| Special Report
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| LANDMARK LEGISLATION 40 YEARS AGO LEVELED THE PLAYING FIELD FOR WOMEN IN COLLEGE ATHLETICS.
TODAY, THE LEGACY CAN BE FOUND IN A NEW GENERATION OF FEMALE ATHLETES.
Peggy Harmon Brady first put her baby girl on snow skis at age 3. Over the next several years she enrolled her in dance classes, gymnastics, soccer at the YMCA, a city tennis league, club swimming and, at age 6, Peggy took Chris to a practice range. She’d point to a yellow flag and promise a penny if a golf ball sailed over it. Chris, a natural competitor, loved the bait.
Chris ran track and played basketball and golf at Green Hope High School in Cary, N.C . If she ever had to write a book report, the subject was always her idol, Babe Zaharias. Peggy often took Chris to Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club to look at photos of the Babe and drink lemonade. They’d go to Pinehurst just to practice and feel the energy of the place.
“I didn’t really realize my mom was that great of a golfer until I discovered a Sports Illustrated in my attic one time,” said Brady, referring to her mother’s victory at the 1968 U. S. Girls’ Junior and an article chronicling the feat. “ Nobody ever said anything.”
Peggy knew that sports would build her daughter’s self-esteem. Nothing would shape her young life more than the time spent learning to kick a soccer ball, flop a wedge or land a back handspring.
“There’s so much pressure on girls to be pretty,” Peggy said. “I just didn’t want her to get sucked into a world where that was the important thing.”
Chris, who now, at age 27, has a family of her own, followed in her mother’s footsteps to Vanderbilt. She graduated in 2007, 35 years after her mom received a degree in what’s now known as computer science. They are the only mother-daughter All-American duo in Vanderbilt sports history, and their time spent in Nashville , Tenn., couldn't have been more different.
Title IX became law on June 23, 1972 , weeks after Peggy Harmon graduated from Vanderbilt. The law stipulated that gender equity be enforced for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding. The law wasn’t written for college athletics alone, but it’s the most well-known beneficiary.
Vanderbilt didn’t have varsity teams for women when Peggy was in school from 1968 to ’72. During her sophomore year, then-athletic director Jess Neely asked if she’d like to participate in the National Intercollegiate in Athens, Ga. “What’s that?” Peggy asked.
Neely offered to pay Peggy’s way to the golf event, in which she finished third. Peggy participated in two college tournaments in four years at Vandy, skipping the championship in her senior year to start a new job.
Today’s college golfers know little of the barren landscape that predates their time on campus. When Cathy Mant won the national championship in 1970 , she didn’t qualify for an athletic scholarship at Arizona State because she majored in marketing rather than physical education. Back then, only phys-ed majors at ASU were eligible for such grants.
Mant received three golf balls per tournament and a $5 per diem for food. She checked out her golf bag from the university’s equipment room. The coach, Mant said, was “basically someone just making reservations.”
Now, as head coach of the women’s team at Georgia State , Mant happily gives her team the spoils of Title IX. The players are mostly oblivious to the past. She took her team to play in Miami last March and had them meet with JoAnne Carner, one of Mant’s mentors and an LPGA Hall of Famer.
“My players had no clue who she was,” Mant said. ASU’s Carner, incidentally, was the first woman in the U.S. to earn a college golf scholarship.
Last year, Mant was asked by her administration to carry nine players on her roster to help meet Title IX requirements since Georgia State added football two years ago. (The law mandates specific male/female ratios for participation, see p35.) It’s one to two more players than she’d usually carry. The school will add women’s sand volleyball in the fall.
“It’s a little more than I would like,” Mant said, “ but I’m doing what has been asked – my contribution to making this all work.”
To appreciate the depth and talent of today’s game, one must revisit the past. The first national championship for all of women’s collegiate sports was an individual golf championship , in 1941. Gladys Palmer, head of the physical education department at Ohio State, spearheaded the initiative with some encouragement from Minnesota’s Patty Berg. Thirty golfers from 19 colleges competed at OSU’s Scarlet Course, with 16 advancing to match play. The tournament entry fee was $5.
