Select Page

College Women's Sports


It is hard to believe, but Title IX was passed by Congress and then signed into law on June 23, 1972, 46 years ago, by President Richard Nixon. It was part of the Education Amendments of 1972 and stipulated that any federally-funded educational activity or program that receives cannot discriminate against girls and women including in athletics programs.

The most famous impact has been on sports programs in schools. Since almost every U.S. college receives some federal funding, female athletes have been able to use the Title IX in an argument that the schools should recognize women’s athletics in as serious a manner as they do men’s. Because of Title IX, more females, including Olympic athletes, have given credit to Title IX for the chance to attend college with athletic scholarships and have the opportunity for higher education.

Examples of how Title IX began to work, although the regulation had opposition along the way and didn’t go into effect until 1978, a cover story in TIME in June 1978 reported that six times as many girls in high school were in competitive high school sports compared to 1970, North Carolina State’s women’s sports budget had multiplied 15 times in four years, the University of Michigan went from no formal women’s competitive sports in 1973 to 10 varsity women’s teams five years later, and other similar statistics.

Also, as the story noted, the effect of Title IX was not just felt by elite college athletes and public school students because young girls to older American women who wanted to compete were discovering the joys of competition in the 1970s. Females were showing they can be as determined as males and that they also learned through participating in athletics that if they believed in themselves and what they were capable of, they could do anything they set out to do. Sports build a better society because they encourage physical and mental vigor, tenacity, and courage.

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the impact of Title IX is still being felt. In the 2015-16 academic year, 211,886 females participated in sports in United States colleges, and that represents a 25 percent increase over the previous decade. Title IX has encouraged many girls to play sports over the years and reap the health and societal benefits that sports provide.