Big Ten Celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day

Feb. 2, 2011

Led by its member institutions, the Big Ten Conference is proud to be an active participant in the 25th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), celebrated around the country today, Feb. 2.

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, "Play, Believe, Achieve.” Several Big Ten institutions have taken or will take part in various festivities surrounding NGWSD at home women’s basketball contests.

Michigan State holds its celebration on Sunday when it welcomes Purdue. Student-athletes from the Spartans’ women’s athletics teams will be on the concourse during pregame to interact with fans and will be introduced throughout the contest.

This Sunday, Ohio State will hold pregame autograph sessions with current Buckeye student-athletes with 12 women’s squads participating, including fencing, lacrosse, tennis, soccer, rowing, field hockey, pistol, volleyball, synchronized swimming, gymnastics, track and field and swimming. The teams will be recognized during the game, summarizing the accomplishments of each.

Indiana will hold its NGWSD festivities on Feb. 27 when it hosts Iowa. The Hoosiers invite the community to celebrate by arriving at Assembly Hall at 11 a.m. ET to meet with local sports teams, female owned businesses and other vendors.

Illinois celebrated NGWSD on Jan. 30 with autograph sessions featuring all Illinois women’s student-athletes during halftime of Illinois’ game with Iowa. The women’s basketball squad signed autographs following the contest. Prior to the game, the Illini held a youth cheerleading clinic in preparation for the group to perform during halftime.

Iowa celebrated NGWSD with festivities on Jan. 16 against Indiana. Youths wearing club or youth team jerseys were admitted free into the contest against the Hoosiers and numerous Hawkeye women’s athletic teams were recognized at halftime.



On Jan. 30 at Minnesota, groups of girls from area organizations and scout troops participated in a youth sports clinic and were able to interact with women’s student-athletes. They also had a chance to have their photos taken with Goldy Gopher before catching Minnesota’s win over Michigan.

Penn State held an All-Sports Clinic as part of its NGWSD festivities on Jan. 30. The clinic was open to boys or girls in eighth grade or younger with student-athletes from the golf, women’s lacrosse, field hockey, softball, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, dance and cheer teams serving as clinic representatives. All participants received a free ticket to the Lady Lions contest against Ohio State.

Purdue celebrated the event on Jan. 16 when it hosted Northwestern. Held in conjunction with Girl Scout Day, the Boilermakers held a free sports clinic in Lambert Fieldhouse and fans enjoyed a postgame autograph session with the women’s basketball team.

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, visit