SSI welcomes new board member Dru Hancock
By Katy Popovitch
Dru Hancock, retired Big 12 conference senior associate commissioner, is the newest SSI board member.
“As a retired person, sometimes it is hard to find things that are meaningful and this is certainly one of them,” Hancock said.
Hancock is an Ohio State alumni and has an undergraduate degree in speech communication and a graduate degree in journalism. At Ohio State, Hancock was a four-year letter winner in basketball and a two-year letter winner and Big Ten doubles title winner in tennis.
Hancock said she decided to go to graduate school because she had the opportunity to be a graduate assistant for Ohio State’s women’s tennis team. Dr. Phyllis Bailey, former Ohio State women’s athletics administrator and women’s basketball coach, presented her with the position when Hancock said there was a lack of publicity surrounding women’s sports on campus because Bailey agreed.
“We had nothing,” Hancock said. “You might get a blurb in The Lantern for one sport, and we had some really good programs back then.”
Hancock said this graduate assistant position contributed to her lifelong advocacy for women’s sports.
“It was more of an experience of what could be the next step,” Hancock said. “Ohio State was a very opportune time for me and women who wanted to do the same thing.”
Hancock went on to serve as an assistant sports information director at both the University of Minnesota and the University of Missouri before becoming the women’s associate athletic director at the University of Tennessee.
Hancock served on the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball Committee for five years, and she was the chair of the committee during the 2014-2015 season. Hancock said her and the committee fought battles with the NCAA so women’s basketball was treated the same as men’s basketball.
“We had opportunities, but we did not have the same opportunities as the men had and it was very clear,” Hancock said.
When Hancock was the Big 12 conference senior associate commissioner, she said her favorite thing she got to do was form a relationship with the Special Olympics.
“At the football championship game, we would have the special olympians of the year come down on the field and be introduced to 8,000 people at AT&T stadium with their parents,” Hancock said. “It was emotional, and it was fun.”
Hancock said she hopes Ohio State spreads the initiative as a model for other schools in the country.
“Ohio State is a beacon," Hancock said. “They are one of the best programs in the country. To have the wherewithals to combine athletics and academics is pretty bold.”