A Timeline of Significant Moments in Big Ten Women's Athletics




1975
March 5 - A Big Ten committee, consisting of three women Administrators in the Athletic Department, two men Athletic Directors and a Faculty Representative, was formed to study women's varsity intercollegiate athletics.

1980
May 5
- Under the White Resolution, the Joint Group recommended to the Council of Ten that universities which want to incorporate their women's intercollegiate athletic programs into Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives be permitted to join the Conference with the understanding that appropriate methods will be established to provide adequate women's representatives.

July 7 - The Council of Ten adopted a resolution to establish a task force which would prepare a plan for incorporating women's intercollegiate athletics into the Big Ten Conference.

1981
May 4
- The Council of Ten endorsed the Task Force report that enables universities to affiliate their women's intercollegiate programs with the Conference if they so desire.

August 15 - Nine Conference universities (Minnesota being the exception) voted to affiliate their women's athletic programs with the Conference, by provisions set forth in the Task Force Committee Report.

August 24 - Women's Program Group, composed of the primary woman athletics administrator at each Big Ten school, met for the first time officially in Chicago in conjunction with the Transition Committee. Charles D. Henry II was assigned to provide services to the women's programs until an assistant commissioner could be named.

September 30 - Directors of Athletics voted to accept a format for women's championships.  Championships formats were approved for nine women's sports.

October 8 - University of Minnesota officially affiliated its women's intercollegiate athletic program with the Conference.

October 16-17 - First Big Ten field hockey championship held at Iowa. Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue competed.

October 23-24 - First Big Ten women's volleyball championship held at Illinois. All 10 schools competed in the tournament.

October 24 - First Big Ten women's cross country championship held at Michigan State. All 10 schools competed for the title.

1982
February 12-13
- First Big Ten women's gymnastics championship held at Michigan. The eight schools competing were Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

February 12-14 - First Big Ten women's basketball championship held at Michigan State. All 10 teams competed in a double elimination tournament.

February 25-27 - First Big Ten women's swimming and diving championship held at the Schroeder Natatorium in Milwaukee. All 10 schools competed in the championship.

February 26-27 - First Big Ten women's indoor track and field championship held at Indiana. All 10 schools participated

March 1 - Directors of Athletics voted to adopt a double round robin, travel partner home-and-away format to determine Conference women's basketball champion to begin with the 1982-83 season.

March 6 - First Big Ten women's fencing championship held at Michigan State. The three schools competing were Northwestern, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

April 16-17 - First Big Ten softball champion determined by a tournament held at Michigan. Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern and Ohio State competed.

April 23-25 - First Big Ten women's tennis championship held at Wisconsin. All 10 schools competed.

April 30-May 1 - First Big Ten women's golf championship held at Minnesota. Eight schools competed, those being Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

May 1 - Phyllis L. Howlett named Assistant Commissioner of Big Ten Conference.

May 14-15 - First Big Ten women's outdoor track and field championship held at Illinois. All 10 schools competed.

June 1 - First year that women athletes at each school were awarded the Conference Medal of Honor. Iowa did not award a Conference Medal until 1983.

October 27 - Athletic Directors voted the Conference field hockey champion shall be designated on the basis of the best percentage of wins and losses in competition with other member schools in a double round robin weekend cluster format to become effective with the 1983 schedule.

November 5 - First combined Big Ten men's and women's championship (with all universities competing) was the 69th Men's and 2nd Women's Cross Country championship held at Iowa.

December 7 - Joint Group voted all Conference rules for women's athletes to become effective beginning in the Fall of 1983 with the exception of Rule 7-4-E-1.

1983
February 23
- Director of Athletics approved a recommendation from the Women's Program Group that Conference compliance procedures be applied to Conference women's programs starting August 1983, at the same time as the NCAA enforcement begins.

May 9 - Announced that the Conference would begin assigning officials for volleyball and women's basketball effective with the 1983-84 season.

May 11 - Directors approved a recommendation of the sports information directors to select a Big Ten women's "Athlete-of-the-Year". The same format used in the selection process and announcement being used for the Big Ten men's "Athlete of the Year" will be followed.

July 29 - Judi Brown, Michigan State track athlete, honored at the 12th Annual Kickoff Luncheon as the Big Ten's first women's "Athlete-of-the-Year".

September - Director's Agreements for Women's Programs appeared for the first time in the Conference Handbook. First Big Ten Women's Records Book published.

