Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics Department celebrates 25 years

by Fabiana Torreao

Although female student athletes have played for the University for 100 years, the Department of Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
The first recorded women’s game against a competitor outside the University was a 1900 basketball game against Stanley Hall.
After 75 years of playing through the physical education department, Title IX legislation opened the door to establishment of an official women’s athletics department.
“(Before 1975) there wasn’t a lot of money, and they did it just for fun and for the love of the game,” said Jonda Hammons, the department’s executive assistant.
Hammons added that, at the time, many female student athletes competed in three or four sports.
By establishing the department in 1975, the University took on new responsibilities. Priorities included allocating resources to fund the women’s athletic department and provide guidance and leadership for athletes, Hammons said.
“It provided us with more resources, more facilities. With that type of support we’ve been able to become more competitive,” Hammons said. “All those things over the last 25 years have grown tremendously.”
In 1975 there were about 160 female students competing for the University in athletic competitions. Now, more than 330 women student athletes represent the University in 12 different sports.
The department’s budget perhaps best represents the department’s growth in the last 25 years. The operating budget when the department was formed was $159,781, compared to the nearly $11 million budget for the 2000-2001 fiscal year.
The Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics Department will sponsor a weekend of celebration of their silver anniversary during Homecoming weekend.
Organizers are expecting 400 people at the dinner party on Oct. 28, following the homecoming game. The celebration at the Pavilion requests 1970s attire in recognition of the era in which the department was established, Hammons said.
Other events will also take place that weekend.
“We’d like to celebrate everyone who has been a part of women’s athletics,” Hammons said. “Everyone who has made a difference.”

Fabiana Torreao welcomes comments at [email protected]