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March 22, 2001

CSUS Tackles Discrimination in Athletics

Athletic experts attempt to pummel discrimination issues at an upcoming Year of Unity conference, "Sport and Diversity in America," from 1 - 5 p.m., Monday, April 2 in the University Union at California State University, Sacramento.

Former pro-basketball player, author and syndicated columnist Mariah Burton Nelson will deliver the keynote address at 1 p.m. in the University Union Ballroom. Her talk, "Beyond Buff Biceps and Thin Thighs: Five Ways Sports Are Empowering Women," will dispel the conventional notions about how women athletes should behave.

"Female athletes are the unacknowledged leaders of the 21st century women's movement," Nelson says. "By offering visible, tangible examples of strength, courage and success, they challenge what women are capable of achieving."

The conference will include four panel discussion sessions dealing with various sports-related topics including "Sexual Orientation and Sport," also led by Nelson.

"If you're a female, and if you take sports seriously, sooner or later you will be called a lesbian," Nelson says.

During the discussion, Nelson plans to answer questions such as: How many female athletes are gay? How many male athletes are gay? What can straight people do to even the playing field for gay athletes and coaches? This discussion is at 3 p.m., in the University Union Redwood Room.

Another panel discussion will deal with "Sport, Media and Diversity in America" featuring Del Rodgers, former NFL player and weekend sports anchor for KCRA Channel 3; Dana Jacobson, weekend sports anchor for KXTV Channel 10; Armando Botello, capital correspondent for La Opinion magazine; and Nick Trujillo, CSUS communications studies professor.

The panelists will address such questions as: How well the sports media cover stories about diversity? What are the obstacles facing women and minorities who wish to pursue careers in sports media? Panelist will also discuss career options in sports media. This discussion is at 3 p.m. in the University Union Foothill Suite.

"Gender and Sport," a panel discussion featuring Susan Zieff, CSU San Francisco professor; Sohaila Shakib, USC professor; Pam Gill Fisher, UC Davis associate athletic director; and Deborah Colberg, CSUS athletics director is at 3 p.m., in the University Union Delta Suite. Panelists will talk about why women participate in sports, the difference between how male and female athletes identify themselves and gender equity issues.

"Winning the Race in Sports," a panel discussion featuring Tim Fong, CSUS ethnic studies professor; Sam Regalado, CSU Stanislaus professor; Vernon Andrews, UC Berkeley professor and Scott Modell, CSUS kinesiology professor is at 3 p.m. in the University Union Ballroom. Panelists will discuss the experience of Asian American, Hispanic American and African American athletes.

"Sport and Diversity in America," is sponsored by the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies. For more information about the conference call (916) 278-6504. Media assistance is available by contacting the CSUS public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.


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