November 9-10 - The Big Ten sponsors a symposium of conferences in women's intercollegiate athletics. It was held in Schaumburg. Approximately 75 administrators attended.

December 12 - Council of Ten appoints an independent evaluation committee to study the integration of women's intercollegiate athletics into the Big Ten Conference.

1984
January 15
- The first supervisors of women's officials were named - Marcy Weston for women's basketball officials and Pete Dunn for volleyball officials.

February 29 - Athletic Directors approve recommendations to: reinstitute the triple jump for women in the indoor and outdoor track and field Conference championships, and to increase the fee for women's basketball officials to $150 per game per official.

March 6 - Joint Group approves recommendation from the Athletic Directors and Women's Program Group that all Conference compliance procedures apply to women's programs starting retroactive to August 1983.

August 3 - Directors of Athletics approve a 10-week double round robin volleyball schedule in 1985 eliminating the championship.

November 19 - The Wisconsin women's cross country team completed the season with their first NCAA title. It was also the first NCAA title in a women's sport for the Big Ten Conference.

1985
November 23
- The Wisconsin cross country team won their second consecutive NCAA title.

December 3 - Athletic Directors vote to approve actions of the Ad Hoc Committee on governance, including the change in name of the Women's Program Group to Women's Athletic Administrators.

1986
August
- Joint Group votes to approve the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Women's governance.

November 23 - The Iowa field hockey team wins its first NCAA Championship.

1987
May 5
- Joint Group approves "Statement Regarding Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action by the Big Ten Conference," and instructs the Conference office to include it in the Handbook.  

May - Patty Broderick named supervisor of women's basketball officials.

1989
March 15
- Announced separate six-year agreements with ESPN and Raycom Sports and Entertainment for the purpose of televising and cablecasting football and men's and women's basketball games and other women's events, beginning with the 1989-90 seasons.

July 1- James E. Delany becomes the fifth Big Ten Commissioner.

November 15- First Big Ten Women's Basketball Tip-off Luncheon held in Indianapolis.  During the Luncheon, Commissioner Delany announced the Big Ten had issued a challenge to the Southeastern Conference to play a double-header featuring two women's basketball teams from each conference. The first Big Ten-SEC Challenge was set for January 5, 1991 in Iowa City.  A return match in 1992 was set to be hosted by an SEC school. 

December 19 - Announced that on December 10-11 the Council of Ten had agreed in principle to extend an invitation to The Pennsylvania State University to join the Big Ten athletic conference. Initiated a process involving men's and women's faculty representatives and athletic administrators to resolve in cooperation with Penn State officials all scheduling, financial and other issues related to Penn State's membership in the Big Ten Conference. Results of this process to be reported to the Council of Ten for action.

1990
January 15
- Announced that five 1990 Conference championships would be cablecast by SportsChannel in Chicago. Those sports televised were men's gymnastics, women's gymnastics, wrestling, baseball and the combined men's and women's outdoor track and field championship.

June 4 - Council of Ten voted to confirm its earlier decision to integrate The Pennsylvania State University into Conference membership. There was agreement that Penn State's integration as a member of the Conference should proceed in the most expeditious manner possible in all sports.

August 17 - First Big Ten Volleyball Press Conference and Promotional Luncheon held in Minneapolis. Announce a Joint Support Agreement with Special Olympics event in conjunction with a home volleyball match during the 1990 fall season.

1991
January 5
- Big Ten-SEC challenge held at the University of Iowa before a national CBS television audience, the first regular season network telecast of a women's basketball game in history. Iowa played Georgia and Purdue played Auburn.

January 6 - Big Ten women's basketball game of the week debuted on SportsChannel Chicago, SportsChannel Cincinnati and SportsChannel Ohio. Seven games aired live on consecutive weeks in the first year of a five-year agreement. Each Big Ten university made one appearance.

February 21 - The women's swimming and diving championship is televised by Prime Sports Network, a national cable company. It is the first of 17 Conference championships that Prime Sports will televise over the next five years.

April 2 - Big Ten Conference office moved from Schaumburg, Ill., where it had been since 1974, to the new Headquarters and Meetings Center at 1500 West Higgins Road, Park Ridge, Ill. Lobby of building also to serve as an art gallery for graduate student art from Big Ten institutions.

