Big Ten Celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day

Feb. 3, 2010

Led by its member institutions, the Big Ten Conference is proud to be an active participant in the 24th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), celebrated around the country today, Feb. 3.

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, "Stay Strong, Play on."

Several conference schools will celebrate NGWSD at upcoming home women’s basketball games. On Thursday, Michigan State holds its celebration as the Spartans host Penn State at 7 p.m. ET. Student-athletes from Michigan State’s women’s athletics teams will be on hand to talk with fans before the game and will be honored during the contest.

Also on Thursday, Minnesota will sponsor a youth clinic at the Sports Pavilion before its game against Wisconsin at 7 p.m. CT. The Golden Gophers will also host a reception for recent student-athlete graduates. Finally, Minnesota is sponsoring essay contests for children, ages six to 12. The essay questions ask, “What sports activities are fun for you, and why?” and “How does participation in sports make you a healthier person?”

On Sunday, Purdue will host free pre-game activities in Lambert Fieldhouse from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET, prior to the Boilermakers’ game against the Badgers at 2 p.m. Open to fans of all ages, the event will feature a basketball skills station, a bump-and-set station with the Purdue volleyball team, putt-putt golf and mini tennis. Also available will be a batting station with the softball team, a shooting station with the women’s soccer team, a Wii swimming competition and a skills demonstration with the track team. Purdue student-athletes will also be available to sign autographs, and fans have many opportunities to win prizes.



Penn State will hold its celebration on Thursday, Feb. 11, when the Lady Lions take on Minnesota. Activities will include a pre-game autograph session with various women’s teams, including the entire 2009 NCAA Volleyball Championship team. At halftime, all Penn State women student-athletes will be recognized along with local female youth athletes, highlighting the three-time NCAA Champion women’s volleyball squad. All youth wearing a sports uniform will be admitted to the game for just $1, and promotional materials for the school’s women’s spring sports teams will be available on the concourse.

On Sunday, Feb. 14, Iowa will hold its celebration as the Hawkeyes square off against Illinois. Youth wearing a team jersey will be admitted free to the game and invited on the court for a halftime presentation. Other Iowa women’s sports teams will join the youth on the court for the presentation, which will include a taped video from head coach Lisa Bluder and former Iowa Director of Athletics Christine Grant, expressing the importance of NGWSD. At the conclusion of the game, fans are invited to stay for an autograph session with the women’s basketball team and the other women’s teams in attendance.

Indiana invites all Girl Scouts to attend the Hoosiers’ game against Penn State on Sunday, Feb. 28, offering an Indiana Athletics patch to the first 4,000. The Hoosiers will also welcome the Commission on the Status of Women board, the Franklin Township Youth Basketball League and Girls, Inc. to the game.

Ohio State held its NGWSD celebration on Jan. 17, during the Buckeyes’ game against Indiana. Ohio State offered a pre-game meet-and-greet with 12 different Buckeye women’s teams, who signed autographs and handed out information on their squads. Ohio State recognized each participating team during the first half of the game, summarizing the accomplishments of each. During the game, the video board aired current Buckeye women’s basketball players offering advice to younger girls.

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