Happy Anniversary Title IX

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On June 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX barring discrimination on the basis of sex for “any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”  Title IX opened doors for girls and women by banning sex discrimination in all federally funded school programs, including sports.

Forty-five years later, how have things changed? To begin with, the number of girls who participate in high school athletics has risen tenfold since its passing, from 300,000 nationwide in 1971 to over 3 million today. That’s encouraging because research shows that among C-level business women, 94 percent played sports and over half competed at the collegiate level.

The good news continues in a recent report released by the NCAA suggesting that progress has been made in a number of areas when it comes to participation, diversity, and equality among college athletes, their coaches and their athletic directors.

Unfortunately, the report also reveals that while spending has climbed to record levels for both genders there remains a stark gap in leadership between the sexes – and it’s not just in the sports world. Whether it’s education, corporate America, or Congress, women are sorely underrepresented in leadership roles. Women are CEOs of just 28 companies in the S&P 500. Only 31 percent of law school deans are women. Women make up approximately 51 percent of the American population, and there are 435 members of our House of Representatives. Eighty-three are women. That’s just 18 percent. And in sports, 88 percent of head coaches of women’s college teams are white, and nearly 57 percent of them are men. Those numbers are simply unacceptable.

The reports goes on to show that spending on men’s and women’s athletic programs is at a record-high, and that over the past decade spending has doubled across all three NCAA divisions with the greatest gap between the two found in Division I. Division I athletic departments spend on average about twice as much on their men’s programs than their women’s programs, though schools without football spend nearly the same on each (about $5 million).

Title IX has undoubtedly moved women in sports in a positive direction. Why is this so important? Because young women who are involved in sports are learning about teamwork, sportsmanship, physical fitness, confidence and winning and losing – all the important qualities needed to become a strong and successful leader. Boys have always been afforded this luxury but for most of the 20th-century, girls have not.

I am thankful for what Title IX has afforded me and my daughter and look forward to where it takes us in the future.

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U.S. women’s hockey wins the gold medal and equal pay

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It was a wild three weeks for the U.S. women’s national hockey team that culminated with a gold medal win in overtime against team Canada.

But getting to that championship game took courage, determination, and a will to stand up for what they believed in.

The 2017 International Ice Hockey World Championship took place for the first time ever on US soil at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. The tournament takes place annually in non-Olympic years to determine the world champion in senior women’s hockey.

The event, March 31 through April 7, 2017, was an 8-team, 22-game tournament that saw a total of 18 games played on the arena’s main sheet (NHL-sized rink), while four games were played on the arena’s secondary sheet (Olympic-sized rink).

The teams competing in Plymouth in ranking order were USA, Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Germany. Team USA won gold in the 2016 tournament, held in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.

But in a surprise move, the American players called a boycott of the event on March 15th telling USA Hockey they wouldn’t participate without a new contract that offered better pay, more PR and marketing support from USA Hockey, and equitable treatment to what the men receive.

USA Hockey pushed back and threatened to send a replacement team. However, when they attempted to seek out replacement players, they received a resounding “no” from most of those asked.

The women stood strong and with help of a smart social media campaign, and support from several sponsors and professional sports leagues (NBA, MLB, NHL), their message was heard.

An agreement was finally reached on March 29th which left the women only 48 hours to prepare for the tournament. Bu there was no way they were going to cause such a stir and not win the gold medal on their home turf.

“We knew a lot of eyes were on us, and there was pressure,” American Kendall Coyne told ESPNW.

They handled the pressure like champions by winning five games in eight days. The gold medal game v. Canada was a nail-biter that went into overtime before American forward Hilary Knight, off an assist from Coyne, ripped one in the next to win it.

It was the team USA’s seventh world title in eight years, and was the perfect, and only way to end their unprecedented journey for equal rights.

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#SportBits . . .Weekend WrapUp

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Happy Monday #SportBits readers! There is a lot of sports news to discuss so let’s get right to it.

There are now six New England Patriot players refusing to go to the White House for the Super Bowl celebration and perfunctory meeting with POTUS with pressure mounting on more to join.

Martellus Bennet started it all by saying before the Super Bowl that he wouldn’t go if the Patriots won. He reiterated those sentiments shortly after they defeated the Falcons.

The next day safety Devin McCourt joined Bennett saying he would not attend because he “doesn’t feel accepted in the White House.”

Soon Dont’a Hightower, LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long said they would not attend either. Long, the only white player in the group went on to say there is a “pathetic sea of NFL white silence this year.”

Fans are ramping up pressure through social media urging team members to boycott and expressing support for those who won’t attend.