May 11 - Big Ten-MAC Softball Challenge played in Columbus, Ohio between The Ohio State University, 1990 Big Ten softball champions, and Kent State University, 1990 Mid-American Conference champions. The Challenge was broadcast by SportsChannel.

August - Initiated year-long plans for the celebration of women's athletics and, in particular, the 10th anniversary of women's championships in the Big Ten Conference.

September - Penn State begins competing in 18 Big Ten Conference sport championships. For women's sports: cross country, golf, gymnastics, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and volleyball.

October 28 - Administrators vote to proceed with development of an 18-game schedule format for men's and women's basketball for 1992-93 and beyond (1992-93 is the first year that Penn State begins competition in men's and women's basketball).

1992
May 12
- Joint Group voted to adopt the Task Force on Gender Equity's proposal to require each institution, as a condition of membership, to provide intercollegiate athletic participation opportunities such that no less than 40% of student-athletes shall be female participants and no more than 60% of student-athletes shall be male participants. The Joint Group action would go forward as a recommendation to the Council of Presidents/Chancellors.

May 12 - Women's Athletics Administrators voted that shared expenses in women's volleyball and basketball officiating shall commence with the start of the 1992-93 season.

June 8 - The Council of Presidents/Chancellors announced it unanimous commitment to achieve by 1997 a level of athletics participation that is 60% men and 40% women. Big Ten universities will submit to the Conference office strategies on how to achieve the 60-40 commitment. Annual review procedures were established.

The Conference was the first Conference to voluntarily adopt participation goals for female student-athletes. The objective was Phase I of the Conference's Gender Equity Action Plan (GEAP) for conference members to commit to a 60%/40% male-female participation ratio over a five-year period (1992-1997).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
July 12-25 - Eleven-member women's basketball all-star team tours New Zealand and Australia as the first Conference-sponsored foreign tour for a women's sport.

1993
December 14-15
- Women's Athletics Administrators approved a field hockey tournament to be conducted at the end of the regular season double round-robin schedule beginning fall, 1994. The in-season schedule will determine the Conference's automatic qualifier to the NCAA championship.

1994
November 4-6
- First Big Ten women's soccer champion determined in eight-team championship at Wisconsin.

1995
March 3-6
- Big Ten women's basketball tournament held in Indianapolis to determine the Conference's automatic qualifier to the NCAA championship. This was the first Conference women's basketball tournament since the inaugural Conference women's basketball championship in 1982.

1996
January 12
- Marcia L. Alterman is named the Conference's second supervisor of officials for volleyball, succeeding Pete Dunn who announced his retirement at the end of the 1995 season, completing 12 years of service with the Conference.

November 1 - The Conference announced that no fewer than 43 Big Ten women's basketball games would be televised nationally, regionally, an locally in 1996-1997 by CBS Sports, ESPN2, several regionally and locally networks and Prime, a national cable network.  The total of 43 telecasts represents an all-time Conference high for Big Ten women's basketball.

1997
February 28
- Announced that the Big Ten Conference and Nike, Inc. entered into a five-year agreement to sponsor the Big Ten women's basketball postseason tournament. The partnership which is effective with the 1997 tournament includes a youth clinic, tournament tickets for 500 local Indianapolis youngsters, and enhanced promotion of women's regular season and postseason events.

June 2 - The Council of Presidents/Chancellors announce approval of a second phase to the Conference's gender equity action plan which will focus on stimulating athletic participation in grades kindergarten through eighth, while at the same time continuing to increase the number  of female student-athletes on each of its campuses. Participation in Big Ten Conference intercollegiate women's athletics programs grew from 2,032 student-athletes in 1992 to 2, 848, in 1997, a net gain of over 800 women's participation opportunities since the Council of Presidents/Chancellors endorsed a Conference-wide commitment to enhance women's participation opportunities in 1992.

GEAP Phase II - Communication, Exposure, Outreach and Monitoring. In order to continue the Big Ten's commitment to gender equity, Dream Big was implemented as an awareness program to help increase girls' participation sports at an early age. During Phase II, the Dream Big message - "Her Future Begins with Sports" - was exposed to targeted groups to influence young girls' awareness: coaches (year one); teachers (year two); and parents (year three).

