Saturday, Ferris State is hosting a youth event to celebrate 50 years of Title IX. The event will be followed with a GLIAC doubleheader against Northern Michigan starting with the women’s game at 1 p.m.
The Ferris State women’s squad recognizes what Title IX has done for them.
“Athletics has been my whole life, honestly. I mean, it’s helped me learn how to be a part of a team and make great friendships that will last a lifetime. So, athletics has been my whole life. I’ve grown up in all kinds of sports. And I think every person needs to be a part of a team, because it’s the most rewarding feeling,” senior guard Mallory McCartney said.
According to Women’s Sports Foundation, now, women make up 44% of NCAA athletes, prior to Title IX, women represented just 15%t of NCAA athletes.
Studies show that access to athletics keeps girls and women in school longer, and helps them become more confident, well-rounded adults.
For Ferris State Assistant Coach La’Karis Salter, basketball gave her free education, a bachelor’s in criminal education from Jacksonville University, and her master’s from Ole Miss.
“I think that women- we bring a lot to this world that people don’t know about. We’re strong. We’re beautiful, we’re passionate, and we work hard,” the assistant coach said.
Growing up and seeing women play at the highest level allowed Salter to become the successful woman in basketball she is today.
“It actually was my inspiration to even be on this level right now. I grew up watching Candace Parker, Lisa Leslie, they’re people in the WNBA that are retired now. So, it was very important for me. It let me know as a little girl that you can do that. And you could be better just like them.”
37 words and 50 years has changed everything for young girls and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
The Ferris State women feel proud to be a part of the GLIAC and NCAA where their talents are recognized.
“To be recognized makes you feel truly special to obviously be a woman and be a woman in sports, so credit to them, because it’s a great honor to be able to do that,” McCartney said.
Ferris women’s head coach Kurt Westendorp has been involved with collegiate athletics for the past 15 years and has seen first-hand how women’s sports have been able to grow.
“I think the world is finally starting to wake up a little bit to the really high level of athletics that’s getting played…the WNBA and even NCAA college basketball games are starting to get broadcast on network TV… that was a step that was not there 15 years ago or 20 years ago, when I was in college,” he said. " You know and the viewers are starting to really tune in and when you get more and more eyeballs on your sport It’s gonna keep growing.”
With more “eyeballs” on the sport, the Ferris women are committed to being role models for young girls watching.
“We do all these little kids’ camps. And it’s my favorite time of the year, just because you get to inspire them how you were once inspired from people above you. So, I think it’s great, we have great women to look up to, I mean, great coaches and staff to look up to, so it’s so inspirational to see and try to follow in the footsteps of great people in front of us,” said McCartney.
Ferris State’s 50 Year Celebration of Title IX begins at 10 am for those 12 and under. Registration for the event can be found here. There will be pizza and cake, along with the opportunity to meet with Ferris athletes. Those ages 12 and under will be admitted free to the Title IX celebration and game.