51 years of Title IX
The GIST: Today marks the 51st anniversary of Title IX, the landmark U.S. civil rights law which enshrined women’s right to equal opportunity in federally funded education and educational activities, including sports, with those game-changing 37 words. A true revolution.
The history: Before 1972, there were no NCAA championships or scholarships for women’s sports. Luckily, Representative Patsy T. Mink — the first woman of color elected to the House — set out to change that by sponsoring Title IX, which she authored in response to adversity she faced during her own education.
- Others who championed Title IX? Rep. Edith Green, who oversaw hearings on the legislation, Dr. Bernice Sandler, who documented and spoke out against gender-based discrimination, and, of course, tennis legend Billie Jean King. Bow down.
The impact: When Title IX passed in 1972, just 30K women competed in college sports, compared to 170K men. Today, there are 2.6Mhigh school girls living their best sporty spice life, and as far as the NCAA goes, a record-high 10,586 teams of gals competed across Divisions I (DI), II and III in 2018. LFG.
- The NCAA didn’t establish women’s DI championships until 1981, but they did move faster when it came to scholarships. In 1974, legendary hooper Ann Meyers (the first college baller to post a quadruple-double) smashed the scholarship ceiling with a four-year ride to UCLA…before inking an NBA contract in 1979. The OG GOAT.
The future: There are countless benefits to ensuring sports opportunities for girls and women, but the enforcement of Title IX is nearly nonexistent. Schools elude compliance because the largest penalty, pulling a noncompliant institution’s federal funds, has never actually been executed. A major problem when it’s estimated that more than half of all DI schools do not follow the law.
- So, while we celebrate Title IX’s 51 years, it’s essential to remember that the battle for women’s sports equality doesn’t end with those 37 words. More on that in your inbox on Sunday.