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MVC Honors Pioneers Who Fought for Women's Sports

Michelle O'Neill
Women from a dozen universities, colleges, conferences, and other groups pose for a photo. Patty Viverito is in the 1st row, far right.

Braves, Bulldogs, Panthers, and Lady Bears are showing the same talent and strength as their forerunners. At a breakfast today in Moline, the Missouri Valley Conference celebrated 25 years of women's sports. 

Patty Viverito is Senior Associate Commissioner of the conference. In 1992, the Gateway women's sports league joined Missouri Valley, a conference for Division One men's sports founded in 1907. She says administrators decided to create a whole new culture to incorporate the strengths of both leagues under the umbrella of the new conference. 

Credit Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News
Dr. Charlotte West, retired SIU associate athletics director, professor, coach, and administrator

The Missouri Valley Conference calls Dr. Charlotte West, "a driving force for more than 40 years in the area of the advancement of women’s sports." The retired coach and administrator from Southern Illinois University says "we've regressed" over the past few years. "Title IX isn't being enforced...so we're seeing much less attention to equity for women in sport."

This season is also the 45th anniversary of Title IX. Today, the Missouri Valley Conference honored Viverito, West, and other advocates of women's collegiate sports.

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor. She does everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever may be needed around the radio station.