University of Minnesota

2021 Fall Tucker Center Newsletter

Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi

Greetings to all our Friends of the Tucker Center around the globe! Like some of you and your families, we are fully back in-person in the classroom...and also in the Tucker Center. After doing some serious dusting, we have enjoyed being back face-to-face (masks on, of course)! In this newsletter you’ll read about our unwavering commitment to girls and women in sport, and our work and efforts that we continued to conduct virtually, including impactful research, podcasts, our gender equity summer internship, and much more!

On October 27, we will host our annual signature event, the Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS). The fall 2021 DLS brings together a multidisciplinary panel of amazing scholars who will focus on the current and historical surveillance of women athletes. Read more about the DLS in this newsletter and register for this free virtual event. I am so eager for this panel and you won’t want to miss it

We are planning to resume, in-person, our Film Festival and Women Coaches Symposium in 2022 so be sure to check regularly for updates at

The challenges we’ve all faced, and continue to face since COVID-19 emerged, have changed many aspects of our lives. One positive trend that provides me with inspiration and hope is how women’s sport stakeholders—including women athletes—have used their individual and collective power to stay relevant and lead pronounced efforts of transformation and resistance. Let’s continue to connect, collaborate and innovate, because together we can create meaningful and sustained systems change for girls and women in sport around the world.

Stay safe, give yourself grace, support others, and let the data tell the story.

With Gratitude,

Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D.
Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport

Our annual Fall Distinguished Lecture Series, “The Surveillance of Women in Sport: Multidisciplinary Perspectives,” will be held virtually on October 27, 2021. Read the full article in this newsletter for more information.

maroon script Tucker Center with Film Festival beneath noting Since 2011The Tucker Center Film Festival (TCFF), the first of its kind to highlight women in sport films, celebrates and creates awareness for films and documentaries related to girls and women in sport. In collaboration with Park Pictures, the11th Annual TCFF in 2021 featured a virtual screening of the film “Born to Play“ (now on Netflix), which showcases the remarkable Boston Renegades, an all-women’s semi-pro tackle football team. In July, the Renegades played against the Minnesota Vixen for the Women’s Football Alliance Division 1 Championship.

The 2022 TCFF will be in early February in conjunction with the annual celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Consistent with our mission to provide outreach and programming for the community, the TCFF is always free, open to the public, and family friendly.

women coaches symposium WCS text over gold backgroundWith a two-year absence due to COVID-19, the 2022 Women Coaches Symposium (WCS) is back! The 8th annual WCS will be co-hosted with WeCOACH and take place on either Friday, April 22 or April 29 (date to be finalized), at Huntington (formerly TCF) Bank Stadium on the U of M campus in the Twin Cities. The WCS provides educational programming, networking, and professional development for women coaches, administrators, and students of all sports and all levels. The WCS is a LGBTQI2S+ inclusive, safe space. While the WCS is a women-focused event, we welcome male allies who support women. The WCS is a collaboration among the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in SportWeCOACH, and University of Minnesota Athletics. You can support the WCS by contributing to the Tucker Center’s Women in Sport Leadership Fund and the Jean K. Freeman Endowment.

Tucker Center Talks WiSP text over maroon background with gold circle showing schematic of sound wavesTucker Center Talks (TCT) is our podcast produced with WiSP Sports. In our third season of the podcast, TC director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi hosts and talks with women scholars about current issues and research related to girls and women in sport. This season features Dr. Laura Burton (UConn) discussing women in organizational sports leadership, Dr. Nefertiti Walker (UMass-Amherst) discussing exclusion, equity, and the uncomfortable work of undoing culture; and Dr. LaVoi presenting  the latest data regarding the importance of same-gender role models. Other episodes feature Dr. Janet Fink (UMass-Amherst) and Dr. Ceyda Mumcu (New Haven) who discuss the topic of marketing women's sports, Dr. Anna Baeth (Director of Research at Athlete Ally), Dr. Lindsey Darvin (Cortland-SUNY) on women in sport leadership and e-sport, and Dr. Cheryl Cooky (Purdue) who talks about her latest longitudinal study on women's sports media coverage. One special episode with WeCOACH focused on data found in the Tucker Center’s Women in College Coaching Report Card. The 8th episode features #DisruptHERS, a campaign that highlights disruptions to the normative model of sport that privileges men. Listeners can also get a detailed picture and recap on gender equity research done by the 2021 Tucker Center summer interns. Listen to all the episodes of Tucker Center Talks where we amplify the voices and research of women scholars and let the data tell the story. If you are interested in becoming a TCT sponsor, contact Dr. LaVoi at

