The passage of the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act or Title IX in 1972 was a major boost for women’s sports in the United States.
Since 1972, Title IX has faced a number of challenges and has staved off all of them including an attempt by President George W. Bush’s administration in 2005 to weaken the legislation, which was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon — whose persona was hardly that as a crusader for social justice even though his record suggests otherwise.
The U.S. Department of Education, without holding any public hearings, posted on its website new Title IX sports guidelines in 2005. Colleges and universities could comply with the Title IX legislation by asking their female students if they are interested in playing sports by responding to e-mail surveys. If there is a lack of response to the surveys, then a school can avoid offering sports opportunities to women and be in compliance with Title IX.
I was that simple. Answer an e-mail correctly and maybe a college or a university will have a women’s team available.
The Department of Education’s edict apparently caught the NCAA by surprise as well, because NCAA President Myles Brand issued a written statement saying, “The e-mail survey clarification will not provide an adequate indicator of interest among young women to participate in college sports. Nor does it encourage young women to participate, a failure that will likely stymie the growth of women’s athletics and could reverse the progress made over the last three decades.”
As it turned out, Title IX survived yet another challenge. But that doesn’t mean Title IX will remain the law of the land. The last time Title IX faced a challenge was in 2006. Women need to be reminded constantly that they do not necessary have the right to have an equal educational opportunity to men. They have access to an equal opportunity because of federal legislation.
Billie Jean King’s activism in securing women equal rights to men in tennis tournaments for pay is not noticed today. In 1972, Billie Jean King helped lobby for Title IX legislation.