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Pac-12 women’s basketball student-athletes, programs unite in conference-wide social justice effort to effect change in the fight against racism

Dec 3, 2020
With tipoff of conference play tomorrow, Pac-12 women’s basketball programs continue to focus on realities “bigger than basketball”
SAN FRANCISCO - In the months leading up to basketball season, Pac-12 women’s basketball teams used their time to focus on realities “bigger than basketball,” resulting in some of the most coordinated and impactful social justice efforts in the collegiate athletics landscape. Those efforts have been a collaboration among all 12 member universities, the Pac-12 imPACt program, the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), Student-Athlete Leadership Team (SALT) and Pac-12 ImPACt Leadership Council, the Conference’s social justice and anti-racism advisory committee. However, the leadership and voices of the student-athletes have guided all actions, illustrating the power of their passion and platform.
All 12 Conference programs worked together to create a league-wide social justice activation entitled “Change Starts With Us,” including a uniform shooting shirt, a women’s basketball-specific public service announcement and a unified show of solidarity, which every team plans to activate at all Conference games. Each shooting shirt highlights the statement “Change Starts With Us” on the front while the back features social justice messaging unique to each university on the back. Those slogans can be found below:
  • Arizona: Stronger Together
  • Arizona State: Silence Is Not An Option
  • California: Strength In Unity
  • Colorado: United As One
  • Oregon: Anti-Racism
  • Oregon State: Love > Hate
  • Stanford: Stop The Hate
  • UCLA: Enough is Enough
  • USC: Silence Is Violence
  • Utah: Love Thy Neighbor
  • Washington: No More Excuses
  • Washington State: Diversity Is Power
“I couldn’t be more proud of and impressed by these student-athletes in their commitment to action,” said California women’s basketball head coach Charmin Smith. “At every turn, they have been thoughtful, intentional, impassioned and focused. I feel incredibly confident in the future these young people will create for our communities and country.”
Led by Oregon State’s Aleah Goodman, the teams also worked with the Conference to produce a public service announcement featuring a student-athlete from each university discussing the importance of being better allies, teammates, coaches, administrators and fans, to be played in-arena prior to every game. Finally, prior to every Conference game, both teams will form a circle at center court as a show of solidarity in support of social justice and the fight against racism.
“These last several months have presented enormous challenges for all of us, but at the same time, has lit a fire in each of us to fight for change,” said Oregon State women’s basketball student-athlete Aleah Goodman. “Our efforts in the college women’s basketball community are only the beginning. I know that the student-athletes that come after us will carry the torch and continue the fight for a better world.”
The Pac-12 women’s basketball programs celebrated 100% eligible voter registration participation among their student-athletes, an accomplishment attributable to the work and encouragement of teammates and fellow student-athletes across Pac-12 campuses. While it was the first time for many of these student-athletes to vote, they demonstrated a passion and commitment to their civic duty and utilized their voices to effect change. In recognition of their impact, Slam featured California’s Cailyn Crocker, Oregon’s Taylor Rigby and Te-Hina Paopao, three vocal and engaged Pac-12 women’s basketball student-athletes, on its covers last month.
“Our women’s basketball programs continue to be leaders in the country, both on and off the court,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “These student-athletes are exemplary of the values, ideals and mission of the Pac-12 and I could not be more supportive and proud of their efforts.”
The demonstrations of each of the Pac-12 women’s basketball programs highlight the student athletes’ commitment to being active participants in the fight for social justice. Several teams will also be integrating uniform patches with messages in support of social justice. By giving Pac-12 student-athletes the platform to speak about what matters to them, the Pac-12 hopes to encourage conversations and action that will bring teammates, athletic departments and fans together in the continuing effort toward a more just, equitable society.
About Pac-12 ImPACt
Pac-12 ImPACt is the social activism arm of the Pac-12 Conference, seeking to do what the name implies – make an impact in the communities and lives of Pac-12 student-athletes, member institutions and society at large. The focus of Pac-12 ImPACt is to harness the power of sport to build awareness, identify solutions and provide leadership to promote initiatives across the social activism landscape, particularly those that encourage a culture of diversity and inclusion, support sustainability efforts and fuel the pioneering spirit of the West Coast. Pac-12 ImPACt creates and supports transformational policies, programs, resources and services designed to strengthen our university communities from the inside out, spreading the messages of inclusion and empowerment by celebrating diversity, fostering fairness and good sportsmanship, and working towards the ultimate goal of equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. Launched in 2012, Pac-12 ImPACt is headquartered in the Pac-12 Conference office in San Francisco, California. For more information on Pac-12 ImPACt, please visit
About the Pac-12 Conference
The Pac-12 Conference has a tradition as the “Conference of Champions,” leading the nation in NCAA Championships in 54 of the last 60 years, with 529 NCAA team titles overall. The Conference comprises 12 leading U.S. universities - the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Washington and Washington State University. For more information on the Conference’s programs, member institutions, and Commissioner Larry Scott, go to


Arizona State