The Drake Group is honoring Nancy Hogshead-Makar, J.D. with the 2020 Drake Hero Award for her determined and extraordinary efforts to advance the collegiate sports reform movement through persistent actions over the past thirty years.
Hogshead-Makar’s leadership in addressing sexual abuse in sport, which began long before the recent horrific revelations in gymnastics, is path-breaking, innovative, and collaborative. During the past 10 years, she has mobilized and gathered the support of sports leaders, the child protection community, civil rights organizations, youth sports organizations, athletes, and coaches, which ultimately led to the passage of a new federal statute, The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. The law creates a new legal standard of care for youth-serving sports organizations across the country and requires all adult members of the Olympic Movement to report sexual abuse to authorities within 24 hours. It expands the statute of limitations for victims to file claims against their abusers, and authorized an independent entity, the U.S. Center for SafeSport, to conduct investigations and remove those found responsible for sexual abuse from the Olympic Movement, thereby protecting over 16 million athletes.
Building off this legislative success, Hogshead-Makar is now working to advance the Empowering Olympic, Paralympic, and Amateur Athletes Act of 2020 and the Strengthening U.S. Olympics Act, federal bills in the 116th Congress that would give athletes a greater role in Olympic governance. The statutes not only provide greater protection of athletes, but they also establish greater external oversight of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and create a Commission on the State of U.S. Olympics and Paralympics to examine the need for further necessary reforms.
Nancy Hogshead-Makar, J.D. is the founder of Champion Women, a non-profit created to lead targeted efforts to advocate for equality in athletics. Champion Women’s work recognizes that sports are invaluable educational opportunities that improve the lives of girls and women and must be allocated fairly. She has led numerous efforts to increase the accountability of higher education institutions to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, including lawsuits, her academic scholarship, preparation of amicus briefs, collegiate and legal teaching, expert witness testimony and testifying in Congress. Her recent research documents intentional sex discrimination in 90% of higher education athletic departments across the country including the Power Five and Division III schools, the Ivy League, HBCUs, religious schools, and junior colleges, the NCAA, NAIA, NCCAA, CCCAA, and USCAA. Champion Women recently wrote to every collegiate conference in the U.S., with specific details about their member schools’ failure to comply with basic fairness embedded in Title IX, including participation, scholarships, and other measures of equal treatment. The Title IX project is ongoing.
She is the co-founder of The Committee to Restore Integrity to the USOPC, an advocacy group consisting of hundreds of Olympians, Paralympians, elite athletes, sport leaders, survivors, and organizations, all of whom are committed to exposing the harmful policies, unjust enrichment of USOPC and NGB leaders, and failure to protect the health and well-being of America’s past, present and aspiring Olympians.
Hogshead-Makar is the former Senior Director of Advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation, former Professor at Florida Coastal School of Law, and a litigation and public law attorney with Holland & Knight, LLP.
Nancy Hogshead-Makar, J.D. capped eight years of elite competition by winning three gold and one silver medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the most decorated swimmer at the Games. She earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and graduated cum laude with a B.A. in political science and women’s studies from Duke University.