UCLA deputy Title IX director Candi Smiley’s fight for inclusion

Sports Illustrated and Empower Onyx are putting the spotlight on the diverse journeys of Black women across sports—from the veteran athletes, to up-and-coming stars, coaches, executives and more—in the series, Elle Evate: 100 Influential Black Women in Sports.


The past year of federal case law has been eventful, to say the least. Among other opinions, the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion, defended the Second Amendment from strict state limits on carrying guns in public and shot down various efforts by the Biden Administration to federally protect large swaths of the population against COVID-19. All the while Candi Smiley keeps cool. “We all knew this was coming,” she says. “It’s been building for the last couple of years. But, yeah, everyone’s kinda shell-shocked.”

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