Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Title IX

June 22, 2012

Law banning sex bias struck a national sports nerve

It's easy to forget just how different things were 40 years ago until you listen to former U.S. Senator Birch Bayh talk about the daughter of an Oklahoma wheat farmer who changed his life.

That girl was Marvella Hern, who'd been a straight-A student, class president and national speech champion in high school when she was denied admission to the college of her choice in 1951. The rejection letter from the University of Virginia was terse: "Women need not apply."

Bayh married that girl and has told her story again and again to explain how he became known as the father of Title IX – the 1972 federal law that forbids gender discrimination at schools that get federal aid and changed the male-dominated culture of American sports.

As the retired Indiana senator recounts it now, Marvella convinced him it was foolish to waste the brainpower of half the population by denying women access to equal opportunity in educational institutions.

"You're not exactly asking anybody to be a profile in courage when you're asking them to support a law that benefits so many people," Bayh, 84, said in a recent interview. "Still, we had no idea just how far it would go."

Championed by Bayh in the Senate and Hawaii's Patsy Mink and Oregon's Edith Green in the House, Title IX was signed into law by President Richard Nixon 40 years ago on June 23, 1972.

What started out as a means to compel equal access to education - especially in medical and law schools - also opened arenas of sport to girls and women in ways Bayh never imagined. There are nearly 10 times as many female players in intercollegiate athletics as there were in 1972; the number of girls in high school sports has jumped nearly 1,000 percent.

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Title IX
  • 1_moving tassle_2299.jpg Class of 2013 moves tassels

    As the bright sun set Friday night, casting a warm glow across the visitor’s side bleachers, it seemed like a metaphor for “yesterday’s” Mineral Wells High School’s seniors as they turn the corner to see what lies ahead.

    June 11, 2013 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • Title IX’s impact far-reaching

    The 37-word law doesn't require women's sports programs to mirror the men's program. Instead, those who enforce Title IX look broadly to see if opportunities for women are equal to those for men.

    June 22, 2012 1 Story

  • title9-day1.jpg Law banning sex bias struck a national sports nerve

    Passing Title IX was a matter of basic fairness for U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, who championed the law 40 years ago that gave women equal access to educational programs and athletics. As simple as that might have been, the law only passed with what he called a "knock-down, drag-out fight."

    June 22, 2012 1 Photo 1 Story

  • title9-day2.jpg The next hurdle: Women coaching men's teams

    Title IX changed high school and college sports, but even now few women stand on the sidelines to coach men's teams. Annemarie Farrell, who revived men's rugby at Ithaca College, is an exception. She is one of many women who owe their careers, at least in part, to the law. Others include Lin Dunn, coach of the WNBA's Indiana Fever; Fever forward Tamika Catchings; and Kelly Krasukopf, the Fever's general manager.

    June 22, 2012 2 Photos 3 Stories

  • title9-day2-3.jpg Like father, like daughter on basketball court

    Title IX is important to Tamika Catchings but not nearly as important as the influence of her father, Harvey, who played 11 seasons in the NBA, and her mother, who ran track and played tennis. A seven-time WNBA all-star and league MVP in 2011, Catchings talks about sports, equity and growing up with a dream to play in the all-male National Basketball Association.

    June 22, 2012 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • title9-day3-1.jpg Time hasn’t ended legal furor over Title IX

    Title IX supporters are often the biggest critics of its enforcement. Many say the law might as well not exist unless someone is willing to file a court challenge. Contentiousness associated with the advent of Title IX - such as the University of Michigan's battle against it - lingers in many places today.

    June 22, 2012 2 Photos 5 Stories

  • TitleIXserieslogo.jpg Faces of Title IX: Women share their stories

    An Olympic-level diver, a high school valedictorian looking for big-city adventure, a softball player who refused to quit and a basketball star who learned the game by playing against her brothers' friends. All were pioneers in women's college sports when Title IX equalized access to academics and athletics.

    June 22, 2012 4 Photos 5 Stories

  • TitleIXserieslogo.jpg Charts: Growth of sports participation by women, girls

    These graphics illustrate how girls' participation in sports has grown at the high school and college level since the passage of Title IX in 1972.

    June 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • wrestling.jpg Girls rebuild school wrestling programs

    Title IX and gender equity usually get blamed for shrinking men's wrestling programs, but these days women's interest and participation is bringing people back to the sport.

    June 22, 2012 2 Photos 5 Stories

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