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Nancy Hogshead-Makar Addresses Springfield College at Karpovich Lecture

For some teams, cities and colleges, losing is all too familiar. In 2003, the Tennessee State Tigers men’s basketball team knew what it was like to lose. Finishing their season with a total of two wins and 25 loses and a 21-game losing streak to boot, the Tigers only shining moment came from Teresa Phillips.

Pat Kenney
Campus News Editor

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy: Marketing and Communications
Photo Courtesy: Marketing and Communications

For some teams, cities and colleges, losing is all too familiar. In 2003, the Tennessee State Tigers men’s basketball team knew what it was like to lose. Finishing their season with a total of two wins and 25 loses and a 21-game losing streak to boot, the Tigers only shining moment came from Teresa Phillips.

Phillips, in light of the losing streak, made history by becoming the first women coach of a men’s Division I basketball team. Despite losing her only game as a head coach, Phillips’ stint showed the country just how rare women coaches were in men’s sports.

With people like Teresa Phillips leading the way for change, Title IX seems to be working – or is it?

Nancy Hogshead-Makar, who is no stranger to bringing Title IX to the forefront, addressed the Springfield College community about the topic Monday night as the presenter for the Peter V. Karpovich Lecture with her presentation titled, “Title IX: We won right? So, why the stubborn disparities in athletics?”

An Olympic gold medalist in 1984, Hogshead-Makar has been a lifelong advocate for equality in athletics. Currently the senior director of advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation, Springfield College awarded her an honorary doctor of Humanics in 2002.

Outside of her fight for equality, Hogshead-Makar is a member of 12 separate Hall of Fames, including the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.

As of 2012, only three percent of all Division I men’s athletic teams were headed by females. Despite the low percentage of women’s head coaches, women’s athletics have taken huge strides since the passage of Title IX in 1972.

The Department of Justice states that Title IX is, “a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.”

Simply put, Title IX makes it so that no one is discriminated against, in any athletic or educational setting because of their sex.

Strictly looked at in the athletic setting, Title IX covers much more than just onfield events.

“It’s more than a college [sports] act,” commented Dr. Mimi Murray, professor of Exercise Science and Sports Studies at Springfield. “It also covers public education at any level, [college] or high school.”

Despite all the good that has come from Title IX, women have never been able to close the gap on men in the education and athletic fields. In 2012, the difference between men and women in high school sports stood at 1.3 million athletes.

Although the gap remains the same, schools like Springfield understand that equality is key, and athletics are the only place where men and women are separate. Springfield provides equal opportunities to both its men and women athletes.

Hogshead-Makar stated that Springfield College is doing it right. With women making up 40 percent of the athletes on campus, Springfield College is on the path towards equality.

“I love that it is not just athletics here. Education comes first,” commented Hogshead-Makar. “Not to mention the extra clubs on campus. Student-athletes do a lot.”

Murray, however, believes that there is always more to work on.

“We can always improve,” said Murray. “I’ve seen amazing growth and I hope it continues.”

When it comes to being a student-athlete, the student part comes first. Embracing the spirit, mind, and body mantra, Springfield College prides itself in its academic achievements.

Even after 50 years of women’s varsity athletics and inclusion at Springfield, there is and will always be room for improvement. Nothing is perfect and on the basis of equality, there can never be too much.

After posting its highest athletic GPA in history, in Hogshead-Makar’s eyes, Springfield College seems to be handling men’s and women’s athletics the right way.

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