Title IX continues to open doors for girls

Posted on 24. Jun, 2012 by

Closing in on 17 years covering sports, I’ve had the opportunity to write about many great performances and events.
While there’s been a couple football state title games and several male athletes competing at the state track meet, a majority of the big sports moments I’ve witnessed have been with young women in action.
I’ve covered three girls state basketball tournaments  — Valley View, Pilot Point and Aubrey. I’ve been to the state softball tournament three times to watch Shon Ranton’s Aubrey teams.
I watched Lindsay and Decatur girls cross country teams capture state crowns in Round Rock. I’ve also been to Austin to watch state champions Audrey Svane of Pilot Point and Alvord’s Jordan Ward bring home multiple state championships in track.
These treasured moments in time may have never been possible if it was not for a piece of legislation signed into law by President Richard Nixon 40 years ago this weekend – Title IX.

 No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…

While not mentioning sports in particular, the law has had far-reaching effects on athletics, opening doors of opportunity for many young women. More athletic scholarships have been made available and colleges have added many girls programs.
In high school, facilities have been improved and many schools have added sports – volleyball, softball, soccer and wrestling. According to the UIL, participation in softball over the past 20 years has grown by 500 percent.
Young girls who were never allowed to run distance events are now excelling in the 1,600 and 3,200. Starting next year, 4A and 5A girls will get the opportunity in cross country to run a 5K like the boys. Girls are even now soaring through the sky in the pole vault – the event that Northwest’s Desiree Freier won a gold medal in this spring.
While sports has opened doors for the future for girls, it’s also helped in the present. Various studies show that the young girls that participate in sports and extracurricular events are less likely to have a teenage pregnancy or use drugs.
While the implementation of Title IX has forced some institutions to make some tough decisions about funding and providing programs, the overall benefit of the law can’t be argued. It’s been a win for all of us.
Thanks again to the many young women that have given me many great moments to write about over the years.

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