Lynne Roberts Excited To Celebrate Title IX With Utah Football
SALT LAKE CITY- It’s been 5o years since Title IX was passed and Utah Athletics has been pulling out the stops to celebrate the milestone for their female student-athletes, coaches, and administration both past and present. Utah football will be doing their part to honor their female counterparts during Saturday’s game against Oregon State and head women’s basketball coach Lynne Roberts is excited about what the opportunity means for the continued advancement of Title IX in the future.
#TitleIX turns 50 this year & @utahathletics has been celebrating. The milestone recognition will continue at @Utah_Football's game against OSU. Head @UTAHWBB coach @UtesCoachRob talked to @BodkinKSLsports about the importance of Title IX ahead of the weekend's events. #GoUtes pic.twitter.com/4tFKfQnhKf
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) September 30, 2022
“Women’s basketball, women’s sports, I think our leadership here in this athletic department values women’s athletics,” Roberts said. “I always want to be somewhere working where it matters, and it matters here.”
Lynne Roberts, From A Player To A Coach
Coach Roberts is one of the many benefactors of the federal law put into place on June 23, 1972 both as a player and a coach. During her playing career at Seattle Pacific University, Roberts set the school record for three-pointers made in a season at 82 and three-point percentage made in a game at 88%. These days as a coach, Roberts says she can see the changes and growth in women’s sports and that she feels like she’s had a front row seat to history.
“My experience with Title IX has been interesting because when I was a college player in the late ’90s- what it was then and what it is now- even though Title IX was 20 years old at that point or, 30 years old, it still wasn’t where it is now,” Roberts said. “We still have a long ways to go. I feel like I’ve had a front row seat for the progress that we’ve made. I’ve told different stories of my experiences as a college basketball player versus a men’s college basketball player just in terms of opportunities, experiences, budget, gear, food. Everything was just so much less than what the men got.”
— lynne roberts (@UtesCoachRob) September 9, 2022
Part of the growth in women’s sports and Title IX has been the realization that they deserve just as much as the men. Roberts reflected on how times have changed to the point where many of the things she accepted as a college student 25 years or so ago would not fly today.
“Even if you compare a women’s budget to a men’s budget, it’s still different,” Roberts said. “But back then, it was really different. From us getting one pair of shoes and the men’s team getting five. Or post game meals- we’d get peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while the men got to go out to dinner after games. I think the most shocking thing about that was when I was 18, 19, 20- I didn’t think anything of it.”
Utah Football Helping To Celebrate Title IX
Utah Athletics has been diligent in telling the many, many incredible stories of their female student-athletes and coaches over the summer and fall. These mini-celebrations of excellence will come to head this weekend with an online auction that will benefit women’s athletics at Utah, as well as a banquet to honor the accomplishments of the Utes’ female athletes and coaches Friday night.
Utah football will also get in on the action with videos, PA reads, videoboard graphics, and a recap of the banquet. For Roberts, seeing the flagship program of the school and state take the time to highlight the importance of Title IX and the women it helps is everything.
“The football team is the hand that feeds us all,” Roberts said. “Even so, they carry that program with such inclusion of us all. I think that is what makes Utah so cool.”
Knowing the Utes’ recognition of Title IX will have a big stage means a lot to Roberts, not only to be able to give the “pioneers” of women’s athletics the credit they deserve, but also allowing her current student-athletes to better see and understand the history.
“I’m so in awe of those women that coached during that time and in the ’80s and ’90s,” Roberts said. “They really are the pioneers of this movement when there really wasn’t any other reason to do it other than it was the right thing to do to fight that fight. They did. It will be really fun to celebrate some of those women and for our student-athletes, I think it’s really important to understand the history.”
A Brighter Future
Part of the appeal of taking the Utah job back in 2015 for Roberts was seeing an infrastructure already in place to have a successful women’s program. While a completely different sport than basketball, Roberts said she saw the success the Utes have had with the Red Rocks gymnastics team and felt like it was something she could eventually replicate with her team.
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“That was a big reason why I took this job,” Roberts said. “I think they figured out the blueprint of how to get the community behind them. I’ve talked a lot with Greg Marsden and have tried to pick his brain. Things have changed a lot even since then, but man, that guy is smart and he figured it out.”
While we have come a long way, Roberts is hopeful for an even brighter future. So far women’s basketball is upholding their end of the bargain having a break-through season in 2021-2022 where they made a run in to the Pac-12 Championship and saw their first invite to the NCAA Tournament in 11 years. The hope goes even further than just what is directly in front of Roberts however.
“My hope for the future of girls and women in sports is that it becomes the thing to do,” Roberts said. “The thing to cover, and the thing to promote, and market, and support, and get behind as a society.”
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