No More ‘Lady Tritons’ for Girls Sports

Deidre Bellmore, Staff Writer

Notre Dame Academy’s Leadership Team recently decided to remove the title of “Lady Tritons” from all NDA women’s sports.

Jeanne Stangel, the new athletic director at NDA as well as the Vice President of Advancement and overseer of marketing and communications, initiated the decision to discontinue the use of the phrase.

“I used to be a basketball player at UW-GB, and I know that we work just as hard and fight just as hard. The rules are the same, and we play the same. So why should we have a different name?” said Stangel.

Stangel said that Title IX is one of the reasons she pushed the idea of removing the name. Title IX is a law passed in 1972 that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded program or activity, according to the US Department of Justice. For example, if a school offered a boys tennis team, the school must offer another girls sport in return, but not necessarily a tennis team.

Title IX offered a new way for more female athletes to have the opportunity to participate in the sport of their choice throughout the United States, including Becky Sisley, the first female athletic director of the University of Oregon in 1973.

According to the Title IX website, Sisley said, “I followed what I loved…You fight for what is right. You be true to yourself and what you believe in.”

Opponents to the law argued that Title IX could force schools to spend more money just to provide another activity or sport for the other gender.

According to Title IX History Fair Website, some loopholes have been found in the document. For example, schools have football as the major income of money. To then follow the law, the school provides girls golf, track, swimming and other sports to create balance for the men. However, they will not provide a men’s golf, track or swimming team due to the fact that the school has a football team, so they argue it’s still equal.

Yet, according to the Title IX website, eight in ten people agree with the law as it not only provides opportunity to female and male athletes but also provides opportunities for both genders to learn more, be more involved in school activities and have programs to teach sexual harassment.

The “Lady” title in women’s sports began when people had to differentiate between the men and women’s sports after Title IX.

“I don’t really understand what the problem is with being called ‘Lady Tritons.’ I personally have no problem being called that, and it made the girls program feel like it’s separated from the guys program,” said NDA varsity basketball player Elizabeth “Lizzie” Opicka.

Stangel said, “Many people I talk to say it’s sexist or degrading. We don’t call men the ‘gentlemen’ team, so why do women need a different title? It’s still the same sport.”

Stangel said removing the name was the most professional way to treat women because the purpose of Title IX was to bring equity to both genders in school programs so they would have the same opportunities, not to give women a sport but still be labeled differently.

“I even helped remove the ‘Lady’ title at UWGB when I was a Senior Women’s Administrator. Mostly everyone agreed, and now our women’s teams are no longer the ‘Lady Phoenix,’ but just ‘Phoenix’. We found that the name had no benefit,” said Stangel.

To contact Jeanne Stangel for more information on the change of name or more information on Title IX, email her at [email protected] or see her in her office in the Student Services section of NDA.

“Now, there will be no more ‘Ladies.’ There will only be Tritons,” said Stangel.