Several women’s organizations held national collegiate championships before the arrival of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women , which ran the ’72 championship. Title IX didn’t cause an avalanche of cash to flow immediately through women’s athletics. Mary Lou Mulflur wound up with a scholarship to Washington in fall 1976 because the coach donated her salary back to the program. There was no free equipment. No team shorts.
“I just knew that having Title IX meant I was going to have a chance to play golf past high school,” said Mulflur, who now coaches at Washington. “All of my close friends ended up playing golf. I remember us thinking that was going to be pretty sweet.”
Tulsa set the standard for women’s college golf in the ’70s. In response to Title IX legislation, the small university set out to add women’s golf and tennis. Officials called Dale McNamara, a Tulsa graduate, to see if she’d help. The athletic department had five scholarships to offer players but no money to pay the coach. Eventually, McNamara got onboard, launching the program in 1974.
“I spent a lot of time in bars at night talking to the men’s coaches,” said McNamara of her coaching education. “I found out the name of the game was recruiting.” McNamara became fascinated with a young girl from New Mexico named Nancy Lopez. She hitched a ride on a friend’s private jet to Roswell and met Lopez at the airport.
McNamara, who still wasn’t getting paid herself, didn’t have a full scholarship to offer Lopez, who also was being recruited by Arizona State.
“I remember going to my athletic director and saying ‘If you had a chance to recruit O.J. Simpson (who would win a Heisman at USC), would you offer him half a scholarship?’ ” McNamara recalled. “He said, ‘Hell, no.’ Well, I’ve got an O. J. Simpson that’s going to change everything that’s known about this university.”
Lopez got a full scholarship, and she was a first-team All-American at Tulsa for two seasons (1975-76 and 1976-77). In landing the future LPGA Hall of Famer, McNamara said she recruited “instant tradition.”
“She is and was the most wonderful breath of fresh air I have ever come across,” McNamara said.
As McNamara began pushing the envelop e on team uniforms, bags and level of play, she wound up with a salary. It was about that time when the university decided to cancel the men’s golf program, which had been around since the 1930s.
McNamara said that wasn’t an option and offered to coach both programs. From 1976 to ’77, she coached a men’s team that included Hank Haney .
The men’s program survived at Tulsa, and McNamara – who started with a budget of $1,500 for the women, enough to get the team to Kansas and back – built a dynasty with the help of golf-loving oil tycoons and a gregarious personality. She eventually became an assistant athletic director.
Women’s golf didn’t fall under the NCAA’s umbrella until 1982. The AIAW Championship and NCAA Championship each were held that season , and Tulsa won both.
“I thought the NCAA was going to be the best thing that happened to us , and it was,” said McNamara, referring to an immediate boost in exposure and stature. As former Oklahoma State coach Ann Pitts said, most people had trouble keeping the AIAW acronym straight , let alone knew what the letters meant.
Pitts was hired by OSU in 1976 to take women’s golf from a club sport to a varsity sport. She retired in 2000.
“Title IX was not very popular because (the men) felt like it was going to take away from what they had,” Pitts said. “I think that sentiment stayed clear through the ’80s.”
Pitts reckons the ’80s were spent fighting Title IX, and the ’90s were spent building women’s sports. Not that it was easy.
In 1993, Pitts sued Oklahoma State under the Equal Pay Act as well as Title IX and Title VII (of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that protects individuals from employment discrimination). She didn’t win the Equal Pay Act complaint but did win the other suits. Pitts received back pay and negotiated a new contract for a significant pay raise. The victory, she said, helped several other female coaches at OSU move up the pay scale.
Pitts said many people believe the effects of Title IX would’ve happened naturally, even without the legislation. She doesn’t agree.
“I think sometimes you have to force change,” Pitts said.
When North Carolina coach Jan Mann was a kid growing up in Jacksonville, N. C., there weren’t any high school sports for girls. But that didn’t stop her from playing.
“From the time the sun came up ’til it went down, I was outside,” said Mann, who particularly enjoyed tennis and volleyball.
Mann played intramural softball in college at UNC-Wilmington because there weren’t any athletic teams for women. She didn’t take up golf until after she was married.
