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What Title IX has meant 40 years later

FILE - AP File photos show from left AnnRuggiero 2009 Lauren Cheney 2012 DanicPatrick 2012 Jennie Finch 2010.  By

FILE - AP File photos show from left, Anna Ruggiero in 2009, Lauren Cheney in 2012, Danica Patrick in 2012 and Jennie Finch in 2010. By opening the gates to gyms, stadiums and playing fields Title IX changed the way these women see themselves. (AP Photo/FILE)

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Updated: June 21, 2012 11:17AM



Title IX was initially intended to give women more opportunities in higher education, with access to athletics a mere side effect. By opening the gates to gyms, stadiums and playing fields, however, Title IX changed the way women in America see themselves. On the 40th anniversary of its enactment, here is what what Title IX has meant to various athletes, coaches, administrators and league officials.

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Sen. BIRCH BAYH, co-author and sponsor of Title IX: “The concern I had was you had 53 percent of American people happen to be women, you can’t ignore their brain power. If you give a person an education, whether it’s a boy or girl, young woman or young man, they will have tools necessary to make a life for families and themselves.” ... “Little girls need strong bodies to carry their minds around just as little boys do.” ... “I may have put words on the piece of paper, but those who made Title IX come alive are the coaches and the players and the parents. All of them participate in giving their daughters the same opportunities as their sons.”

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BILLIE JEAN KING, Hall of Fame tennis player, founder of the Women’s Sports Foundation and longtime advocate for equality in sports: “(Playing sports) empowers you and allows you to understand leadership and supportive roles. You understand how to navigate better in life if you’ve been in sports. You’re more resilient.” ... “Title IX was about education, opportunity and equal rights. Any federal funds should be going equally to boys and girls. It’s just a no-brainer to me. It’s logical.” ... “In athletics, because we’re the most visible, we set the tone. You have to see it to be it. And when there’s equality with women’s sports, and opportunities, it helps permeate everything else.”

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DONNA LOPIANO, former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation who now runs a consulting firm to help high schools and colleges with Title IX compliance, ethics and diversity issues: “Most women realize that the impact of Title IX goes well beyond sport. What sport delivers to both women and girls is confidence, a stronger self-image. It’s that contribution that’s going to have a long-standing impact, just as it has with boys. Developing leaders, developing more confident folks.”... “There is still such a long way to go in terms of participation opportunities. At both the high school and college level, it is a resource problem.” ... “When you live through that struggle, you don’t see the forest for the trees. I don’t think anyone could have envisioned the kind of reality we have today. It’s hard to envision a future you never had.”

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ANGELA RUGGIERO, president-elect of the Women’s Sports Foundation and member of the 1998 U.S. team that won the first Olympic gold medal in women’s ice hockey: “Going to the Olympics, getting to attend Harvard and getting a great education, all the things I’ve been doing now, I’ve been given so many opportunities in life because of sport.” ... “Sports is a vehicle. To actually be educated. To learn about having self-esteem and being a complete person. To being more self-assured. To understanding their bodies so they don’t have bad habits as adult. To understanding how to work in groups.” ... “Title IX is simply saying we want all kids — boys and girls — to have the same opportunities, whether that’s in high school or college, to be educated.”

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DAVID STERN, commissioner of the NBA: “I saw (creating the WNBA) as good business. That women’s sports at the collegiate level were going to be increasing, that interest in women’s sports would likewise increase. Even if you were a young woman watching a women’s sport, or a man watching women’s sports, you were more likely to watch all forms of basketball, and that would be good for the NBA.” ... “I think I didn’t develop a complete passion for it until everyone told us it was impossible, and destined to fail. Then I became passionate about it.” ... “It’s a long haul and you need staying power. The WNBA has that staying power.”

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DEBBIE YOW, athletic director at North Carolina State: “The benefits men realized for 100 years in competition, in collegiate athletics, are the same for the women.” ... “Do we not feel an obligation to help prepare people for the workplace? A lot of that comes out of athletics. A lot of it does. That’s how good it is. Or how good it can be.”

