The Wisconsin Badgers took to the field like many athletic teams across the country last weekend to honor the 50th anniversary of Title IX, a federal law which was ratified in 1972 that outlawed discrimination based on sex when it comes to school programs.
The University of Wisconsin (UW) football team showed their support during their pre-game warmup, while the Badgers’ women’s basketball team also showed up. During halftime, individuals who lived through the passage of Title IX shared their experiences to the UW crowd.
The UW women’s tennis team wasn’t able to make the celebration, ironically perhaps due to the legacy of Title IX, as they were busy competing in Milwaukee. Still, coach Kelcy McKenna had kind words to share.
“I think it’s just a testament to who the University of Wisconsin athletic department is,” McKenna said, as the women’s tennis season started and the women’s soccer team took home a big 3-1 win against Iowa.
“It’s just such an incredible thing for all women’s athletics, especially right now in this climate of collegiate sports,” McKenna continued.
But an even bigger highlight happened when the women’s volleyball team broke attendance records at the Kohl’s Center for their Friday game, attracting 16,833 fans over the previous record of 15,797 attendees.
“People are passionate about the game of volleyball. We need to continue to dream big,” Kelly Sheffield, the Badgers volleyball coach, said following their loss.
“It just really hits home when you think about the crowds that we’re pulling in every match and this is another match that there’s going to be a massive amount of people,” Danielle Hart, a graduate student who’s studied Title IX, said.
Women’s basketball and women’s hockey, which starts soon, are hoping the momentum and passion showcased over the weekend will give their teams a boost as well.
“I think our goal is not just boosting our presence that we have here on this campus, but just women’s athletics in general and continuing to push that forward,” Hart continued.