Warhawk athletics striving for equality


Morgan Guenther

Junior Kylie Jacobs runs hard at the start of the seventh heat of the women’s four hundred meter dash during the “Squig” Converse Invitational in Whitewater on Jan. 29, 2022.

Parker Olsen, Sports Editor

In 1973 Title IX was passed in order to ensure that no matter what gender an athlete identifies themselves that they would be given equal opportunities. Although Title IX does ensure that males and females have equal opportunities, it works towards growing opportunities for female athletes especially. UW-Whitewater athletics have worked hard to adhere to Title IX and to be special in regards to women’s equality having an abundance of opportunities for athletes of all genders.

Many times people look at UW-W sports and assume that there are actually fewer opportunities for male athletes because there are two more sports available for women than men. However, these two extra women’s sports are the great equalizers in terms of equality. The number of roster spots are what must be equal, not number of sports. They do not necessarily have to be equal one to one either, they actually just have to be in proportion to the student population.

“We have to provide the same number of opportunities in Athletics in proportion to our student body population. We have more women’s sports, because there is no women’s sport that can provide the same number of roster spots as football. Football carries 108 roster spots, so we must provide those opportunities for women as well,” said Senior Women’s Administrator Keri Carollo.

Director of Athletics Ryan Callahn went further into explaining how proportionality works in regards to Title IX.

“To keep it simple, if our student population is 50% male and 50% female then we try to stay within two percentage points of that,” Callahn said. “Obviously we have football, so when you think about all of the sports football is primarily single gender so it is going to have the highest number of student athletes. So to provide that equal number proportionality we have had to add a few sports.”

Adding sports such as women’s bowling, which became an NCAA sport in 2003, is how equal opportunities are ensured through roster spots. Because of the massive number of roster spots in football, if UW-W were to add a sport both Callahn and Carollo agreed it would have to be a women’s sport. If the university were to add a sport the first place it would look would be around the rest of the conference.

“I think one of the easiest ways to think about adding a sport is to ask what the conference already has that we don’t have. Right now I think we have every womens sport except for lacrosse. I’m not saying we are going to add women’s lacrosse, but if we were going to venture down that road it would be one of the first ones to look at because there are already a number of schools that have it,” Callahan said.

Another part of Title IX is keeping up with interest. For the first time ever the WIAA, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, held a girls state wrestling championship which concluded Saturday Feb. 26. If wrestling were to continue to grow then the athletic department would take it into account when adding a new sport. UW-Stevens Point added womens wrestling in 2019.

Carollo, as the Senior Women’s Administrator, does a lot of work to make sure that the university and the athletic department specifically are adhering to Title IX. 

Title IX as it pertains to Gender Equity I am responsible for creating the five year plan for maintaining Gender Equity within our department. We must be in compliance with the Office of Civil Rights, UW-Whitewater, UW System, and the NCAA,” Carollo said.

However, compliance is simply the minimum. Whitewater has some of the best facilities in all of Division III with many of them shared between both men’s and women’s teams. The ultimate goal is to move forward and put an extra emphasis on female athletes, which are abundant for Warhawks.

“We are one of the only schools that have a volleyball only gym; our softball facility is fantastic; obviously our mens and womens basketball share the same facility; mens and womens soccer share the same facility; and gymnastics has its own practice gym,” Callahan said. “We are in a pretty good spot, but the idea of Title IX isn’t just to be complacent, it is to move everything forward so it is something we are working on year in year out. Moving all of our athletics forward but also putting an emphasis on our female sports as well.”

Callahan spoke of an external study that was done, before he arrived as the director of athletics in May of 2021. The study examined the department’s facilities, equity, and equality in which the grade was quite good. Carollo said that their five year plan is assessed annually to make sure that things are still equitable. 

“That’s something that we take pride in. I think what really separates us from a lot of other schools is that when somebody talks about the history of Warhawk athletics some of the biggest players in that history are going to be our female coaches,” Callahan said. “We are very fortunate to have female leaders who have paved the way for the rest of our department to make sure that women’s student athletes have the same opportunities as everyone else.”

“If you look at a lot of our female coaches, they’re hall of fame coaches and they may not have gotten that opportunity if it wasn’t for Title IX and that’s pretty special. I feel like every time I come into the office, we are living and breathing the positive effects of Title IX.”

UW-Whitewater’s athletic department truly does strive to be equal for all, and then some by emphasizing their women’s sports teams. The Warhawks’ Hall of Fame is filled with female athletes and coaches and numerous in the WIAC Hall of Fame which will be inducting former Warhawks Dianne Jones and Kris Russell this summer. It is safe to say, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater celebrates excellence in athletics of all genders.


Junior forward Aleah Grundahl stops to make a score a jump shot during their home game against the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point Jan. 26, 2022.
(Morgan Guenther )