This summer we took our internship program to a new level. We held our first-ever hybrid internship, with some meeting in-person and others virtually. Our TEN interns—our largest class to date—were not only from across the United States but also differed in stages of academic,  professional, and personal development. With diverse backgrounds, they shared a passion for amplifying the mission of the Tucker Center. Read more about these amazing women in our summer newsletter. During the internship, students worked collaboratively on gender equity-related projects within research teams which included a faculty person, graduate students, and other interns. Here is what they had to say about their experiences.

Jacque Davis (Baltimore, MD), joining the Tucker Center team amidst a career transition, spoke of her experience saying, “I have worked in sports-based youth development and elite coaching for 10 years and not once have I been in a space like the Tucker Center. The ability to be included in a space like this, to learn from different perspectives and expertise, to feel female collaboration vs. competition, to discover there are career fields that solely focus on sport through scholarly and sociological lenses, was actually transformational.” Two high-school interns who are just beginning their journey—Ramira Ambrose (Wayzata, MN) and Mahi Jariwala (Bay Area, CA)—provided valuable youth perspectives to the team. Jariwala stated that her time as a Tucker Center intern “taught me many valuable lessons that I will remember for the rest of my life. As I move on to decide what career path I am interested in, I will use the aspects of analysis, research, and writing I learned this summer to help me succeed in whatever I aspire to do.”

These aspiring young scholars were mentored by Tucker Center faculty and staff in all aspects of the research process. One of the biggest takeaways for Sophie Liles (West Lafayette, IN), a current senior at Scripps College, was that “having sound methodology is important to any project so that once you get your data, you can let the data tell the story.” Anna Goorevich (Gaithersburg, MD), a recent Franklin & Marshall College graduate and Fullbright Scholar, also talked about her summer research experience saying, “I learned that research is better with people! Collaborating with others who have diverse perspectives and backgrounds is so important when examining complex data. Working within research groups during this internship led to some of the greatest intellectual growth for me.”

This summer’s interns garnered a great deal of collaborative experience and undertook extensive professional development activities. In addition, the Tucker Center’s unique peer-mentorship structure provided opportunities for them to learn from each other. Three-time Pam Borton Fellow for Girls & Women in Sport Leadership and current doctoral candidate Courtney Boucher (Hastings, MN) reflected on her opportunity to not only contribute to the Tucker Center’s mission through research, but also to help lead this incredible group of interns. Cecelia Kaufmann (Minneapolis, MN) and Hannah Silva-Breen (St Paul, MN) also took on leadership roles this summer as returning interns. We’re excited to have Boucher, Silva-Breen, and summer interns Jacque Davis and Maxine Simons (Brooklyn, NY) in the Tucker Center during the 2021-22 school year to continue the work we began this summer.

Current Ball State graduate student and golfer Liz Kim (Muncie, IN) said it best when she stated, “I’ll use what I learned from the Tucker Center in all aspects of my life. I know that I have become a better scholar, advocate and human being because of this experience. I will continue to listen to the narratives of the lives of girls and women in sport, be an advocate for marginalized voices and have greater empathy. I am excited to share the impact that the Tucker Center has had and will continue to have in the world.”