FYI: Tom Brady skipped the post-Super Bowl visit in 2015 while Barack Obama was president citing a “prior family commitment.” He was seen less than 24hrs later at an Apple store shopping for watches. Brady did attend all three times during George W Bush years.

More sports and politics to report with Steph Curry openly questioning Kevin Plank and his association with President Trump.

575ae5a51500002b00739e30Kevin Plank is the CEO of Under Amour and Steph Curry is their superstar client. Curry’s signing by Under Armor put them on the map in the sports apparel industry and was a huge coup over main rival Nike. Curry is probably the most popular endorser of Under Armor apparel. Even those grandpa-looking shoes were a bestseller.

But when Plank praised Trump as an “asset to the country,” Curry took to twitter .

Curry responded with “I agree with that description,” Curry said, “If you remove the ‘et’” from asset.”

Curry then followed up his tweet with daylong discussions with Under Armour reps and Kevin Plank himself who explained that his views were meant from a business perspective and not political. Plank tried to distance himself from Trump’s controversial policies and comments that have enraged women, Muslims, Mexicans, African-Americans and the poor and impoverished across the nation. Curry felt comfortable with the explanation.

To me, it was an positive example of how open and honest communication can solve problems and misunderstanding during this volatile time.

The same can not be said for the situation in New York where team President Phil Jackson has taken to the media to shame and humiliate his star player, Carmelo Anthony. Whether it’s in an online article stating that Anthony holds the ball too long, or his comparison via twitter of Anthony to a failed ex-NBA player – Jackson’s choice of communication and follow through is not the way to solve problems or misunderstandings – and doesn’t feel very zen-like to me.

More news from Knickland: Former Knick legend Charles Oakley got into a scuffle before the Clipper game last week and was escorted out of Madison Square Garden and arrested. Oakley was allegedly sparring with Knick Owner James Dolan over being left out of recent Knick activities. Dolan’s actions have backfired as fans have taken to social media in support of Oakley and have been chanting his name at home games.

PEOPLE ARE FEELING EMPOWERED TO SPEAK THEIR MINDS THESE DAYS AND I LIKE IT!

On to the NBA..where the OKC Thunder fans were speaking their minds Saturday night.

The big game that had everyone talking was the Golden State Warriors v. Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. It was the long-awaited return of Kevin Durant to OKC – a place he had spent all previous eight seasons before joining their biggest rivals, the Warriors.

Duran hired extra security for what was an emotionally charged and explosive scene at Chesapeake Energy Arena. He was booed as he entered the arena, as he was introduced and every time he touched the ball. His mom said later she was hurt by the treatment she and her son received on Saturday night.

“The most vicious things you could say, they said about my son tonight. It’s hurtful. We poured our heart into this place. Not just him. Our family. This is basketball. This is not whether or not you’re going to make it into heaven.” ~ Wanda Durant

But the game didn’t really live up to the hype as the Warriors defeated the Thunder 130-114. Durant scored 34 points and Russell Westbrook had 47 for the Thunder.

OK, TIME TO TUNE INTO COLLEGE HOOPS PEOPLE.

March Madness is right around the corner. The tournament begins March 14th and concludes the final four weekend, April 1 and April 3rd. Sixty-eight teams are chosen: 32 Division I conference champions and 36 at-large bids.

So, pick your team now and start following because in a couple weeks that’s all we’ll be talking about. #prepper

In women’s basketball, the No.1 UCONN women’s team looks to extend their winning streak to 100 v. No.6 South Carolina tonight in Storrs, CT. The Huskies last loss came early in the 2014-15 season against then No. 6 Stanford. THAT IS ONE HELLUVA STAT! I’m not a UCONN fan but I’m rooting for them to hit 100.

Lastly:

Jordan Spieth won at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am over the weekend. This was his 9th PGA tour title. Tiger Woods has pulled out of the Genesis Open in Los Angeles this week citing back spasms.

9bb6611d3ae470f21ae0b62f232ed5c4.jpgAt UFC208 in Brooklyn on Saturday, Germaine de Randamie defeated MMA fighter Holly Holm for the inaugural featherweight title. There was some controversy surrounding the fight when after the second round horn sounded, de Randamie continued to throw punches, landing what many considered the best strike of the night that seemed to wobble Holm as she walked back to her corner. Despite complaints, the ref did not warn de Randamie or take a point. de Randamie has agreed to a rematch because of the controversy.

That’s it for now. Check back on mcsportbits.com for more sports stories, scores and highlights and make sure to follow on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for breaking news!!

#SportBits … a little bit of info is all you need.

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