“Gosh, I would have done anything to play sports in college,” Mann said. “I don’t know that (today’s athletes) really know the opportunity they have and how special it is.”
In Mann’s 17 years of coaching, she can count on one hand the number of her players who have pursued professional golf. Title IX is more about creating opportunities than developing professional athletes.
Women’s golf, in particular, has flourished under the law. The number of golf teams across all three divisions has jumped from 125 in 1982 to 575 in 2011. Only four sports have gained more programs: cross country, soccer, softball and indoor track.
At the Karsten Creek clubhouse restaurant, the Oklahoma State men’s and women’s golf teams enjoy a lunch that’s far better than any cafeteria fare. Table bragging rights this spring belong to the women’s program: They’re ranked higher than the men.
“It’s so much more fun to be good,” said junior Hillary Wood, grinning.
There’s no question the Cowgirls have benefitted immeasurably from the success of the men’s program. They hone their games at one of the nation’s finest college practice facilities. Male and female recruits walk down a clubhouse hallway that’s covered from floor to ceiling with awards.
“How could you not want to be a part of that?” asked OSU sophomore Lauren Falley, who joined the team as a walk-on.
The players concede they’re spoiled. The women have played Karsten Creek from the moment it opened in 1994 . They often work out alongside the baseball team and take pride in their extensive uniform collection. Both golf teams have been known to fly privately. Aside from a championship ring, the women want for nothing.
Athletes today hardly can imagine a college life without sports. They often wonder: What do non-athletes do all day?
“They better make all A’s,” said Oklahoma State junior Kelsey Vines.
Washington’s Mulflur said it’s OK to excuse today’s female athletes for not knowing much about Title IX and what came before it.
“If we’re doing things right, they shouldn’t need to know what Title Ixis,” Mulflur said. “It’s just natural. Everyone gets this.”
Linda Vollstedt started coaching at Arizona State in 1980 for a salary that was one-third that of her male counterpart. Her office was in the basement of a locker room, and her team practiced on a dirt field behind the P.E. buildings.
After her Sun Devils won the NCAA Championship by 16 strokes over UCLA in 1990 , Vollstedt told her athletic director it was time that her salary was equal to the men’s.
“The response was reluctant, but he did it,” said Vollstedt, who led ASU to six national championships .
Today, few things warm Vollstedt’s heart more than watching boys and girls share a field or court, their fathers equally proud.
“Thirty years ago, that was not the thing to do,” Vollstedt said. “(Fathers) didn’t want little tomboys. They wanted little princesses.”
At age 24, Chris Brady accepted a job offer from The Shaw Group in the middle of a rain delay at a pro-am event. Six months later, she married Jason Wolfe. Son Connor joined the family 18 months ago. Brady, a civil structural design engineer, serves as the interface coordinator on a project in Columbia, S.C.
“I’m basically helping design and build the first nuclear plant in 30 years in this country,” said Brady, who recently competed in the Nuclear Cup, her firm’s in-house tournament. She was an LPGA rookie in 2008 and retired in ’09.
At 27, Brady is the only female at the daily 7 a.m. meeting and the youngest in the room. Her years playing sports prepared her for such a role.
“They know that I was a world-class athlete,” she said. “That in itself gains respect before you even sit down at the table.”
The men’s soccer program was cut while Brady was a student at Vanderbilt. The school added women’s swimming and bowling. Brady acknowledges the perceived “double-edged sword” of Title IX but is grateful that the legislation is in place, saying remedying past injustices sometimes comes at a price.
Meanwhile, Peggy Brady is secretly working on her grandson’s golf swing. He’ll have two generations of Brady women available to teach him.
Clemson responds to girls’ golf trend
When Austin Ernst won the NCAA Division I Womenfs Championship last May, Larry Penley knew the time was right. Ernst, then a freshman at LSU, grew up less than 10 miles from Clemson, S. C. Homegrown talent had arrived.
Clemson announced last July that it would add a womenfs golf program beginning with the 2013-14 season. Penley, Clemsonfs longtime menfs coach, was promoted to director of golf. He hired J.T. Horton a month later to lead the women. While it was too late to nab Ernst, the statefs talent pool undoubtedly had deepened.
