Dallas College News Update


Tamika Catchings

Media Contact: Debra Dennis; ddennis@dallascollege.edu

For immediate release — Aug. 18, 2022​

(DALLAS) — Upcoming Dallas College speaker and renowned women’s basketball player Tamika Catchings has an impressive résumé, and credits her success to hard work, the inspiration of family and friends, and opportunities made possible by Title IX. For Catchings, the law is a prominent part of what made her a dominating WNBA athlete and successful scholar.

Catchings will be the guest speaker at Dallas College’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX — the landmark federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs and activities. The event will be broadcast live from Dallas College’s Mountain View Campus on Aug. 24 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in room B-149.

A sought-after motivational speaker, Catchings will discuss the role Title IX has played and continues to play in the success of women athletes and how it has propelled them into various careers. The skilled, accomplished basketball player, who led Duncanville High School to state championships in both basketball and volleyball, is also a businessperson and philanthropist.

“When I think about Title IX, I think about the opportunity to go to college and play sports, and then fast forward to the WNBA and play in college and overseas,” said Catchings. “But Title IX is not just focused on athletics. We have to continue to talk about the importance of what Title IX is. It’s not something that we can put on the shelf like, ‘been there, done that.’ We’re still a part of it.”

Catchings played among the most elite athletes in in the WNBA while building her own storied career. The Indiana Fever’s championship forward completed 16 seasons in the WNBA before walking away from the game in 2016. By then, she had racked up numerous accolades — four-time Olympian, five-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, an NCAA title and a WNBA championship.

She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where she played under legendary coach Pat Summitt, who led the Lady Vol basketball team for eight years. Catchings holds a degree in sports management and has served as director of player programs and franchise development for Pacers Sports and Entertainment, as well as a vice president and general manager for the Indiana Fever.

While Title IX has helped spur impressive achievements among female athletes over the last 50 years, there is still great inequity in pay between male and female professional athletes, Catchings said. Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner has actually been at the center of pay inequity among men and women athletes even before making recent headlines, she noted.

According to news accounts, Griner has played the last seven years in Russia, earning more than $1 million annually to supplement her salary from the WNBA, which is substantially less at about $250,000 a year. She was arrested in February when vape cartridges were found inside her luggage. The average NBA player’s annual salary is reportedly about $7 million.

“B.G. (Brittney Griner), being a personal friend of mine, has been criminalized for nine years. Having to go through what she’s going through the last few months is really unfortunate,” Catchings said.

Like Griner, Catchings is among the many WNBA athletes who sought opportunities in other countries. Her career took her to Poland, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico and Russia. Women athletes, Catchings said, play overseas because of the financial stability it brings. Additionally, the extra seasons allow players to stay in shape as they continue to hone their basketball skills.

Equity, Catchings said, will continue to be an issue for women, but there is room for optimism.

“The last collective bargaining agreement that was signed a few years ago meant the average WNBA salary was six figures,” said Catchings, who retired in 2016 after 15 seasons. “Now you know that’s a little skewed, but there are even more changes, like prioritizing families and fertility and being able to pursue other goals. The WNBA players are making more than I made when I played, and you know I haven’t been gone for that long. But (pay equity) is something that we have to continue to look at.”

In addition to her numerous accolades as a player, Catchings is a member of both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She is also an SEC ESPN women’s basketball analyst. Through her youth development program, Catch the Star Foundation, she promotes fitness, literacy and character development among marginalized youth facing unfair adversity.

While Title IX has been behind many rewarding careers, it is also a checkpoint for fairness in colleges across the nation. The 1972 law protects students and employees, both male and female, from sexual assault, gender discrimination, harassment and other issues.

Throughout the year, all campuses of Dallas College will be celebrating the notable anniversary of the law, said Francyenne Maynard, a Title IX coordinator at Dallas College. “Title IX is a useful tool in helping the college fight discrimination and gender-based violence and covers more than college sports,” Maynard said.

“Title IX ensures all our employees and students are safe. It provides protection to males and females,” Maynard said. “Title IX does level the playing field. Before Title IX, when a woman in college became pregnant, she could be kicked out of school. That sounds harsh, but that was the reality.”

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