It seems like my posts lately have been political. That certainly is not the purpose of this blog. However, it does make me realize how much public policy affects my profession.
This week we celebrate our nation’s birthday. Last week we celebrated a very important piece of our nation’s history: Title IX to the Education Amendments. Title IX is largely misunderstood. It states (in short) that no U.S. citizen should be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. There are some specific exceptions of course. There was no specific remarks or provisions that mentioned athletics or sports.
So, why is it that everyone thinks Title IX is a “sports bill”? In my opinion, I understand Title IX to be a bill about civil rights. It has opened the door for women to participate in higher education and it’s programs and services (athletics being one of them) that they had been left out of throughout history. Athletics was an area that schools had to do a significant amount of “catch-up”.
Like many people in our profession, I had the opportunity to participate in athletics in high school. I certainly learned important life skills including teamwork and leadership. But more importantly, I was able to enter a university to pursue an undergraduate and graduate degree that provided equal opportunity for admissions, regardless of sex. Those programs, services and opportunities in turn, allowed me to gain employment and access to even more opportunity. All of this has ultimately impacted the quality of my life. It’s imperative that people, especially those who are reaping the benefits of this important legislation, understand the impact on their lives.
Thanks Title IX, and Happy 40th Birthday!