Forty years ago this month, the United States Congress passed legislation that came to be known as “Title IX.” In effect, it guaranteed women equal opportunities in college athletics; at the time, barely 30,000 female athletics participated at the college level. Today, nearly 200,000 women each year play NCAA sports.
Baylor’s Brittney Griner was named the best of them all last week, as she was honored with the 2012 Honda Cup, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate woman athlete. Griner beat out fellow finalists Teresa Noyola, a Stanford soccer player, and Keilani Ricketts, an Oklahoma softball player, for the award.
The honor continued Griner’s sweep of awards after a dominating junior season. In 2011-12, the 6-foot-8 post set a Big 12 women’s scoring record and led the nation in blocks while helping the Lady Bears win their second national championship. For her efforts, Griner won the Wade Trophy, Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy and Associated Press Player of the Year.
Spanning 12 NCAA-sponsored sports (basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball), the Honda Cup is the most prestigious individual honor in women’s college athletics and has been awarded each year since 1977. Baylor is the first school ever to claim the Honda Cup and the Heisman Trophy (arguably the most prestigious individual honor in men’s college athletics) in the same year.
Sic ’em, Brittney!