Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University Athletics, in cooperation with the university's sports communication class, has announced plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX.
The event will be held in conjunction with the Bulldogs' scheduled Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) home doubleheader versus Findlay on Friday, April 26. First pitch for game one of the twinbill is set for 3:30 p.m. (ET) with the nightcap to follow at approximately 5:30 p.m. (ET).
As part of the Title IX Celebration, free food will be offered to the first 100 fans compliments of Snyder's Market and Catering of Big Rapids. Prizes will be awarded and additional information on the significance of Title IX and its meaning will also be distributed.
In addition, a ceremonial first pitch will also be thrown out by Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame member Monica Folske, who was one of the Bulldogs' early women's head coaches and guided basketball, softball, tennis and volleyball teams at Ferris State from 1974-83.
The 2012-13 athletics season marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which was a law passed in 1972 that required gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program receiving federal funding.
The event is being coordinated by the sports communication class at Ferris State under the direction of Dr. Sandy Alspach in cooperation with Ferris State Athletics.
Many of the Bulldogs' women's varsity programs were established in the 1970's near the Title IX passage. In fact, this past season also marked the 40th anniversary of the Ferris State women's volleyball program.
"It's amazing we've had volleyball for 40 years and this is only the 40th anniversary of Title IX," said FSU head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. "Ferris was really on the cutting edge of putting women's sports out there and really highlighting them. It is such an honor for me to be part of this program and it is humbling to think of all the great coaches and players that have been here before us."
Bulldog fans along with former female student-athletes, coaches and administrators are invited back to campus to cheer on the Bulldogs and help honor the tradition of excellence established by Ferris State's women's sports teams.
"This is an outstanding opportunity to honor those who have helped chart the course for women's athletics at Ferris State," said FSU Senior Women's Administrator Sara Higley, who also oversees NCAA compliance. "Title IX was an important initiative that has such a profound significance to this day and it will be awesome to highlight that in conjunction with a Bulldog Softball home contest."
Admission to the doubleheader is free. The series will kick off the Bulldogs' final regular-season home action of the 2012-13 athletics season. In addition to the doubleheader versus Findlay, the FSU softball team will also host Hillsdale in a GLIAC twinbill the following day on Saturday, April 27.
The two weekend matchups are the final scheduled home events for any Ferris State team this season, at least in the regular-season, making this event a perfect way to end the year.
Title IX 's passage in 1972 was landmark legislation enacted by Congress that attacked the gender divide in sports. Today, the divide has been virtually erased. In 1972, only 30,000 girls participated in sports at the high school or collegiate levels and today that number is over three million.
"We look forward to this outstanding event and hope fans come out to support not only our team, but also this important historical event," said FSU softball head coach Marie Foster. "We're excited to help honor those who have walked in our shoes before us."