Zoom grid of all the interns and Dr. LaVoi

Tucker Center 2021 Summer Interns (left to right, top to bottom): Hannah Silva-Breen, Tucker Center director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi, Liz Kim, Jacque Davis, Courtney Boucher, Sophie Liles, Maxine Simons, Cecelia Kaufmann, Mahi Jariwala, Anna Goorevich (absent: Ramira Ambrose)

You can read more about all of the Summer 2021 class of TC interns here. You can also listen to the interns discuss their experience, research, and projects with TC director Dr. Nicole LaVoi on the S3E12 episode of our podcast, Tucker Center Talks.

Keep your eye out for these remarkable young women—they have the potential to make a real difference for girls and women in sport!

The summer internship program was established in 2008, and invigorated with a generous 2013 gift from the Live to Give Foundation honoring the Tucker Center's 20th anniversary.


  • Antunovic was a lead author on a chapter in the newest edition of The Professionalisation of Women’s Sport: Issues and Debates discussing the Women’s Football Alliance’s media visibility titled, “Getting noticed, respected, and supported: Mediated (in)visibilities of women’s American football in the United States.”
  • portrait images of Glassford and LaVoi​In May, LaVoi (pictured right) and her graduate advisee Sophie Glassford, MS (pictured left) co-authored an article “‘This is Our Family’: LGBTQ Family Narratives in Online NCAA D-I Coaching Biographies,” in the Journal of Homosexuality. Intercollegiate sport in the United States is known to be heteronormative, heterosexist, and often an unwelcoming space for LGBTQ individuals, including coaches. A decade ago, scholars documented the scarcity of LGBTQ family narratives in online coaching biographies on athletics websites. In the years following, a socio-cultural and legal shift occurred pertaining to LGBTQ rights and visibility in the US. This study extended and replicated Calhoun, LaVoi, and Johnson’s (2011) research on the family narratives of NCAA coaches of women’s teams.
  • LaVoi and doctoral candidate Courtney Boucher co-authored three book chapters in 2021: 1) “Supporting and Developing Women in Sport Coaching: A Career Trajectory Approach” in Dr. Leanne Norman’s new Routledge book, Improving Gender Equity in Sport Coaching, 2) “Gender Perspectives in Sport” in the 2nd edition of Human Kinetics’ Social Psychology of Sport, and 3) “Developing and Coaching Physically Active Girls and Women” in Community Sport Coaching from Routledge with Tucker Team member McKenzie Arbeiter who is currently pursuing her EdD in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at University of Western States.
  • LaVoi and Antunovic co-authored “Sociological Aspects of Sport Management,” a chapter with Lough for the 7th edition of Contemporary Sport Management.

Division-I Women in College Coaching Report Card

cover of report showing player standing on sidelines talking with coachIn July, the 2020-21 D-I Women in College Coaching Report Card (WCCRC) was released in collaboration with WeCOACH. The WCCRC’s groundbreaking reports document the percentage of women in head coaching positions at institutions, conferences, and within specific sports.

Key Findings

  • THE TREND: The percentage of D-I women head coaches went up (.4%) again for the 7th year in a row, and is now at 42.7% (up from 42.3% in 2019-20). The data is trending in the right direction but is still remarkably stagnant.
    • At this rate, increasing on average .3% over the last nine years, it will take 22 years to reach 50% and 143 years to reach pre-Title IX levels (90%) of women coaching women.

  • THE LEADERS for Percentage of NCAA D-I Women Head Coaches of Women Teams:
    • 20 of 357 (5.6%) NCAA D-I institutions earned an A grade (70%+ of women head coaches of women’s teams), up from 18 last year
    • Institutional leader: Florida A&M (85.7%)
    • Conference leader: Ivy League (55.1%)
    • Sport leader: Lacrosse (89.6%)

  • HISTORY IN THE MAKING: For the first time in report card history:
    • The majority (50.5%) of the 287 head coach hires were women in one year
    • One conference earned a B grade (Ivy League)