“Our recruiting base is the state of South Carolina,” Penley said . “We wanted to make sure the girls ’ (high school) competition could get us where we wanted to be on a conference level and a national level.”
Only two high schools in the upper half of South Carolina had girls’ golf teams until recent years, Penley said. Now, with area high schools sporting rosters of eight to 10 girls, Penley and his administration began laying bricks. Clemson will be the ninth Division I women’s golf program in the state and the 10th ACC school.
Clemson’s addition not only illustrates why golf has been one of Title IX’s biggest beneficiaries, but underscores the advances women’s athletics has made under the 1972 legislation. Unlike Title IX’s early days when compliance worries typically forced university action, Clemson is moving forward for a simple reason: The Tigers believe they can win – soon.
Relatively inexpensive start-up costs and the prospects of early success help explain golf’s gains.
Clemson’s inaugural program already is well under way. Horton signed the school’s first two recruits in November: Lauren Salazar of Santa Clara, Calif., and Taylor Ramsey of Milledgeville, Ga . Both women will redshirt next season and begin play in fall 2013.
Penley tabbed Horton to build Clemson’s program after watching him resurrect the women’s team at Tulane. The Green Wave lost their golf programs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Horton was hired in July 2007 to restore the women’s team and spent the next year recruiting. In Tulane’s first year back, the Green Wave won the Conference USA title and advanced to the national championship.
Horton grew up 45 minutes from Clemson and calls Penley a coaching mentor.
In 29 years at Clemson, Penley has led the Tigers to 61 titles, including eight ACC Championships and one national title. Former Tigers on the PGA Tour include Lucas Glover, Jonathan Byrd, Kyle Stanley and D.J. Trahan. Penley expects the women’s program to follow suit.
Horton’s team will have full access to oncampus practice facilities used by the men (putting lab, club repair, weight room, etc.). Penley said their golf budget might actually exceed the men’s during the first year, given that the men’s success affords them free equipment.
“They’re going to have everything they need,” Penley said.
Horton has six full scholarships , the maximum number allowed by the NCAA , to offer . North Carolina coach Jan Mann said the most difficult part about starting the program at Virginia 10 years ago was getting enough good players in the beginning while still saving enough scholarship money for down the road. Mann also had six full scholarships at her disposal and used 2 1.2 that first year. She didnft want to start from scratch four years later . Horton will face a similar challenge.
"We donft want to be a good flash in the pan,h he said.
Horton will have to get creative in his recruiting, relying on in-state scholarships and academic money to attract talented juniors. Not to mention his biggest selling point: Be among the first.
“I certainly sold it as an exciting event,” Mann said. “The history of the program starts with you.”
Mann led the Cavaliers to an NCAA Championship appearance in their second year of competition. A golf-rich school such as Clemson should produce similar results.
Time will tell if it will be worth the wait.
Beth Ann Baldry
Progress with a price?
EFFORTS FOR EQUALITY HAVEN’T COME WITHOUT COMPLAINT, AND THE BOOST FOR WOMEN HAS HURT SOME MEN’S PROGRAMS
It’s the 21st century, and equality for women is embraced as a norm. Rarely is it demanded or given begrudgingly anymore.
That evolution, at least in collegiate athletics, is more than self-evident: During the past three decades, women’s participation across all three NCAA divisions has soared to 191,131 athletes – nearly triple the number from 1981-82.
Credit the progress directly to Title IX, the landmark legislation passed 40 years ago that prohibits gender discrimination in any educational arena among schools receiving federal funds.
Title IX’s unqualified success in helping level the playing field might make some wonder if all the controversy it sparked during its early years is a thing of the past.
Don’t bet on it.
An undercurrent challenging Title IX, essentially, as reverse discrimination, is fomenting among critics, and they’re bound to clash with the law’s ardent defenders , who insist much more work needs to be done before true equality is achieved. It’s unlikely the dispute will be contained within the ivy-covered walls of college campuses , and it could spill out to high schools across the nation.