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CANDACE PARKER, 2008 WNBA MVP, Olympic gold medalist and first woman to dunk in an NCAA tournament game: “Title IX is huge for sports but also it’s helped move our nation to a place where we can accept women in the workforce as well. It’s opened up a lot of jobs for women. We had a female run for president in Hillary Clinton.”

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MAYA MOORE, 2011 WNBA champion and two-time NCAA champion at Connecticut, where she is the Huskies’ all-time leading scorer: “I couldn’t really imagine growing up in a world where someone said, ‘No, you can’t play basketball because you’re a female,’ or can’t do something else. It’s important for us to take a minute and appreciate (the changes).” ... “There’s just so many ways my life would be different.”

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GENO AURIEMMA, Hall of Fame coach who has led Connecticut to seven NCAA titles, including four perfect seasons, and will coach the U.S. women in London: “In the early ‘70s, when all this came about, I was a senior in high school. The idea of women actually being athletes, female athletes, that wasn’t a word that you would use back then. ... Fast forward to Maya Moore. The idea you’d think of Maya Moore as something other than a great athlete is just absurd.” ... “Today, my son’s 23. If you ever told him women didn’t play basketball or weren’t great athletes, after all the practices of mine he’s watched, he’d say to you, ‘What world are you living in?’”

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MUFFET MCGRAW, head coach at Notre Dame, which has made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA title game. “Players today expect that it’s going to be equal. And I think that’s a really good thing, that they expect they’re going to be treated the same as the guys.” ... “It’s really amazing how far we’ve come from the days of driving ourselves to away games. Not having sneaker contracts. Not having per diems.”

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DANICA PATRICK, NASCAR driver: “It’s nice that it gives female athletes more opportunities, more sports to play in, more things to do. ... Anytime that people sort of start to put men and women on the same thought level with sports is a positive overall.”

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PAULA CREAMER, nine-time winner on the LPGA Tour and 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion: “There is no question that female athletics is stronger and more advanced today across the board as a result. Golf is for certain. College golf, as well as all Women’s Professional Golf Tours, have better players and also more depth as a result.” ... “Young girls are inspired by the many opportunities it presents, and this gleam in their young eyes is a wonderful thing to see.”

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MEG MALLON, 2013 Solheim Cup captain and four-time major champion, including two U.S. Women’s Open titles: “I was the first generation that benefited from Title IX.” ... “The first year of Little League, I played against boys. Seven of us were allowed that very first year because of Title IX, and the boys didn’t want to play with us. Now, fast-forward to the 1999 Women’s World Cup and you see young boys wearing Mia Hamm jerseys. It’s wonderful.”

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LAUREN CHENEY, Olympic gold medalist in soccer and starter on U.S. team that reached the finals at last summer’s Women’s World Cup: “I think about being a young girl on recess and the boys saying, ‘Oh, you can’t play football, you’re a girl.’ I can’t imagine actually being told I can’t play and how I would have reacted to that.” ... “I’m so grateful for the women who did fight for that for us and for Title IX, and that I am able to play at the level that I’m playing at.”

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JENNIE FINCH, two-time Olympian in softball and 2004 gold medalist, set NCAA record with 60 straight wins: “It’s kind of funny because I have two older brothers and I turned out to be the super jock in the family. I’m so blessed I had the opportunity to do so and play the game at so many levels and travel the world.” ... “It’s scary to think about the effects long-term (of softball being dropped from the Olympics) and what’s going to happen to our sport in eight or 16 years.” ... “It’s so important to educate and share that these opportunities can be taken away if we don’t keep pushing and breaking down barriers and fighting.”

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AP Sports Writers Doug Feinberg, Howard Fendrich, Doug Ferguson, Jenna Fryer, Brian Mahoney, Luke Meredith, Melissa Murphy and Tom Withers contributed to this report.



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