    • Based on the data, women coaches of color are vastly underrepresented (7%) as head coaches of women teams
    • 28.6% of all Black head coaches, both men, and women were employed at Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
    • 108 of 357 (30%) institutions employed ZERO head coaches of color for their women’s teams
    • Six institutions at the time of data collection (Alabama A&M, Southern University at Baton Rouge, South Carolina State, Alcorn State, Mississippi Valley State, and the University of New Orleans) had 100% BIPOC head coaches, but many more had zero.
    • The top five sports in which women coaches of color were represented as head coaches were: basketball (n=73, 29.8%), volleyball (n=43, 17.6%), track and field (n=29, 11.8%), tennis (n=23, 9.4%), and softball (n=17, 6.9%).
    • For NCAA D-I conferences, the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) had 91% and the Summit League had 6.3% BIPOC head coaches of women's teams

The culture of college sport privileges White men. Coaching, like many occupations, is gendered and racialized. Much work remains to ensure all women, regardless of identity, feel safe, valued, and supported.

To see which institutions, sports, and conferences receive passing and failing grades, and read more about factors that contribute to the leaky pipeline, read the full report here:

MIAC Women in College Coaching Report Card

two players talking to their coach on the sidelinesIn September, the 2020-2021 NCAA D-III Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Women in College Coaching Report Card (WCCRC) was released. In this special report, we chose to highlight and celebrate the MIAC, a conference in our own backyard! Out of all the conferences in our Women in College Coaching Report Cards (WCCRC) series over the last eight years, the MIAC stands alone as an exemplar.

Key Findings

  • THE TREND: Since the first D-III WCCRC in 2014, the MIAC has increased the percentage of women head coaches from 38.1% to 47.2%, averaging a ~1% increase per year
    • At this rate, we expect women coaches will hold 50% of the positions in three years, and reach pre-Title IX levels (90%) in 43 years!

  • THE LEADERS for Percentage of MIAC Women Head Coaches of Women Teams:
    • Institution Leader: Concordia College, received an A grade (70%)
    • Sport Leader: Volleyball (75%) and Softball (75%)

    • Based on the data, women coaches of color are vastly underrepresented (3.1%) as head coaches of women’s teams. According to the NCAA Demographics Database, 16% of MIAC student-athletes are students of color.
    • 9 of the 12 MIAC (75%) institutions employed ZERO head coaches of color for their women’s teams

Although the MIAC has proven that they prioritize hiring women coaches, the data shows the priority has greatly improved opportunities for White women only. We suggest, the MIAC should designate additional resources equity to hire and retain more women coaches of color.

Dr. Dunja Antunovic smiling in black glasses, white dress shirt, and gray light blazer—Dr. Dunja Antunovic, Assistant Professor

A team of Tucker Center affiliated scholars has received a grant from the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication at Penn State in the area of corporate social advocacy. Research team members Dr. Dunja Antunovic, Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi, Dr. Katie Lebel, Dr. Nancy Lough, Dr. Ceyda Mumcu, and Dr. Ann Pegoraro lead the study, which contributes to the Tucker Center’s research focus on the women’s sports industry examining what we are calling the “new model” for women’s sport. 

The study proposal also received the MaryAnn Yodelis Smith Award for Feminist Scholarship from the Commission on the Status of Women at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s annual conference for its potential to contribute to research on gender and media.

Corporate social advocacy (CSA) is an emerging area of research, but previous studies have already found that sport-related brands are addressing social issues, which has implications for purchasing intentions and attitudes toward companies. In addition, professional women’s sports teams, and particularly athletes, have been at the forefront of activism around social justice issues. This context is important to study through a CSA lens because digital media is essential for bringing visibility to the leagues considering the still dismal mainstream media coverage dedicated to women’s sports.

Our study, “Communicating for Justice and Equality: Women’s Sport and Corporate Social Advocacy,” focuses specifically on the context of women’s sports, with a particular interest in the perceptions of staff members who work in communications-related roles at professional women’s sports organizations. We are interested in finding out how women’s sports teams use digital media as we seek to identify the challenges and opportunities related to digital media advocacy.

Dr. LaVoi in video stillIn this short promotional video, listen to Tucker Center director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi talk about the mission of the Tucker Center, key findings in our research efforts, how we make a difference in the lives of girls and women in sport, and how you can join our efforts.

