Gophers Celebrate 50 Years of Women In Sports

Athletics | 06/22/2022 7:44:00 AM

The University of Minnesota wraps up its 50-year celebration of women’s athletics during a rally on Monday, June 21, 2022, at Athletes’ Village. Throughout the 2021-22 season, Gopher Athletics has highlighted the success of individuals and programs over the first 50 years for women in Gopher sports.

Deputy Director of Athletics and Senior Director of Women Julie Manning Events began and welcomed attendees, including sports from women’s gymnastics, women’s hockey, and women’s basketball as well as sponsors from TruStone and Delta Dental. Athletics Manager Mark Coyle In addition to university president Joanne Gabel, she has also addressed the importance of women in sports, but also notable University of Minnesota alumni throughout its history. Gabell is also the first woman ever to serve as a university president in Minnesota history. Manning also honored the four honorary committee chairs: Terry Ganley, Kathy Eland-Madison, Drs. Lisa Arndt and Leah B. Olsen.

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

The history of women’s sports gopher
The University of Minnesota officially recognized women’s athletics through the Department of Physical Education in 1971 and secured a $5,000 budget 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 women’s coach, Jan Freeman in 1973. The University of Minnesota formally formed the Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics Division in July of 1975.

Since 1971, the University of Minnesota has added 12 collegiate sports, most recently rowing in 2000. The Big Ten officially sponsored women’s conference play and tournaments in 1982. Minnesota had separate men’s and women’s athletic departments before merging them together in 2002.

Since the inception of women’s sports in Minnesota, 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 country, five of which are named after women: Jan K. Freeman Aquatics Center (swimming and snorkeling), Rider Arena (women’s hockey), Elizabeth Lyle Ruby (football) stadium, Irene Claudia Kroll Boathouse (rowing) and Jane Sage Cowles Stadium (softball).

The date of the ninth title
June 23, 2022 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, or denied benefits from, or discriminated against under any program educational or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

With the approval of Act IX, women were given equal opportunities to not only gain access to competition in sports, but women in college in general. This law provides the same educational programs, admissions, academic majors, teaching positions, professional programs and individual classes, the same opportunities for women as for men. Since the creation of Title IX, women have grown in academic opportunities not only in sports, but also in earning a variety of degrees specifically earned in medicine, law, mathematics, and the sciences.

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