A collection of the world's best softball players will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX on Saturday.
OU's Keilani Ricketts and Jessica Shults will play for Team USA as it faces Canada in the Title IX Game at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
The game will begin 6 p.m. Saturday and is the national team's last game before the World Cup of Softball, set to begin June 28.
Ricketts and Shults are less than a month removed from leading the Sooners to a runner-up finish at the Women's College World Series. Both were selected to the national team for the second straight year.
Shults expressed her excitement about participating in an event that celebrates the landmark legislation.
“It's just a great honor,” Shults said. “Being able to be a part of the Title IX Game is just an unbelievable experience. It's just an honor to be apart of it.”
Jackie Farley lived through the passing of Title IX and is a noted expert on the subject. She has served as director of recreational services at OU and teaches a course about women in sports at the university.
Farley credits a new generation of fathers who respond well to their daughters' affinity for sports and competition.
“Fathers in this generation now are so in tune with their daughters and they're so much more involved in their lives and sports are a big part of that,” she said.
Title IX proclaims: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Changes in social mores followed, and Farley believes that is a good thing.
“I think society has come to learn that women in sports is a good thing,” Farley said. “It gives the same kind of growth opportunities and leadership opportunities and skill-building opportunities that men have always been fortunate to have.”
As a result of the legislation, women's participation in high school and college sports is at an all-time high, Farley said.
“Without Title IX we wouldn't be much further along than we were in 1972 in terms of sports,” Farley said. “I don't think that there is any doubt that without Title IX we would not have made the progress we have made.”
Title IX Game: Team USA vs. Canada
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
TV: ESPN (Cox 29)
Tickets: $7. Call (800) 654-8337 or visit www.softballoutlet.com