Michigan Tech Tops State for Women in Athletics

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Michigan Technological University has the highest proportion of women participating in athletics of any public college or university in Michigan, compared to the number of women in the student body as a whole.

In fact, according to a report issued recently by the National Women’s Law Center, Michigan Tech ranks fifth in the nation among NCAA Division II schools whose proportion of women athletes outstrips the proportion of women students overall. Only the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the Florida Institute of Technology, Goldey-Beacom College and the Colorado School of Mines had higher proportions of women athletes.

There are 100 female student athletes at Michigan Tech—27.2 percent of the university’s student athletes. In the student body as a whole, only 21.3 percent or 1,079 students are women, giving Michigan Tech 5.9 percent more women who are athletes than women in the overall student body.

Comparing all the public universities in the state of Michigan that compete at NCAA Division I or II, Michigan Tech ranks far and away the best at providing athletics opportunities for women. The only other school with a higher proportion of female student-athletes than female students was the University of Michigan at 1.2 percent, a distant second to Michigan Tech’s 5.9 percent. The others all had a higher percentage of female students than female student-athletes.

That makes Michigan Tech a national model for institutions attempting to comply with Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972, a law that prohibits gender discrimination at institutions that receive federal funds.

Michigan Tech also strives to provide more than just equitable opportunities.

“We want to go deeper than just giving females a chance to play,” said Michigan Tech’s director of athletics, Suzanne Sanregret. “We support them with equal facilities, travel, practice time, and other resources. And we’re not doing it at the expense of men’s athletics” Sanregret is one of three female athletic directors among Michigan’s 14 public universities.

The University has stepped up to the plate with resources. Female student-athletes at Michigan Tech receive 32 percent of the athletic scholarship dollars, although they make up just over 27 percent of the athletes. Also, operating expenses for comparable sports (for example. women’s basketball vs. men’s basketball) are virtually identical.

And the women athletes see the difference. “I’ve had a great experience as a student-athlete at Tech,” said Sarah Stream, a junior on the women’s basketball team. “Everything the women’s basketball program has is right on par with our men’s program. The support from the administration has been outstanding.”

Why does Michigan Tech make such a commitment to women’s athletics?

“Athletics is an important part of our campus and greater community,” said Michigan Tech president Dr. Glenn Mroz. “Not only is it an important ingredient in the educational experience, athletics enriches our campus with diversity in females and ethnic minorities.”

The future may hold even more opportunities for female student-athletes at Michigan Tech. The University is considering adding women’s soccer to the school’s current 13-sport intercollegiate athletic program.

Michigan Tech fields teams in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s Nordic skiing, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field, and women’s volleyball. All of the programs compete at the NCAA Division II level except for hockey, which competes in NCAA Division I.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.