4-6-2012 Softball Featured in ESPN Title IX Celebration

USA Softball vs. Canada on ESPN June 23 for Title IX 40th Anniversary celebration

 OKLAHOMA CITY – The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball are pleased to announce the 2012 USA Softball National Team will be included in ESPN’s weekend celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the signing of Title IX. On Saturday, June 23, at 6 p.m. CST, the Red, White and Blue will take the field on ESPN against Canada in a celebration game at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

 “Title IX has given me so many opportunities in my life,” said USA Softball National Team pitcher Chelsea Thomas (Missouri, Senior). “I am so thankful that I was able to play four sports in high school, along with the chance to play softball at the University of Missouri. These opportunities led me to become a member of the USA Softball National Team, a dream that I have had since I was very young. Without Title IX, these memories and dreams would not have been possible, and for that I am very grateful for all that Title IX has done for me and women all over the country. I am so honored that ESPN has chosen International Softball to be a part of celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX.”

 Tickets are on sale now at www.softballoutlet.com or by calling 1-800-654-8337. Tickets are $7 for general admission seating and an autograph opportunity will be available following the game with both National Teams. Special giveaways and activities are planned throughout the game.

 “We would not be here today as women and as athletes if it were not for Title IX,” said current Canadian National Team member and 2008 Olympian Caitlin Lever. “In 1972, the foundation was laid for women to begin breaking barriers, not only athletically but educationally as well. It was because these amazing women paved the way that we have the opportunities we have today. This game is not only to celebrate and thank those who fought for these rights for women, but to encourage women to continue to push the limit to break down walls. Having this milestone for women celebrated on ESPN, the biggest stage of sports media, is another wall broken down in itself. I am both honored and humbled to even have the opportunity to be a part of something so substantial.”

 ESPN will offer a weekend of events and studio shows June 22-24 featuring women in sports across its networks – ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPN Classic – highlighted by a full day of programming Saturday, June 23. The offering is part of the network’s three-month companywide initiative, The Power of IX, recognizing the 40th anniversary of Title IX, signed June 23, 1972.

 The June 23 multi-network programming will be tied together, beginning at 11 a.m. ET, through studio coverage from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters. ESPN soccer analyst Julie Foudy will host from a Title IX-themed set and welcome special guests throughout the day who have impacted or been affected by the law. ESPN will also report from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., where more than 30,000 Girl Scouts will be part of the B.I.G. Celebration (Believe in Girls) and the 100th anniversary of the organization.

 “I am extremely proud of ESPN for recognizing and focusing on the 40th anniversary of this legislation,” said Carol Stiff, vice president, programming & acquisitions at ESPN. “The hours of programming multiple ESPN networks are dedicating on June 23 show the company’s ongoing commitment to increasing the coverage of women’s sports.”

 This special celebration comes just three days prior to the start of the World Cup of Softball VII which begins on June 27 with the USA Men’s Slow Pitch Showdown between the USA National Team and USA Futures Team followed by a special autograph session with all teams, including the USA Women’s National Team. The women’s fast pitch action kicks off on Thursday, June 28 and continues through July 2’s Championship game at 8 p.m. CST. For tickets visit, www.softballoutlet.com or 1-800-654-8337.

 June 23 Programming Highlights:

 ABC

SEC Storied: Lolo Jones – One of the brighter stars in the history of the LSU women’s track and field dynasty is Lori “Lolo” Jones. A standout hurdler, she won three NCAA titles and 11 All-American honors. But Jones had to overcome significant obstacles to get there. “Lolo” will explore her inspiring rise from an unstable home life to national stardom that included a spot on the 2008 United States Olympic team. The film will include her stunning disappointment in the 2008 Beijing Games and her journey to make it back to the Olympics this summer. This fourth installment of SEC Storied will run at 4 p.m., and also on ESPNU at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

 ESPN Sports Saturday – A weekly look at the biggest stories in sports at 5 p.m., the show will include a discussion of Title IX. The show typically consists of informative debate from ESPN programs such as Pardon the Interruption, First Take, SportsNation, and Mike & Mike In the Morning, as well as game previews and predictions from NFL Live, College Gameday, NBA Countdown, Baseball Tonight and more.