  • Doctoral candidate and Tucker Team research assistant Courtney Boucher earned first place and the People’s Choice Award at the 2021 CEHD 3-Minute Thesis. Congrats, Court!
  • LaVoi and founder Dr. Mary Jo Kane formed a selection committee on behalf of Minnesota Sports and Events (MNSE) to choose 11 featured athletes and leaders, as well as 50 Title IX Honor Roll individuals, for the newly announced Land O’ Lakes, Inc, Title IX Championship Tour. The bus tour, designed to honor and celebrate the contributions of Minnesota female athletes and leaders who have advanced girls’ and women’s sports, is one of several events leading up to the 50th anniversary of Title IX ahead of the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four in April 2022 at Minneapolis’ Target Center.

  • Members of the Tucker Team have recently been quoted in, or interviewed with, local, regional, national, and international news outlets including: NPR, New York Times, USA Today, CNN, MPR, Doctor Radio on Sirius XM, NBC/KARE 11, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bloomberg News, Los Angeles Times, Deutschlandfunk, Law360,, and the ASU Global Sport Institute.


  • Zoom gallery of JWLCA presentation participantsLaVoi continues to deliver keynotes on aspects of gender and leadership to numerous groups including: Japanese Women Leaders and Coaches Academy (LaVoi pictured in upper left corner), NCAA Women Coaches Academy by WeCOACH, Pass It Forward Women’s Basketball Coaches Clinic in Maine, Coaches Who Lift Coaches panel by Athlete Assessments, Outspoken: Women in Triathlon Summit, Best Buy Women’s Employee Resource Group, USA Sailing, the BreakThrough Summit (free registration), and the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Association.
  • LaVoi will deliver an invited keynote address at the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE) in Lisbon, Portugal, November 17-21, 2021.
  • LaVoi and Dr. Dunja Antunovic will present at the 8th International Working Group (IWG) World Conference on Women & Sport in Auckland, New Zealand, May 5-8, 2022.

2021 Tucker Center Fall Distinguished Lecture

The Surveillance of Women in Sport: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

October 27, 2021 ● 7-9 p.m. CDT

This event is free and open to the public


About the Lecture

Within the last year, and particularly during the Tokyo Olympics, many issues related to women in sport arose including: drug testing, mental health, trans athlete inclusion and policy development, pay equity, mother-athlete policies, and uniform controversies. With interest in, attention to, and visibility of women’s sport in the current spotlight, the time is right to tackle the topic of continued and perhaps increased surveillance of women athletes and their bodies from a scholarly perspective. Surveillance is not a topic exclusive to privacy and the security industry, it is a social justice issue that involves questioning underlying power relations. This panel of notable multidisciplinary scholars will explore the current environment of the women’s sport industry, provide historical context of the surveillance of women athletes, provide analysis of surveillance of intersectional identities, discuss ways in which surveillance practices play into the hands of privilege, and posit why it matters and how it impacts girls and women in sport. Tucker Center director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi will moderate this informative and lively discussion among experts from multiple scientific perspectives.

About the Panelists

portrait image of Dr. Angel BrutusDr. Angel Brutus is a member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s (USOPC) Mental Health Services Team as part of the Department of Sports Medicine. She also managed a private practice based in Atlanta, GA, where she provided clinical and sport performance services to individuals, teams, and organizations and served as a medical advisory board member and training facilitator for the Eating Disorders Information Network (EDIN). Her training includes audiology and speech-language pathology, licensed professional counseling, certified rehabilitation counseling, and sport-performance psychology. Dr. Brutus is a member of multiple committees within the Association of Applied Sport Psychology in which she co-chairs Nominations/Leadership Development and previously assisted with Professional Ethics and served as a mentor in the IGNITE program, a leadership program for BIPOC students and early career professionals from traditionally marginalized communities. 


