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Arizona Wildcats announce the addition of a women’s sport this summer

This summer, Arizona will honor the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the law requiring equal educational opportunities for female students. One of its many regulations required schools that offered physical education for both men and boys to offer the same for women and girls, leading to an explosion in female athletic participation across the country over the past five decades.

Several more women will soon be given this opportunity at the University of Arizona.

In the edition of Wildcat Wednesday releases May 18thArizona athletic director David Hecke announced that Arizona will be adding another women’s sports program in the near future. The sport will be announced this summer.

“A comprehensive review and plan were developed prior to the global pandemic, and work has resumed over the past year,” Heeke explained in his weekly update. “We have continuously evaluated our entire 21 Sport model and are looking to expand our division in line with the growing participation of women in sport. The department will complete its process in the coming weeks and be ready to announce the chosen sport.”

What that sport might be is still anyone’s guess, but a strong contender is women’s lacrosse. The sport is currently played by six other Pac-12 schools including the state of Arizona. The farthest north Arizona would have to travel to play a Pac-12 opponent is Eugene, Ore. Most travel would be limited to Arizona and California.

Other options are water polo, field hockey, rowingand acrobatics and tumbling, but there are issues with either the conditions required to enter or the lack of Pac-12 competition featuring all four.

The most common of the sports that Arizona does not currently sponsor is rowing. Seven schools offer women’s rowing, but all are in states that border the Pacific Ocean. UCLA and USC are the only two schools in the southern half of the league to sponsor the sport. It also appears to be the sport that Arizona would have the most challenges in providing facilities for.

Water polo is next on the list of the most popular women’s sports in the league. It is played at five Pac-12 schools. All five are located in Arizona and California.

Field hockey is only offered by Cal and Stanford, while the only school to sponsor an acrobatics and tumbling team is Oregon.

In addition to announcing the new program, Arizona will host a day of events commemorating Title IX on Thursday, June 23. There will be lunch with sports legends Rocky LaRose, Adia Barnes, Jenny Dalton-Hill, Arizona, Tanya Hughes and Lacey John.

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