Indiana Fever mark 50th anniversary of Title IX

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Fever play the Dallas Wings in Dallas Thursday night on the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

Shayna Sangster, director of marketing for the Fever, will hold a special ceremony for both teams to recognize the law that changed the game for female athletes.

Fever staff and players spoke on the franchise’s significant role in female empowerment in the classroom and on the court. The franchise takes pride in the achievements of its staff and players. Back in the day, female athletes didn’t get much support and often had to provide their uniforms and equipment.

Title IX forced school administrations to make sports more equal. Congress passed Title IX in 1972 to help create gender equality. It protects girls and women from discrimination in schools, colleges, and universities.

Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell earned the WNBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week in May and spoke with News 8. She remembers and honors those that paved the way and continue to work toward equality and building a legacy for the future.

“There is a lot of foundation built for us to be here. We have so many people who paved the way. Sheryl Swoops, Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo, you name it, they have done it. Dawn Staley and they have done a great job to make sure that we have been put in the position to play. Obviously, other athletes and sports, of course, but specifically for basketball. I don’t think we would be here without them. I am just grateful to be here. I think our team is, and I think without Title IX and its significance, women’s sports would be as big as it is now,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell also earned her master’s degree in sports administration from the University of Cincinnati and is pursuing a Ph.D.

In honor of Title IX, guard Danielle Robinson is sporting a customized shoe at the game that says “pay women’s athletes” and “bring Brittney Griner home.” She spoke on how Title IX has changed the game over the years and how female players still work hard to get what they deserve.

“Without Title IX, I wouldn’t be playing the sport that I love or have the opportunities to be a role model for younger girls. I am very thankful for the women who laid the foundation who fought for us to have the same opportunities. Obviously, we still have a long way to go, but Title IX means so much, and for it to be 50th year is just incredibly special,” Robinson.

Late U.S. Senator Birch Bayh, of Indiana, sponsored the law.