Athletics | 6/22/2022 7:44:00 am
The University of Minnesota capped off its 50 years of women’s athletics year-long celebration during a gathering Monday, June 21, 2022 at Athletes Village. Overall the 2021-22 season, Gopher Athletics highlighted the success of individuals and programs over the first 50 years of women in Gopher sports.
Deputy Athletics Director and Senior Women’s Administrator Julie Manning kicked off the events and welcomed the attendees, including athletes from women’s gymnastics, women’s hockey and women’s basketball as well as sponsors from TruStone and Delta Dental. Director of Athletics Mark Coyle as well as University President Joan Gabel also addressed the importance of women in sports, but also outstanding University of Minnesota women graduates throughout its history. Gabel is also the first-ever woman to be the university president in Minnesota history. Manning also recognized the four honorary committee 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 leading our medical team for years. Her student, Dr. Kelsey Wise, also spoke to the attendees as she is the 50th woman to graduate through the orthopedic residency program.
History of Gopher Women’s Sports
The University of Minnesota officially recognized women’s athletics through the physical education department in 1971 and was given 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 varsity intercollegiate sport in 1971, followed by its first women’s head coach, Jean Freeman in 1973. The University of Minnesota officially formed the Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic department in July of 1975.
Since 1971, the University of Minnesota has added 12 varsity sports, the most recent being rowing in 2000. The Big Ten formally sponsored women’s conference play and championships in 1982. Minnesota had separate Men’s and Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics Departments before it merged together in 2002.
Since the inception of Minnesota women’s sports, the Golden Gophers have won seven national titles, 66 conference championships and 17 individual national championships. In addition, the University of Minnesota boasts some of the nation’s best facilities, five of which are named after women: Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center (swimming & diving), Ridder Arena (women’s hockey), Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium (soccer), Irene Claudia Kroll Boathouse (rowing) and Jane Sage Cowles Stadium (softball).
History of Title IX
June 23, 2022, marks the 50th anniversary of when the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was signed, stating: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
With Title IX approved, women have been given equal access for women to not only have access to compete in sports, but women in college overall. This law provided the same educational programming, admission, academic majors, teaching positions, vocational programs and individual classes the same opportunities for women as men. Since the inception of Title IX, women have grown in academic opportunities not only in sports, but access to receive a variety of degrees specifically achieved in medicine, law, math and science.