By Jen A. Miller
Sports used to be a boy’s club. But today women are integral players in the sports world, from your kid’s soccer team to the professional level.
“In half a century, we’ve gone from girls in high schools engaging in one or two play days a year and that counting for their athletic experience to full-blown athletic participation in virtually any sporting activity that a high school or college offers,” says Stephen D. Mosher, professor of sport management and media in the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance.
It’s been 40 years since the passage of Title IX, the sweeping legislation aimed at providing more opportunities for women in sports. Today more than 150,000 women compete at the college level, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.
“From the perspective of participation opportunities, Title IX has been a stunning success and a culture changer,” Mosher says. “At one point girls couldn’t dribble the ball past half court, and now they’re in the WNBA.”
Title IX has not been a perfect instrument, though, he adds. Yes, we’re seeing more female athletic directors, but there are few women coaching men’s teams, for example.
“We’re now in the second wave of women who have come through the sports system. They are no longer the pioneers. They are the descendents,” says Mosher. “These women are striking out and affirming themselves.”
Female graduates of Ithaca College are part of that second generation, picking up where the pioneers left off, whether they’re applying sports psychology techniques or orchestrating communications for major sports networks.
Who knows what roles women will take on in sports in the next 40 years? Mosher predicts there will be a surge of women in administrative roles in both professional and college sports and more female officials at the professional level. But he’s not sure there will be more women coaches, “Primarily because there are many more opportunities for economic security available to women,” he says. “Right now over 50 percent of medical and law students are women.”
"Game On" focuses on four women - Annemarie Farrell, the coach of the IC men's rugby club team. Jen Sabatelle '94, vice president of communications for CBS Sports, Holly Roselle, M.S. '05, a performance enhancement specialist who works with injured veterans, and Shannon Walton '04, a sports psychologist who helps athletes excel.