“Athletes don’t care about Title IX. They just want to play the game!”- Shannon Blosser

While I was working the basketball game on Nov. 9th, Canisius honored the women who played basketball in the initial year of Title IX. 2012 is the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which was passed on June 23rd, 1972. Title IX is the amendment that guarantees no discrimination based on sex, under any educational program or activity that receives federal funding.  As I witnessed those women, I wondered the significance of Title IX. Here are some numbers that really stood out in my research.

  • In 1972, less than 32,000 women competed in intercollegiate athletics.[1]
  • In 1972, women only received 2% of athletic budgets and sport scholarships were non-existent.[2]
  • 2008-09, a record number of 182,503 women competed, representing 43% of college athletes nationwide.[3]
  • Since 1972, female high school athletic participation has shot up more than 900%

Although those numbers are great, further work still needs to be done.

  • While 170,384 men played college sports in 1971-1972, female intercollegiate athletes did not pass 170,000 until 2005-2006.[4]
  • Women in Division I colleges representing 53% of the student body, receive 45% of the participation opportunities, and 34% of the total money spent on athletics, 45% of the total athletic scholarship dollars, and 32% of recruiting dollars.[5]

When I started writing this blog, my intention was to draw attention to women and the anniversary of Title IX. However, as this process has evolved I find myself thinking of my mom, my hero. My mom has always been the rock of the family. She lived through Title IX and remembers the inequality at her high school. I remember her telling stories of how in high school she played 6 on 6 in basketball and only played half court. My mom was always throwing the baseball, or kicking the soccer ball around with us. My parents recognized that sport was important to the development and health of my brother and myself. They moved us to a small private school where we could play and excel in sports (Both my brother and myself played multiple sports, and received athletic scholarships in college). My brother only graduated high school because of sports. On the 40th anniversary of Title IX, I am amazed at the changes that have occurred. My understanding only comes from statistics and second hand accounts. Women like my mom, and millions of other women, continue to shatter the glass ceilings of the world, and I believe that sports has played a role in that. I want to thank the countless women whom have battled for equal rights, equal pay, and equality among genders. Most of all I want to thank my mom, whose love for sports has helped shape the man I am today. With all my heart, thank you Mom!

Until next time,

Brent Gray

[1] Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Policy Interpretation, 44 Fed. Reg. at 71419 (1979).

[2] Remarks of Senator Stevens (R-AL), 130 Cong. Rec. S 4601 (daily ed. April 12, 1984).

[3] National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), 1981-82—2008-09 NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report 66 (November 18).

[4] NCAA, 1981-82—2005-06 Participation Rates Report, 76, 78, 224 supra note 3

[5] NCAA, 2003-04 Gender-Equity Report 12, 25 (Sept. 2006).