Nevada again nation's best in gender equity scorecard

4/11/2007 7:00:00 AM

For the second consecutive year, the University of Nevada Intercollegiate Athletics Department is listed as the best in the nation in providing opportunities for women in sports, according to the fourth annual Gender Equity Scorecard.

The Gender Equity Scorecard was developed by Charles L. Kennedy, a senior political science instructor at Penn State University-York. The study was designed to rank schools based on their compliance with the spirit and intent of Title IX, the 1972 federal law designed to provide women with equal opportunity in sports.

The University of Nevada ranked first in the nation among 113 NCAA Division I-A schools from 11 conferences included in the study. The report graded schools in five criteria using data from the 2004-05 academic year, including participation, scholarships, coaching salaries, recruitment budget and operating expenses.

The Wolf Pack also checked in as the top school in the Western Athletic Conference for the third consecutive year in the study, while the WAC was listed as the best conference in the nation in providing opportunities for women.

Nevada also has been recognized by the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport at Texas A&M University in its 2006-07 Diversity in Athletics Awards. The athletics department was recognized for its diversity strategy and the gender diversity of its employees. In 2005-06, Nevada also was recognized for its overall excellence in diversity by the laboratory, which annually recognizes the NCAA Division I-A athletics departments that excel in the area of diversity

"It is an honor to be recognized for our ongoing dedication to offer programs that represent the interests of both males and females and to bring in individuals who help to diversify our university," Nevada Director of Athletics Cary Groth said. "We are committed to providing opportunities for student-athletes, coaches and staff to excel on and off the playing field, regardless of their individual characteristics."

"Diversity and gender equity are important societal issues. This is a terrific achievement and reflects a deeply held commitment to prepare student-athletes for success in the classroom and in life," said University President Milt Glick. "I commend Cary Groth and the coaches, staff and student-athletes who made this recognition possible."

Nevada sponsors 12 women's varsity sports featuring more than 280 female student-athletes.  The Wolf Pack has added three women's sports in the last nine years, participating in successful legislative lobbying for gender equity funding and private fundraising to accomplish those goals. Nevada added women's golf in 1998 and women's soccer in 2000, while the university also brought back its women's softball program in 2003 after a 14-year hiatus.

In the eight years from the 1995-96 academic year to 2004-05, the number of Nevada's female student-athletes and the Wolf Pack's scholarship budget for women's athletics have more than doubled, according to the data submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. Nevada's participation went from 122 female student-athletes in 1995-96 to 273 in 2004-05, representing a 124 percent increase, while the scholarship budget increased from $628,000 to $1,638,137 in that same span, making a 161 percent jump. The athletics department also has a written plan and a monitoring system in place to ensure its continued progress in the area of gender equity.

The Wolf Pack women's sports are also enjoying an era of unprecedented success. In 2005-06, the volleyball team made its fourth trip to the NCAA Championships in five seasons, the softball team won the WAC Tournament championship and made the program's first trip to the NCAA Championships and the track and field team saw two student-athletes earn All-America honors in the same year for the first time in school history.

Already this season, the soccer team captured the WAC Tournament title and earned its first NCAA appearance, the swimming and diving squad won its first WAC championship and the women's basketball squad earned the first postseason berth in school history with a trip to the Women's National Invitation Tournament.

"I am fortunate to work in an athletics department that strives for excellence in gender equity and diversity. The University of Nevada is committed to providing opportunities and resources for coaches and student-athletes from all backgrounds to be successful on and off the field, and that is very gratifying as a coach,"  said Nevada women's golf coach Jody Dansie.

"It's an honor to play for a university that takes so much pride in its women's athletics programs and their accomplishments," said Blaine Dugan, a junior midfielder and team captain on the Wolf Pack women's soccer squad. "The interest and support for women's sports at Nevada is growing, and our women's teams are more successful than they've ever been. We have a lot of people in the athletics department, at the university and in the community to thank for the opportunities female student-athletes have had and will have in the future."


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