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Fairways and Basepaths: Thank you Title IX

It was impressive, watching the ticker-tape parade in New York, honoring the World Cup Champions, the U.S.A. Women’s Soccer Team. CNN spent much of their morning airing the event on television. The parade stopped at City Hall, and the Mayor awarded “keys to the city.”

The team has had multiple World Championships, and a long history of successful performance. There were chants of “equality”, and “equal pay.” Motorized floats displayed banners: “One Nation, One Team.”

Among the commentators on television was sports columnist Christine Brennan who remarked that this would not have been possible had it not been for Title IX.

Title IX is a federal law, enacted in 1972 which prohibits discrimination, on the basis of sex, in education programs including athletics and sports. At that time there were 30,000 women in NCAA sports and 170,000 men. In 1972 high school girls in athletics totaled 295,000. In June, 2019 girls totaled 2.6 million.

Institutions which failed to implement the law risked losing federal funds.

Our Arizona Governor’s Title IX Task Force was hastily convened in 1975. We met in Phoenix. Carolyn Warner, Superintendent of Public Instruction told us we were very, very behind schedule. Our 8-hour meeting produced a thick dossier with plans to interpret and implement the ‘new’ federal law.

Some of Title IX results included awarding Athletic Scholarships at the University of Arizona for female golfers such as Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, and Natalie Gulbis. They all moved on to professional golf and some are in the LPGA Hall of Fame.

Arizona was 3 years late, but finally made the right moves.

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