While there were no games for Binghamton University on Monday, the BU Events Center was still packed.
That would be because the Binghamton University Athletics Department hosted it’s 17th annual Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon.
The Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon was moved to Monday morning after being postponed from the original date of February 21st due to COVID.
One of the major draws for the event is the guest speaker, a spot which has been filled by big names such as Yankees Radio Color Commentator Suzyn Waldman, Sunday Night Baseball Color Commentator Jessica Mendoza, Olympic gold medal winners Shannon Boxx, Julie Foudy, and Joan Benoit Samuelson.
Joining the illustrious guest speaker list this year was another Olympic champion, Nancy Hogshead-Makar.
A 3-time gold medalist, Hogshead-Makar has devoted her post-swimming life to gender equality and has become one of the prominent voices behind Title IX.
Despite decades of battling for women’s equality in sports, Hogshead-Makar says the college scholarship dollar gap between men and women peaked at 1-billion dollars in 2020.
With the gap continuing to grow each year, the former Olympian and activist still sees a need for change.
Olympic Gold Medalist, Champion Women CEO Nancy Hogshead-Makar says, “The gap has been growing. It’s grown 27-percent just in the last 16 years. It’s not going to get better by itself. History does not equal progress. We’re going to have to make some serious changes in order to be able to get equality.”
Hogshead-Makar said that the gender inequality can be found at all levels of college athletics, noting that the ACC would need to add 45-million dollars in scholarship funds and 15-hundred opportunities for women in sports to bridge the gap between women and men’s sports funding.
While this luncheon is meant to inspire young women in athletics, Hogshead-Makar believes events like this can also be used remind them of how important college athletics are to a student-athlete’s education.
Olympic Gold Medalist, Champion Women CEO Nancy Hogshead-Makar says, “It’s really important that people, for events like this, recognize that sports is so much more than just swimming back and forth in a pool, or hitting a tennis ball, or whatever. This is part of their education. It is an invaluable part of their education that you can not get in other places.”
In what has been an enormous annual fundraising event since 2006, the Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon has helped secure well over 550-thousand dollars towards the Binghamton Bearcats Athletic Association Women’s Scholarship Fund, including over 53-thousand through Monday’s event.