Women are changing the face of sports. The number of young women participating in interscholastic sports has increased almost eightfold since Title IX prohibited gender discrimination in high school and college sports 25 years ago. Women now receive 37 percent of all college athletic scholarship dollars. Women's team competition in hockey, basketball, volleyball and soccer gets as much attention as gymnastics or ice skating at the Olympics. More women are filling administrative positions in professional and amateur sports as well.
The growing opportunities for women in sports will be examined in a conference on "The Emerging Role of Women in the Public Sphere of Sports," Friday and Saturday, May 1 and 2, at the University of Rochester. Careers, marketing, leadership, and lifestyles will be discussed, encouraging coaches, athletic directors, student athletes and their families to explore careers in sports.
Headlining the roster of speakers will be Myra Gelband, senior editor at Sports Illustrated and alumna of the University of Rochester, and Olympic diver Mary Ellen Clark. Clark won a bronze at the 1992 Olympics and came back from a year-long bout with vertigo to capture a bronze in 1996 as well. A five-time national champion in the 10-meter platform, Clark was name Female Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Diving and the United States Olympic Committee in 1993 and 1994. She'll talk about mental strategies in sports and overcoming obstacles.
Session presenters include Bernadette McGlade, associate commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference; Virginia Seitz, a Washington D.C. attorney specializing in sports law; and Meredith Geisler, marketing/promotion director for FILA USA Inc. McGlade will discuss the professionalization of women's sports, while Seitz will look at new career avenues in sports for women as well as career trends for the future. Geisler will discuss how women have been identified both as a new market to be developed and as a way to market products.
A panel discussion will examine how women athletes continue to integrate sports and fitness into their lives after high school and college competition. Panelists include: Julia Crotea, manager of the professional women's baseball team the Silver Bullets; Jill McCabe, player and manager of the Rochester Ravens, a professional women's soccer team, a University of Rochester graduate and assistant coach of the women's soccer team at the University; Esther Maltese, an associate professor at Nazareth College, head of the Rochester branch of the American Association of University Women, and an equestrian; and Leslie Marx, assistant professor in the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester, who competed in fencing at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
A panel of high school and college athletic directors will discuss how women have affected the manner in which sports teams and organizations are managed. Participants include Nancy Viola of the Batavia public schools; Chris Grant of the University of Iowa; and Judith Sweet of the University of California at San Diego.
The conference opens with a reception on Friday night for Rochester area athletes, Olympians and student athlete alumnae from the University of Rochester. All of the workshops will be held on Saturday. Sports Illustrated is underwriting Clark's appearance at the luncheon on Saturday.
The conference is the premiere event of the Babe Didrikson Zaharias Sports Institute, established by the Susan B. Anthony University Center to explore sports issues of interest and importance to women. The Anthony Center was established by the University of Rochester in 1995 to educate the community about women's achievements with programs and events about careers, education, public policy, health care, business, and other areas.
The Sports Institute events are open to the public For more information about attending the workshop sessions or luncheon, contact Jennifer Kofod, (585) 275-8799.