccata recipe?

Need to know who to follow on Twitter: Ask Lady Swish for their Twitter rankings

Which coaches/teams are getting it done on Twitter? Here’s our tweet-by-tweet rundown on how things grade out:

HEAD TWEETS

Kenny Brooks, JMU – @CoachBrooksJMU
Provides informative, occasionally humorous updates…Stinging commentary from the 2010 CAA Awards Banquet was Twitter gold…Isn’t afraid to give glimpses of himself as a husband and father in addition to coach…Gets extra credit for periodically retweeting our stuff (You da man, Coach!). Grade: A-

Classic Brooks tweet: “It’s Comedy Central up in here!”

Excuse me? Mechelle’s on vacation?!?! The noive!

From Mel:

There are times when team nicknames can get in the way of a story and make things a bit confusing.

Though All-Star starting guard Katie Douglas remained home knocked out of the start of a road trip by a fever, her Indiana Fever knocked out the previous unbeaten home record of the Connecticut Sun with a 69-58 victory Thursday night to break a statistical first-place tie between the two and move to a one-game lead in the WNBA Eastern Conference.

Sue wonders What’s up with the Sparks?

The Title IX blog is rockin’ the info:

Title IX and community colleges

The NYT ran a very interesting article last week about the application of and compliance with Title IX at the country’s community colleges.
Community colleges face unique challenges when trying to comply with the law. It’s non-traditional student body, of which women make up the majority–often a large majority, has lead many community colleges to believe they cannot possibly comply. Additionally, community colleges are facing the same–if not worse–budget issues as four-year institutions.

Soon-to-Be-Coed College Plans to Retain Single Sex Classes

Peace College in Raleigh, North Carolina is making some changes. Not only is it changing its name to William Peace University, it has decided to admit male undergrads for the first time in its history. According to this article in Inside Higher Ed, however, some classes will remain single-sex, though the President assures that no one will be denied access to a course, just sometimes a particular single-sex section. This raised some Title IX red flags to the reporter on this article, who contacted me and some other Title IX experts about whether this was legal. As I said to him, it seems to me like a difficult position to defend. By becoming coed, the college loses any claim to an exemption from Title IX on the basis of its single-sex tradition. Accordingly, it must comply with the law’s prohibition against discrimination in all of its programs, and this includes classes, with limited exception for things like physical education, human sexuality, and choruses.

Why Title IX should (and already does) apply to high schools

As we noted yesterday, a lawsuit against the Department of Education has been filed claiming that the application of the three-prong test to high schools violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Here’s a little more on that. And we are sure there is much more to come.

School District with Sexual Orientation “Neutrality” Policy Targeted by Lawsuit and Investigation

The Anoka-Hennepin School District is the only district in Minnesota with a curriculum policy that requires teachers and staff to remain “neutral” on sexual orientation issues, deferring instead to students’ “family homes, churches, and community organizations” to disseminate attitudes and information about homosexuality.

Two major civil rights organization, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center, have sued the district on behalf of LGBT student plaintiffs who experienced harassment and discrimination at Anoka-Hennepin schools. They argue that the neutrality policy amounts to gag-order that contributes to a hostile environment for LGBT students by rendering teachers ineffective at dealing with LGBT harassment when it occurs and at laying a foundation of inclusion and appreciation for diverse sexual orientations that could prevent harassment of LGBT students in the first place. They argue that the policy singles out LGBT students for exclusion in violation of the federal Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, Title IX, and the Minnesota Human Rights Statute.

Speaking of Title IX, did you catch this New York Times article: Long Fights for Sports Equity, Even With a Law

In 1998, the University of Southern California was accused of denying its female students a fair chance at participating in sports. Thirteen years later, the federal agency charged with investigating sex discrimination in schools has not completed its inquiry of U.S.C.

In 2008, the same federal agency, the Office for Civil Rights, came across evidence that Ball State University in Indiana was losing a disproportionate number of women’s coaches. But the agency opted to let Ball State investigate itself. After a two-week inquiry, during which Ball State failed to interview a single coach, the university concluded that there was no evidence that any of the coaches had been unfairly treated or let go.

The federal law known as Title IX — requiring schools at all levels across the country to offer girls and women equal access to athletics — has produced a wealth of progress since it was enacted almost four decades ago. Almost no one disputes that.

But scores of schools, year in and year out, still fail to abide by the law. For those schools, almost no one disputes this: There is little chance their shortcomings will ever be investigated, and even if they are, few will be meaningfully punished.

I often wonder if those who oppose Title IX were first children. You know, because they believe that because they were “first” they should get all the perks – mom and dad’s attention, nurturing and money. As for the rest of the kids — too bad. Their birth order simply means they are and should always be second class siblings.

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Softball likely a key issue in Ball State University’s case – The program is operating without a locker room, as players sometimes change clothes in parking lot

That the Cardinals’ softball team, which has been among the best in the Mid-American Conference the past four seasons with two West Division titles and one appearance in the NCAA Tournament, has no locker room most likely was one of the main issues that initiated a federal investigation of Ball State’s athletic department more than two years ago.

The university has been under scrutiny since March 2008 when an unknown person filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. The grievance alleged Ball State was in violation of federal Title IX laws.

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