Gophers celebrate 50 years of women in sport

athletics | 06/22/2022 7:44:00

The University of Minnesota capped off its 50 years of women’s athletics celebrations during a bout on Monday, June 21, 2022 at Athletes Village. Throughout the 2021-22 season, Gopher Athletics highlighted the success of individuals and programs in women’s first 50 years in Gopher sports.

Deputy Director of Athletics and Senior Female Administrator Julie Manning kicked off the events and welcomed attendees, including women’s gymnastics, women’s hockey and women’s basketball athletes, as well as sponsors of TruStone and Delta Dental. Athletics Director Mark Coyle as well as university president Joan Gabel, she has also addressed the importance of women in sports, but also the outstanding graduates of the University of Minnesota throughout its history. Gabel is also the first woman ever to be president of the university in Minnesota history. Manning also recognized the committee’s four honorary chairs: Terry Ganley, Kathie Eiland-Madison, Dr. Liza Arendt, and Lea B Olsen.

Ganley, Olsen, and Eiland-Madison were all three former Gopher athletes, while Dr. Arendt has been a staple within the University of Minnesota medical profession as an orthopedic surgeon and has led our medical team for years. Her student, Dr. Kelsey Wise, also spoke to attendees as she is the 50th woman to graduate through the orthopedic residency program.

Gopher Women’s Sports History
The University of Minnesota officially recognized women’s athletics through the Department of Physical Education in 1971 and received a budget of $ 5,000 from the Board of Regents reserve fund. From there, swimming and diving was established as the first official women’s intercollegiate sport in 1971, followed by its first female coach, Jean Freeman in 1973. The University of Minnesota officially formed the Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics Department in July of 1975.

Since 1971, the University of Minnesota has added 12 college sports, the most recent being rowing in 2000. The Big Ten formally sponsored women’s conferences and championships in 1982. Minnesota had separate intercollegiate men’s and women’s athletics departments before merging together in 2002.

Since Minnesota’s inception of women’s sports, the Golden Gophers have won seven national titles, 66 conference championships and 17 individual national championships. Additionally, the University of Minnesota boasts some of the best facilities in the nation, five of which are named after women: Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center (swimming and diving), Ridder Arena (women’s hockey), Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium (soccer) , Irene Claudia Kroll Boathouse (rowing) and Jane Sage Cowles Stadium (softball).

Title history IX
June 23, 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, which stated: “No person in the United States may, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination in any education program or business that receives federal financial assistance. “

With the approval of Title IX, women were granted equal access for women not only to have access to sports competitions, but generally to women in college. This law provided for the same educational programming, admissions, academic majors, teaching positions, professional programs, and individual classes the same opportunities for women as men. Since the inception of Title IX, women have grown up in academic opportunities not only in sport, but have had access to a number of specifically earned degrees in medicine, law, mathematics and science.

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