By Ken Reed
Perhaps Richard Nixon’s greatest accomplishment as President of the United States was signing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 into law on June 23, 1972.
It’s been 45 years since Title IX prohibited high schools and colleges that receive federal funding from discriminating on the basis of gender in any program or activity, including sports.
The benefits have been tremendous. As one example, a survey by Ernst & Young and espnW found that of businesswomen now in the C-suite (CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, etc.), 94% played sports and 52% played college sports.
“The passage of Title IX 45 years ago changed the trajectory of American women, thus transforming our culture,” said Donna de Varona, Olympic gold medalist and Title IX advocate.
“We found our way into space, onto the Supreme Court and into the high echelons of politics. In the sporting arena, we became visible affirmations of what is possible, offering up strong, confident role models for future generations.”
While Title IX’s positive impact is definitely worth celebrating, there is still work to be done on the equality front in sports. High school and college budgets for female sports programs still trail those of their male counterparts. In addition, coaching and administrative opportunities for women in sports are still limited.
A new report produced by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, and LGBT SportSafe revealed that head coaches of women’s teams in major college conferences are 56.9 percent male and 43.1 percent female. Of the conferences studied (Ivy, American, Pac-12, Big Ten, ACC, Big East, SEC and Big 12), the Ivy league had the most female coaches of women’s sports at 55 percent.
“When we consider that 45 years after Title IX, less than 45 percent of head coaching positions in women’s sport are held by women, we must wonder about the opportunities lost not only for coaches but for those female student-athletes who could have benefited from a female role model,” said Delise S. O’Meally, executive director of the National Consortium for Academics and Sport.
Yes, there’s still work to be done on the equal opportunity front in sports, but it’s important to stop occasionally and celebrate how far we’ve come as a society. The 45th anniversary of the passage of Title IX is a good time to do that.
“The benefits will be in what happens after the playing days are over, namely more women in leadership positions in our society,” said Big East commissioner and former WNBA president Val Ackerman.
“Whether doctors, lawyers, engineers, CEOs, senators, university presidents, tech titans — the pathways for women will keep easing because sports can pave the way.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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