portrait image of Dr. Cheryl CookyDr. Cheryl Cooky is a professor of American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Purdue University. Her research focuses in three areas: gendered media representations of sport; gender politics of sport and public policies; and how gender shapes sports experiences, cultural meanings, and organizational structures in sports. She is the co-author of No Slam Dunk: Gender, Sport and the Unevenness of Social Change (2018, Rutgers University Press). Her research is published in a diverse array of journals including Journal of Sex Research, Sex Roles, Gender and Society, American Journal of Bioethics, Sociology of Sport Journal, among others. Committed to making research accessible to general audiences, Dr. Cooky has authored opinion-editorial articles, appeared as an expert in several documentary films, television and radio programs, and has been quoted in over 100 national and international news media outlets including The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Forbes, Globe & Mail, The Guardian, National Public Radio, among others. She is a past-president of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport and Editor of Sociology of Sport Journal, the flagship journal of the field.


portrait image of Dr. Beth DanielsDr. Beth Daniels is a research fellow and full professor of psychology at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Her research focuses on gender, media, body image, and positive youth development. One line of her research focuses on how young people perceive sport images and how these images impact self-perceptions. Dr. Daniels is presently on the editorial board for Emerging Adulthood and was previously an associate editor for Sex Roles: A Journal of Research and a contributing editor for Psychology Women Quarterly.


portrait image of Dr. Nancy LoughDr. Nancy Lough is the co-director of the Sport Research & Innovation Institute and a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Lough is a nationally recognized expert on sport marketing, corporate sponsorship, leadership development, and creating gender parity within sport organizations. She specializes in research with a focus on the economic value of women’s sport and marketing sport to women. She is the author of the Handbook of the Business of Women’s Sport and the Handbook of Sport Marketing Research, along with numerous scholarly publications. Dr. Lough serves as the chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Council at UNLV and as an advisory board member for the PGA Golf Management program. 


portrait image of Dr. Ann PegoraroDr. Ann Pegoraro is the co-director of the E-Alliance, a national network for research on gender equity in Canadian Sport, and is the Lang Chair in Sport Management in the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph. Dr. Pegoraro's research focuses mainly on sport consumers, marketing, and communication, including how different forms of media are used to establish connections with consumers of sport at all levels from amateur to professional. Dr. Pegoraro’s research has been published in journals such as Sex Roles, Communication and Sport, American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Sport Management, and Online Information Review. Her recent work in digital media is focused on analytics, gender, and diversity.


portrait image of Anna PosberghAnna Posbergh is a PhD candidate and American Association for University Women (AAUW) Dissertation Fellow at the University of Maryland in the Department of Kinesiology, specializing in physical cultural studies. Her dissertation examines how protective policies are created, how they regulate women’s bodies in sporting contexts, and how different versions of “woman” are constructed. In 2019, she co-authored an opinion piece for the British Medical Journal on the medical and ethical ramifications of World Athletics’ (then the IAAF) controversial female eligibility policy. She is a 2019 recipient of the Olympic Studies Centre’s PhD Students and Early Career Academics Research Grant and has published in journals such as the Sociology of Sport Journal and Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health.


portrait image of Dr. Jaime SchultzDr. Jaime Schultz is a professor of kinesiology at The Pennsylvania State University with an affiliate faculty appointment in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. An award-winning teacher and scholar, she has published nearly 60 articles and chapters, as well as six books, including Qualifying Times: Points of Change in U.S. Women’s Sport, Women’s Sport: What Everyone Needs to Know, and Women and Sports in the United States: A Documentary Reader. She currently serves as co-editor for the University of Illinois Press’s “Sport and Society” Series.


portrait image of Dr. Nefertiti WalkerDr. Nefertiti Walker is the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at UMass Amherst. She is also an associate professor of sport management in the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management. She received  both her BA and MBA from Stetson University, and her PhD from the University of Florida. Her area of expertise is sport organizational culture. Specifically, she studies intersectionality, typically of race, gender, and culture, in sport. Dr. Walker is a North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) Research Fellow and serves as a co-director for the Laboratory for Inclusion and Diversity in Sport (LIDS). Most recently, she founded the consulting firm Reculture, which creates multimedia content, research, and industry insights on the changing dynamics of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in sport culture.