“Why do we have Title IX?” Oswego State
University President Deborah F. Stanley asked the crowd
of students and faculty attending the Nov. 10 panel
discussion on “Reaffirming Title IX: A Record
Cornell University Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Jenny Grapp speaks to an audience of students and staff during a panel discussion titled, “Reaffirming Title IX: A Record of Success,” held Nov. 10.
“Because opportunity and choice should not be
arbitrarily decided on gender,” she said.
President Stanley, along with students, coaches and
SUNY Oswego’s Athletic Director Tim Hale, listened
as the panel of four distinguished female guests discussed
the importance of Title IX and how to make it a continuing
success in today’s society.
Invited to SUNY Oswego to speak about Title IX were
Horizon League Senior Commissioner Alfreeda Goff, WNBA
Vice-President Kristin Bernert, Cornell University Women’s
Lacrosse Head Coach Jenny Grapp and Kelly Iorillo, a
registered sports dietician with the Siegler Center
for Integrative Medicine.
Dr. Gwen Kay, associate professor of history at SUNY
Oswego, moderated the event.
A female athlete herself, Kay gave a brief introduction
on the history of women in sports. According to Kay,
women were initially forbidden to participate in sports
because it went against the “ideas of beauty.”
However, she noted that the first person to successfully
swim across the English Channel was a woman.
“I was a three-sport participant in high school
and college, and it never occurred to me that I couldn’t
do it,” Kay said.
Each panelist attributed her success in women’s
sports to a specific figure in her life. For Grapp it
was her brother. By playing football and other traditionally
male sports Grapp learned to build up the confidence
that helped her become the 2002 Intercollegiate Women’s
Lacrosse Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Now
entering her 10th year at the helm, she has developed
Cornell’s program into one of the most successful
in the nation.
Kristin Bernert just completed
her first season as vice president of WNBA team
business development. Bernert was invited to speak
at the Title IX panel discussion about the importance
of Title IX in women’s athletics.
Iorillo’s inspiration was her father, a bodybuilder
who stressed the importance of eating right while being
an active athlete.
Also giving credit to her father, for taking her to
football games and boxing matches, was Goff.
With nearly 30 years of intercollegiate athletics experience,
Goff has worked as both a coach and administrator. During
that time she has seen female athletes struggle to get
to the top in sports. However, she was quick to point
out that women and men are finally being treated equally.
“It’s gotten to winning,” she said.
“Winning is just as important on the women’s
side as it is on the men’s.”
Bernert considered herself a child of Title IX claiming,
“all of the heavy lifting was done,” by
the time she started participating in athletics. At
age 10, a speech by distinguished basketball coach Pat
Summit gave Bernert the inspiration to move forward
in women’s sports, particularly with the WNBA.
The WNBA stands for everything that Title IX represents,
“We have phenomenal women who play everyday,
work in the community and do tremendous things for sports,”
Senior Associate Commissioner
of Horizon League Alfreeda Goff answered questions
from the audience about why more women are not
involved in athletics.
Although the number of women athletes has risen from
16,000 in 1970 to 180,000 in 2006, a vital concern for
the panelists is that the number of female head coaches
in collegiate sports has declined from 90 to 40 percent.
According to Grapp, the problem with women striving
for head coaching positions is the time commitment.
Long hours and late nights leave little time for a home
Goff addressed the fact that there are not as many females
involved in athletics at the lower levels, like little
league. Fathers tend to coach more often; therefore,
women don’t have enough female influence ahead
of them to know that they can do the job.
So what’s next for women athletes?
According to Bernert, there is a definite opportunity
for sports like women’s soccer to make a comeback.
All that’s needed is a better strategy to get
more women behind leagues like the WNBA, she said.
Today, women take up 70 percent of WNBA stadium seats.
“Nothing makes me happier than to see a dad and
his daughter at one of our games,” Bernert said.
— Emily King ’05
The panel looks on as Kelly Iorillo, a registered sports dietician at the Siegler Center for Integrative Medicine, explains to student athletes how to eat a balanced diet and what foods are important to eat during the training season.
To December 2006 E-Newsletter