1998
August
- Conference announces football, basketball and women's basketball sports television packages which will provide the most comprehensive coverage in Big Ten history. The women's television package was produce by Fox Sports Chicago and televised around the nation on various cable outlets such as Midwest Sports Channel Minnesota and Wisconsin and Fox Sports New England along with several other stations. A total of 29 women's events were selected to be broadcast, including eight volleyball matches, 12 women's basketball games along with the women's soccer and women's gymnastics championships.

September - Phase II of the Conference's gender equity plan begins. This portion of the gender equity plan is a public relations/communications outreach phase. The campaign is entitled "Dream Big" and is targeted at young girls in grades K-8 to encourage participation in sports. Components of the program include a 30-second television public service announcement, print advertisements, a website located on the Big Ten home page (www.bigten.org) and a packet of resource information available to those coaches affiliated with girls' sports programs.

1999 
March 28
- Purdue women's basketball wins the University's first national championship.

June 16 - Conference announces future sites for women's basketball tournament: 2000 Tournament will be held at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis; 2001 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI.

September - The next phase of the Dream Big campaign opened with an emphasis on showing young girls and their families the benefits of participating in sports - fun, teamwork, attaining goals, winning. The Dream Big portion of the Big Ten website was upgraded and new print ads, along with a new radio and television public service announcement were created.

December 18 - The Penn State volleyball team wins its first NCAA Championship. 

2000
In year four of Phase II of the GEAP, Dream Big initiated the "Catch the Action Tour" as a vehicle to bring attention to and awareness of youth girls', grade K-8, participation in sports and the benefits it plays in their daily lives. The focus of the campaign includes a visit to each Big Ten university at least once throughout the year to help promote and increase attendance at a women's sporting event selected by respective institutions.

April 29 - First Big Ten Conference women's rowing championship held at the University of Wisconsin. The University of Michigan claimed the inaugural championship. The University of Minnesota began competing at the varsity level in women's rowing during the 2000-01 academic year, bringing the total number of women's rowing as a Conference sponsored sport, the Big Ten recognized championships or tournaments for 25 sports in 1999-2000 -13 for women and 12 for men.

2001
November 18
- The Michigan field hockey team wins its first NCAA team championship in a women's sport.

2002
February 28-March 10
- For the first time in Conference history, both the Women's and Men's Big Ten Basketball Tournaments were played at the same site.

March 4 - The Big Ten announced that the 2003 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament will be held at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

June - Minnesota becomes the final member Conference to merge its men's and women's athletics departments into one combined department.

June 6 - The Big Ten is the first conference to announce a multi-year programming agreement with College Sports Television (CSTV), the nation's first 24-hour all-college sports network. CSTV will have the opportunity to cover championships, tournaments, events and regular season games for all Big Ten sports with the exception of football and men's basketball. CSTV is expected to debut in the first quarter of 2003.

July - Phase III of the Conference's gender equity plan begins. This portion of the gender equity plan is focused on increasing game attendance for all Big Ten women's sporting events. The Conference will provide the schools with the tools to market these events, will work to increase awareness of women's sports to complement the schools' efforts and roll out an umbrella campaign to member schools to increase attendance. This will be accomplished through "awareness" generated by branding, advertising, promotion and publicity.

July 1 - Big Ten announces the formation of the Women's Basketball Officiating Consortium (WBOC) with four other conferences, including Conference USA, Horizon League, Mid-Continent Conference and Great Lakes Valley Conference. The WBOC will provide a multi-faceted and enhance officiating service for all member institutions. Patty Broderick was named the Coordinator of Officials for the Consortium and Bill Stokes was selected as the Consortium's Chief Clinician. The WBOC will focus on the identification, recruitment, evaluation, training, education and assignment of officials on a year-round basis for all five conferences.

October 25 - The Big Ten announced that the 2004 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament will be held at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, which served as the host site for the event in 2002 and 2003.

2004
October 17
- The Big Ten announced that the 2006 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament will be held at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, which has served as the host site for the event since 2002.

August - The Big Ten announced an agreement with Comcast SportsNet Chicago to begin producing the women's television sports package for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. The 30-game package will feature coverage of volleyball and women's basketball, including nine of the 20 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament games.

2005
June 8
- The Michigan softball team wins its first National Championship, and the second NCAA Championship for the school.

2006
February 9
- The Big Ten Conference announces an exclusive three-year marketing agreement with Xbox Live, making it the presenting sponsor of the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

August 15 - Initiated year-long plan to celebrate the 25th anniversary of official women's championships in the Big Ten Conference.