Herald-Sun editorial: Title IX offers a positive legacy

Dec. 11, 2012 @ 05:28 PM

Way back when, it was not accepted that girls and women were equal participants on the nation’s athletics fields and courts and arenas. No longer.

“Opportunities abound” was the headline on John McCann’s Herald-Sun story this week that reflected on four decades of Title IX, and it was certainly an appropriate way to frame that legacy.

“We get as much exposure to college coaches as the boys,” said Morgan McGee, a first-year basketball player at Wingate University, east of Charlotte. “We get fair treatment.”

“It has greatly impacted my life, both directly and indirectly. My mom started playing and earned her scholarship around the time Title IX began,” said Maddie McCallie, a freshman basketball player at Miami University in Ohio who is the daughter of Duke women’s basketball coach Joanne P. McCallie. “It really made her believe women had the same opportunities as men. As for me, I learned from her and became committed to earning a scholarship, knowing all the opportunities I could create. I am very thankful for it."

Title IX became law in 1972. The NCAA women’s basketball championship didn’t begin until the early 1980s. Since then, women’s sports have taken hold in collegiate athletics and are not about to go away: besides basketball, volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, tennis, and a number of other sports have attracted plenty of participation and attention.

No, those sports are not revenue-generating juggernauts like college football and basketball have become on the men’s side – but most men’s sports don’t reach that level, either.

Rather, women’s sports are much more about the pure joy of competition, about providing equal opportunities to female athletes, about the true student-athlete who achieves in the classroom as well.

“Without Title IX, without the NCAA – their support of Title IX – no, I would not have been in this position,” said Ingrid Wicker-McCree, athletics director at North Carolina Central University.

There are still further frontiers out there. Wicker-McCree correctly points out that black women are lagging behind in athletics administration.

Progress still needs to be made in that area, but Title IX and women’s athletics have come a long way in the past 40 years, and that progress is worth celebrating.