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Outsports' Female Hero of the Year: Karen Morrison

Karen Morrison has helped changed the conversation about LGBT people in the NCAA. Nevin Caple has also helped break down barriers in women's sports.

Karen Morrison, left, leaves a legacy of LGBT inclusion at the NCAA.
Karen Morrison, left, leaves a legacy of LGBT inclusion at the NCAA.

Sometimes the people doing the most challenging and impactful work never get the headlines, never get the interviews, never get the recognition they deserve.

For years, Karen Morrison has worked tirelessly behind the scenes at the NCAA, bringing LGBT issues to the forefront of the work of the NCAA.

After 16 years at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Morrison joined the team at the NCAA as Director of Inclusion. While there Morrinson helped host a Negative Recruiting Think Tank in 2006, focusing on the practice in women's sports of labeling rival recruiters "lesbian programs;" hosted a think tank on equality for transgender student athletes in 2009, resulting in a trans inclusion policy for the NCAA; And just last month Morrison was instrumental in hosting the groundbreaking Common Ground Think Tank, which brought together LGBT people and religious folks to determine next steps in building bridging between the two communities. She has also worked closely with the various members of the LGBT Sports Coalition to bring about projects and conversations that lead to change.

In addition, Morrison has helped bring increased attention to other key issues in sports involving gender and disability.

Morrison recently left her post at the NCAA to become the Chief Diversity Officer at the Univ. of Central Florida, where she will no doubt continue to break down barriers for LGBT athletes.

For all that she has done in 2014 and beyond, Karen Morrison is Outsports' Female Hero of the Year.

Female Hero of the Year runner-up: Former college basketball player Nevin Caple has been working to break down homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in women's sports for years, but never has she made such inroads as she did in 2014, working through Br{ache The Silence with the WNBA, NCAA and others.