An important law that changed the sports landscape forever, and gave women the same opportunities as men was passed on June 23, 1972.
Photo from womenssportsfoundation.org
It is commonly known as Title IX.
The law stated, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
However, there are still many issues and many questions that need to be answered 40 years later.
Since the law was passed women’s sports have made significant gains, but they have also had setbacks.
How can things improve and not go backwards?
Tennessee athletes have made strides during the past four decades, most notably the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team.
Their success is unmatched to anything else in the state.
However, the MTSU women’s squad has also made its status known thanks to legendary high school coach Rick Insell.
Other women’s collegiate sports around the area have also had tremendous success in the past few years.
I’ve had the great pleasure of watching and covering several women’s sports, those are just as enjoyable as the men’s events.
The women athletes are just as competitive, and some of them give great sound bites when interviewed just like the men do.
Growing up, one of my favorite teams, male or female I enjoyed viewing was the Lady Vols.
Of course, you know all about the success, the All-Americans and the National Championships, as well as legendary coach Pat Summitt.
However, I had never seen them in person, and I had always wanted to experience the moment.
Luckily during the SEC tournament this past March in Nashville, I finally got the chance to see the passion in person along with my uncle, who is also a big UT fan.
It was incredible to see all of the orange, especially when one of the greatest coaches in college sports history went on the court.
It seemed like you could hear the noise all the way from Knoxville.
It was one of the greatest sports moments I have every seen.
However, not all women’s college sports have the same success as the teams here in the Volunteer state.
Funding is getting cut, and fans are not showing up, even for events like the early rounds of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Most people say they do not attend or watch women sports because it is not as good, or they might lose credibility with their friends.
They might even get made fun of or called names.
The final reason, mostly with men is the women are not “hot” enough.
It seems unless an athlete poses for a magazine like Maxim or Playboy, most people do not care.
Why cannot we enjoy the athletic ability of these females, instead of just focusing on looks alone?
Another issue is should college athletes get paid?
Some coaches and officials say yes, but only for the so-called revenue sports like men’s basketball and football.
What about the female student-athletes who put in as much time and work as their male counterparts? OK, they do not bring in as much money as the previously mentioned sports, but it is not their fault.
For example, football gets a ton of television coverage that now includes preseason, regular and postseason.
At the same time, most women’s sports do not get coverage until the postseason starts.
I wish there was a way to make it more equal, but I cannot find a quick solution to the problem.
Title IX has done a lot of great things for women’s sports, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.