Feb. 7, 2007

PARK RIDGE, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference, led by each of its 11 member institutions, is proud to be an active participant in the 21st annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), which is being celebrated on a national level today, Feb. 7.

On Wednesday, thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, students, and parents across the country will show their support of the day and of this year’s theme, “Throw like a girl — Lead like a champion!” NGWSD is celebrated in all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies, and activities honoring the achievements and encouraging participation of girls and women in sports.

Several conference schools will be celebrating NGWSD at their home basketball games this week. On Thursday, Iowa will promote the event by providing free admittance to all youths, high school age and younger, to its game against Michigan. Area kids have been encouraged to wear their team jersey for a chance to win one of two registrations to a Hawkeye women’s athletic camp this summer.

On Sunday, Illinois hosts nationally-ranked Ohio State and a “Paper the Hall” event for which 8,000 tickets have already been distributed. The first 4,000 fans will receive orange “Go Illini” poster cards at the entrances and there will be an autograph session after the game with the team, while several other female Illini squads will be on hand. Northwestern will also celebrate the event at its home game Sunday against Penn State, which will be attended by many past and present Wildcat female student-athletes.

This past weekend, several women’s teams from Michigan State attended the basketball game against Penn State, signed autographs, and held mini-clinics on the concourse level prior to the game. At halftime, all of the Spartan teams were honored with a video presentation, while representatives from various teams addressed the crowd. The same was done last Sunday at Ohio State, when student-athletes from 11 Buckeye teams attended the basketball game against Iowa and participated in a pregame autograph session. Michigan celebrated with its second-straight conference home victory with a win over Northwestern in front of 3,065 fans at Crisler Arena.

On Sunday, Feb. 18, Indiana women’s basketball hosts Illinois in a game which will serve as the Hoosiers’ celebration day. Fans are encouraged to come early and meet IU female student-athletes, try new sports skills and learn about the benefits of participating in sports. Pregame activities include interactive stations focusing on women’s health, fitness, safety issues, academic successes and career opportunities.

Minnesota’s NGWSD celebration occurred on Jan. 21, during a home basketball game with Penn State, while the Lady Lions, Purdue and Wisconsin have also been active participants in the celebration of NGWSD.

NGWSD began in 1987 as a day to honor Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman, a world-class athlete who helped the United States women’s volleyball team to a silver medal at the 1984 games in Los Angeles. Hyman used her notoriety to set an example of community involvement while significantly enhancing the opportunities for girls and women in sport. Following Hyman’s sudden passing while playing volleyball in Japan in 1986, NGWSD continues to evolve into a celebration of the past and recognition of current achievements for girls and women in sport.

For more information regarding NGWSD, please click on this link: