The 2017-18 season is a landmark one for the Missouri Valley Conference and for women’s sports. To help celebrate the 45th anniversary of Title IX and the 25th anniversary of women’s sports in the MVC, league staff, in conjunction with SWAs, marketing directors and sports information directors at its 10 institutions, have developed a list of initiatives with the following goals in mind:
- To honor women student-athletes from the first 25 years of MVC competition
- To recognize outstanding achievements during the first 25 years of women in the MVC
- To bring attention to the current women student-athletes
- To honor the Conference history of women’s sports and its pioneers
- To enhance future progress of women student-athletes
The MVC has unveiled a landing page on the league’s website to help celebrate the anniversary season as well as pioneers of women’s athletics (www.mvc-sports.com/women25). Additionally, the hashtag #MVCWomen25 will be used throughout the season on all social media posts.
Other plans for the celebration include the creation of a logo celebrating 25 years of women’s athletics in the MVC that will appear on printed pieces at the conference and institutional level. 25-year teams for each of the league’s sponsored sports for women’s athletics (cross country, soccer, volleyball, swimming and diving, basketball, track and field, golf, tennis, and softball), will also be created to identify the most impactful student-athletes who participated in the MVC during those first 25 years (1992-2017). In addition, promotional spots and public service announcements will air in both league-produced and institutionally produced telecasts and a series of pop-up banners promoting the anniversary will be displayed at all 10 institutions and at league championship sites.
In partnering with the MVC to celebrate the anniversary season and pioneers of women’s athletics, Illinois State Athletics has developed several local plans to tell its story:
- ISU will celebrate the anniversary with specially designated competitions during each of the women’s seasons this year to honor former student-athletes, coaches and staff from that sport and highlight their championships and accomplishments
- The MVC 25-year logo will be showcased on team posters, game programs and media guides as well as on video boards and in-arena signage throughout the year
- TV interviews with Redbird women alumni will air during ESPN3 telecasts at select events and sit down chats will be posted on GoRedbirds.com
- A social media campaign highlighting the achievements of Redbird women’s athletics roll out with infographics, videos, pictures and other unique content developed throughout the year
- Pop-up banners with photos of Illinois State legends and pioneers will be displayed at women’s athletic events
The Missouri Valley Conference was founded in 1907 and is the nation’s second oldest Division I athletics conference. Women’s sports were incorporated into the MVC in 1992, having previously competed under the Gateway Conference banner from 1982-92. This August, the Conference announced its 2018 Hall of Fame Class, which features three women (in the six-person class). A total of 22 women’s athletes, coaches and pioneers have been honored by the MVC as part of the Hall of Fame.