Because of Title IX and its advocates, access to education and athletic programs continues to shape girls and women for successful futures. Title IX requires schools to provide equal opportunity in the range of sports offered and the levels of competition available to both sexes. On the 45th anniversary of Title IX, we celebrate those who fought, and continue to fight, for the advancement of women’s basketball.
Coaches made sacrifices
Before 1972, administrators identified women’s basketball as an unofficial sport, leaving programs without moral and financial support. Women’s basketball legend Lin Dunn volunteered her time, allowing high school girls to experience competitive play. “I loved playing basketball, and that was only possible because one of my teachers volunteered to coach me,” said Dunn. “I figured I’d do the same for my students.”
Dunn sacrificed personal time and overcame financial shortages to establish the women’s basketball program at Austin Peay State University, giving girls the opportunity to pursue their passion for athletics.
Even though we saw the emergence of women’s programs, Nancy Hogshead-Makar’s early career exposed a slow, progressive change. Olympic athlete and founder of Champion Women: Advocacy for Girl’s and Women’s Sports, Hogshead-Makar uses her experience to drive social change.
Girls felt pressure
Title IX encouraged forward thinking, not imposed it. As a student-athlete, Hogshead-Makar battled close-mindedness towards female participation in sports, even after the passing of Title IX in 1972. “Women questioned if lifting was going to make me too masculine,” Hogshead-Makar said. “There was no emphasis on if this was going to make me a better athlete. People were more worried about what training was going to do to my femininity.”
This typecast strengthened her drive, and between 1977 and 1984, Hogshead-Makar earned three national butterfly championships, claimed consecutive spots on the Olympic swim team and accepted the first female athletic scholarship at Duke University.
Without the opportunities afforded through Title IX, Hogshead-Makar would not be the girl’s and women’s sports advocate she is today.
Throughout the history of women’s basketball, coaches and student-athletes fought for equal opportunities which attributes to the success of the program today. On the 45thanniversary of Title IX, remember the contributions of all who fought for gender equity, and encourage continued compliance with the rights set by the law.
**WBCA members needing Title IX assistance may contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Coaches Inc.**