Title IX 50th Anniversary Celebration


Morgan Witthun

A display in the Redsten Gymnasium lobby showcased women’s athletics at Madison College for the Title IX anniversary event.

Taleise Lawrence, Assistant Editor

Title IX was established in 1972 and Madison College recognized its 50th anniversary on Jan. 24. In addition to the double-header basketball game that night, there was also a luncheon for current female student-athletes, coaches and staff. Hall of Famers JoAnn Walker and Ellen Becker attended the luncheon and featured as honorary captains for the women’s basketball game.
During halftime, the WolfPack showed a video that was “dedicated to every advocate and proponent of female involvement in athletics.”
In a conversation moderated by Athletic Communications Director Adam Eichstedt, Associate Athletic Director Lois Heeren was joined by Administrative Coordinator for the Athletics Department Kris Mills and Administrative Coordinator in the Department of Athletics, Physical Education, Fitness, Health and Recreation Denise Stenklyft to discuss their experiences in sports and how things have progressed since they played.
Heeren talked about not having the same opportunities and not even being aware of it.
She played six on six basketball, which was common for her in Iowa, while the boys were playing five on five.
“That’s all I grew up on and people, you know, in later years would always say, ‘well didn’t you miss five on five.’ Well, I never knew any different,” Heeren stated.
In 2013, Madison College received a complaint that included the disparity in the number of men’s teams versus women’s teams. Now in 2023, there are an even number of sports, including softball, volleyball, basketball, soccer and esports for women.
“Here the men have opportunities to go on for scholarships. The women, right, were somewhat, not discriminated, but were kind of left behind,” Heeren added. “[The women] had vans, the guys had a chartered bus.”
Mills remembers having very few female coaches.
“I look at my past years, I had one female coach … through all my sports that I played. One female coach and now, there are so many. I mean, there’s female coaches coaching male sports … and even females in administrative roles in athletic departments … That’s something that I’m happy has progressed,” said Mills.
Madison College currently has one female head coach and nine women in assistant coach positions. Disparities can be seen in the NCAA as well. In 2021, the male basketball coaches of the Final Four made $1 million more than the female coaches did, according to Insider.
“As a former coach, I have struggled mightily with the salaries of female coaches… you see these big salaries, you see these big incentives and you don’t see these for the women, the women coaches,” Heeren said.
She added, “I hope it’s not another 50 years that women’s salaries can be the same as the men’s salaries, that women can be in a leadership role just like the men, that women have an equal opportunity when it comes to a resume, that they’re given that opportunity … We’re definitely on the right track, we have a long ways to go, but, you know, excited for our progress and we’ll continue to grow.”
And how can Madison College continue to grow? Stenklyft said that, “(Female athletes) need to get uncomfortable. And if they don’t advocate for themselves, no one else will.”
Heeren said, “For the female athletes, find your passion. Pursue your passion. Whatever you need to do on that, but you need to have a passion.”