 ESPN

ESPN’s coverage will kick off with segments on SportsCenter at 11 a.m., with segments previewing the day’s events and sharing special Title IX vignettes and memories.

 Two WNBA games will highlight ESPN’s day – Chicago Sky at Minnesota Lynx at 12:30 p.m. and Los Angeles Sparks at Phoenix Mercury at 9 p.m. The four teams include Olympic Gold Medalists; NCAA National Champions; NCAA Women of the Year; Naismith, John R. Wooden and State Farm Players of the Year; All-Americans; Conference Players of the Year and NCAA record holders.

 The NASCAR Nationwide Series – Road America 200 from Elkhart Lake, Wis., at 3:30 p.m. features Danica Patrick, one of the most successful women in the history of American racing. She is the only woman to win in the IndyCar Series and she is the highest female finisher at the Indianapolis 500 (third).

 USA Softball will take on the Canadian National Team at 7 p.m. from Oklahoma City in the Title IX 40th Anniversary Celebration Game. The teams include current and former student-athletes who are now playing at an elite level.

 ESPN2

Sporting Chance is a Title IX documentary produced by the NCAA in conjunction with Creative Street Entertainment Group. The documentary will air at 2 p.m.

 E:60 Women’s Special will take some of the top profiles, investigations and stories of the series that featured female athletes. The newsmagazine show will run at 1 p.m.

 A U.S. Women’s Soccer Special will air at 5 p.m., a 30-minute program showcasing the 1999 U.S. Women’s World Cup gold-medal winning team in a feature, followed by a roundtable discussion about the impact of Title IX on the growth and success of women’s soccer in this country. The panel will include soccer and women’s sports notables.

 ESPNU

Honda Sports Awards will showcase the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program that annually recognizes the accomplishments of top female athletes in NCAA-member colleges with a variety of prestigious awards. ESPN’s Sage Steele will host the live 60-minute special from ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center at 3 p.m.

 The 24-hour college sports network will also have dedicated blocks of past NCAA Women’s Championships events.

 ESPN3

National Pro Fastpitch will stage a doubleheader between the Florida Pride and Carolina Diamonds, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

 ESPN Classic will have more than 50 hours of women’s programming relating to Title IX beginning Friday and running through Sunday.

 Additional details will be announced at a later date.

 ESPN’s Title IX – June 23 Programming (subject to change)

Time (ET) Show Network
11 a.m. SportsCenter ESPN
11:30 a.m. Women’s Athletic Programming ESPN Classic
Noon Sporting Chance ESPN2
12:30 p.m. WNBA Game: Chicago Sky at Minnesota Lynx ESPN
1 p.m. E:60 Women’s Special ESPN2
  National Pro Fastpitch: Florida at Carolina (Charlotte) ESPN3
2 p.m. SEC Storied: Lolo Jones ESPNU
3 p.m. NASCAR Countdown ESPN
  Honda Sports Awards (ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center) ESPNU
3:30 p.m. NASCAR Nationwide: Road America 200 (Elkhart Lake, Wis.) ESPN
4 p.m. SEC Storied: Lolo Jones ABC
  NCAA Women’s Championships Programming ESPNU
  National Pro Fastpitch: Florida at Carolina (Charlotte) ESPN3
5 p.m. Sports Saturday: Week in Review ABC
  U.S. Women Soccer National Team Documentary ESPN2
7 p.m. USA National Softball vs. Canada (Oklahoma City) ESPN
  SEC Storied: Lolo Jones ESPNU
8 p.m. Sporting Chance ESPNU
9 p.m. WNBA Game: Los Angeles Sparks at Phoenix Mercury ESPN
  NCAA Women’s Championships Programming ESPNU
  Women’s Athletic Programming ESPN Classic

 ESPN Media Contacts: Rachel Margolis, 860-766-2798 or rachel.l.margolis@espn.com; Diane Lamb, 860-766-2245 or diane.lamb@espn.com

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