Big Ten Celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day

Feb. 5, 2014

Rosemont, Ill. -

Led by its member institutions, the Big Ten Conference is proud to be an active participant in the 28th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), celebrated around the country today.

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, "Passing the Torch, Blazing the Trail!” Several Big Ten institutions have taken or will take part in various festivities surrounding NGWSD at home women’s basketball contests or around campus.

Two schools will celebrate NGWSD today. This morning, Minnesota will host the Jean Freeman Girls and Women in Sports Breakfast for women’s athletics supporters. After the breakfast, the reigning national champion Gopher women’s hockey team will be honored at the state capitol. During its game against Nebraska tonight, Wisconsin will promote the event in venue with PA announcements throughout the game.

Ohio State will celebrate NGWSD in conjunction with its Girl Scout Day on Saturday. A clinic will be held and the Buckeyes will also present their annual Barbie Tootle Buckeye Spirit Award and Phyllis Bailey Award. The Barbie Tootle Buckeye Spirit Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated unconditional loyalty and support of women’s athletics, while the Phyllis Bailey Award honors someone who has continued the advancement of women’s athletics.

Northwestern will host its NGWSD celebration on Saturday, Feb. 15, when the Wildcats host Minnesota. Prior to the tip at 2:30 p.m. CT, girls will have the opportunity to speak with Northwestern student-athletes, coaches and staff in a round-table setting about various topics relative to women playing sports and working in athletics. Northwestern lacrosse head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller will serve as the keynote speaker at the event.



Purdue’s celebration of the event will take place on Sunday, Feb. 16, when it hosts Iowa at 2 p.m. ET. The Boilermakers will host a free youth skills clinic put on by the women’s sports programs prior to the contest against the Hawkeyes. Each station will feature posters and information for participants to take home. Additionally, women and girls who have participated in sports will be recognized during the game.

Prior to Indiana’s game with Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 22, the Hoosiers will host a youth clinic and then participants will parade to Assembly Hall for the game. Teams and community organizers will set up information and interactive booths in the concourse for a “family festival.”  

Michigan State and Nebraska will each celebrate NGWSD on Monday, Feb. 24. During the Spartans’ game against Minnesota, student-athletes from each women’s athletics teams will be recognized at halftime and will set up displays throughout the concourse. That same night the Huskers will recognize NGWSD in their contest with Penn State.

Penn State celebrated NGWSD on Sunday, Jan. 26, with various women’s programs hosting a clinic prior to the Lady Lions’ contest against Minnesota. In addition, each women’s team was recognized at halftime.

Iowa and Michigan’s celebration of NGWSD was held on Saturday, Feb. 1. For the Hawkeyes’ game against Nebraska, youths wearing club or youth team jerseys were admitted free into the contest. Prior to their matchup with Minnesota, the Wolverines held a program with numerous Michigan women’s squads where girls could learn about and practice different sports.

Illinois held its celebration on Sunday, Feb. 2, against Indiana. Various women’s club sports and organizations set up informational booths on the concourse to promote the wide range of opportunities offered on campus. The Illini promoted the event with various PA announcements throughout the game and a halftime show that featured a girls youth 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