Fans may have noticed Penn State women’s volleyball players wearing special sneakers during their match against Ohio State Saturday night at Rec Hall.
The majority of the team wore Elena Delle Donne’s Nike Air Deldon 1 against the Buckeyes, showcasing one of the few women’s basketball signature sneakers in a televised match on Big Ten Network. Delle Donne, who plays for the Washington Mystics, is one of the biggest stars in the WNBA.
The program released a behind-the-scenes video on social media Monday showing the team’s reaction to their new sneakers, which were unveiled during a team meeting led by assistant coach Brian Toron, who graduated from the University of Delaware like Delle Donne.
Honored our whole team is wearing a WOMEN’S signature shoe. Thank you @De11eDonne!
— Penn State Women’s Volleyball (@PennStateVBALL) October 31, 2022
Delle Donne, 33, played for the Delaware Blue Hens’ basketball team from 2009-13 before being drafted No. 2 overall by the Chicago Sky. After being traded to Washington in 2017, she led the Mystics to their first WNBA championship in franchise history two years later in 2019.
Delle Donne also played outside hitter for the Delaware volleyball team as a freshman in 2008 and helped the Blue Hens win their conference championship and advance to the NCAA tournament.
The Deldon 1 was released earlier this month and features Delle Donne’s EDD logo. Penn State wore the “Lyme” colorway, which sheds light on Delle Donne’s battle with Lyme disease. Seattle Storm star Brenna Stewart is currently the only other WNBA player with a signature sneaker on the market, PUMA’s Stewie 1, but players like Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi previously had signature shoes of their own.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or educational program that receives federal funding. The law was enacted on June 23, 1972 and has significantly changed women’s sports for the better in this country, allowing more opportunities to compete and better resources to be made available.
Of course, there is still a long way to go in terms of providing the proper funding and support for women’s athletics in the United States, but things are trending in a positive direction with more coverage, TV ratings, and attendance records being broken than ever before.
Earlier this season during her weekly Tuesday press conference on October 18, Penn State women’s volleyball head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley discussed how she’s seen Title IX positively impact women’s sports in America.
“I think, without Title IX, a lot of these players wouldn’t have this opportunity to be part of this great university, but also to travel how we travel, and to be able to have the nice equipment and gear that we have,” Schumacher-Cawley said.
“I think just the opportunity for women to compete and to be able to play at a high level,” she added about Title IX’s impact. “I credit a lot of that to the Big Ten for putting our sport on TV as much as it has. Obviously, ESPN and other programs have been picking us up. I think the more exposure you get, the better it is. I think it’s amazing and it’s an exciting time for women’s sports.”