Big Ten Celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day

Feb. 1, 2012

Led by its member institutions, the Big Ten Conference is proud to be an active participant in the 26th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), celebrated around the country today, Feb. 1.

On Wednesday, thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, students and parents across the country will show their support of the day and of this year's theme, "Title IX at 40: In it for the Long Run.” Several Big Ten institutions have taken or will take part in various festivities surrounding NGWSD at home women’s basketball contests or around campus.

This morning, Minnesota will host the Jean Freeman Girls and Women in Sports Breakfast, where the keynote speaker will be former Minnesota women’s Director of Athletics Merrily Dean Baker. From 6-9 p.m. CT, a networking event will be held for women in sports careers. Admission is free, and the event will feature food, gifts and breakout sessions led by women specializing in sports careers.

Penn State women’s programs will be signing autographs on the concourse prior to the Lady Lions’ contest against Indiana on Thursday. In addition, Penn State’s women’s sports programs will be introduced at halftime of the game.

Indiana’s celebration of NGWSD will be held on Sunday when the Hoosiers host Iowa at 2 p.m. ET. Local organizations and sport teams will be in attendance with interactive booths, which will be set up throughout the concourse, for a special fan festival.

Michigan State holds its celebration on Feb. 9 when it welcomes Northwestern. Student-athletes from the Spartans’ women’s athletics teams will be recognized at halftime, and teams will have displays throughout the concourses.

Northwestern will host its NGWSD celebration on Feb. 12 when the Wildcats host Penn State. Prior to tip, girls in grades 4-12 will have the opportunity to speak with Northwestern student-athletes, coaches, staff and media members about various topics relative to women playing sports and working in athletics.



Iowa celebrated NGWSD with festivities on Jan. 28 against Purdue. Youths wearing club or youth team jerseys were admitted free into the contest against the Boilermakers. Several women’s squads signed autographs before the game and were recognized at halftime. It was also Iowa women’s basketball alumni day, where many Hawkeye alumni participated in a pregame autograph session and were introduced at halftime.

Purdue celebrated the event on Jan. 15 when it hosted Iowa. Held in conjunction with Girl Scout Day, the Boilermakers hosted a free youth skills clinic put on by the women’s sports programs in Lambert Fieldhouse prior to the contest against the Hawkeyes.

NGWSD began in 1987 as a day to honor Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman, a world-class athlete who helped the United States women's volleyball team to a silver medal at the 1984 games in Los Angeles. Hyman used her notoriety to set an example of community involvement while significantly enhancing the opportunities for girls and women in sport. Following Hyman's sudden passing while playing volleyball in Japan in 1986, NGWSD continues to evolve into a celebration of the past and recognition of current achievements for girls and women in sport.

For more information regarding NGWSD, click here.