If that happens, it’s conceivable that girls’ sports, including golf, could undergo a proliferation much the way they’ve multiplied on the collegiate landscape. But some observers fear that might come at the expense of boys’ athletics, meaning their squads could get axed.
No one questions Title IX’s objective: equality for girls and women. But there is certainly debate as to whether the means to achieve that end is fair.
“We support Title IX as the law is written, but we disagree with how it is regulated because it sets up a system of numerical limits on the men’s side,” said Eric Pearson, chairman of the American Sports Council, an umbrella group working on behalf of men’s teams that claim to have been disenfranchised by Title IX.
At the crux of the issue is what’s known as proportionality, the primary measure of Title IX compliance. It requires that gender participation among athletes mirror the female-male ratio of an institution’s overall student body. Therefore, if a school’s enrollment is 60 percent female and 40 percent male, its athletic participation must reflect the 60/40 ratio.
Considering that women outnumber men in college nationally, yet male athletic participation still exceeds women’s, university officials mainly have pursued two options to meet the letter of the law: add more women’s teams or cut men’s programs.
The pursuit of proportionality has produced eye-opening results – some impressive, others alarming, depending on one’s point of view. According to an NCAA report tracking Title IX’s impact since 1988-89:
Colleges and universities have added 4,641 women’s teams – 42 percent more than the number of men’s programs added (3,272).
Elimination of men’s programs (2,748) exceeded by 41 percent the number of dropped women’s teams (1,943).
Though the overall number of men’s programs has increased during this period, some sports – particularly those classified as “nonrevenue generating ” – have suffered severe reductions. Among those hit the hardest: wrestling, gymnastics, fencing and water polo.
Though it may be well-intentioned, the proportionality standard is nothing more than a quota, reformers complain. Said Pearson: “Title IX only accounts for equal outcomes, but is blind to the fact that school is providing equal opportunity.”
As the law stands now, reformers say that a school could provide men’s and women’s teams equal resources, an equal number of roster spots and equal investment to fill them but still could be “punished” if there’s a shortfall in the number of female athletes.
They’re seeking changes to Title IX that would determine compliance based on “tests” measuring equitable treatment of both sexes. They also want to eliminate what they say is the arbitrary creation of women’s teams, favoring instead the addition of programs only when there’s a demonstrated demand for them.
But many Title IX advocates view such changes as weakening the law and deem them unacceptable, considering the inequities that remain. In the NCAA’s three divisions, male athletes still outnumber female athletes by 32 percent – 252,946 vs. 191,131. (The discrepancy still exists because of limited federal resources to enforce Title IX and flexibility given to schools as long as they are making progress toward compliance.)
What rankles Title IX defenders the most is the inaccurate portrayal that the law requires schools to cut men’s programs. Title IX makes no such mandate, they say, adding that elimination occurs for a variety of reasons, including lack of funds or interest. “But (university officials would ) rather blame it on Title IX,” said Nancy Hogshead-Makar , a renowned Title IX expert and senior director of advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation.
She insists that men’s programs don’t have to be cut; schools could re-prioritize their athletic budget s , tighten spending across the board, fundraise or generate more money to add women’s teams. She argues it’s time to rein in what she calls “out-ofcontrol spending” in big-time college football and basketball. As evidence, she cites a Knight Commission report that shows SEC schools’ median spending per athlete in 2009 was $156,833 – a sum skewed greatly by football’s expenditure. (By comparison, Division I schools without football spent $37,197.)
“You can produce Olympic-caliber athletes with that kind of money,” said Hogshead-Makar, who won four medals in swimming during the 1984 Summer Games .
Title IX critics, however, argue that making “scapegoats” out of college football and basketball fails to address the inherent inadequacies of the law.
They also point out that such programs generate millions of dollars for the entire athletic department, often subsidizing the men’s – and women’s – teams of nonrevenue sports.
Realizing that no athletic director wants to jeopardize the big business that is football, Mary Jo Kane says the NCAA should take action to restore balance to college athletics.
“College football is in an arms race, and you can’t ask one coach to unilaterally disarm,” said Kane, a University of Minnesota professor and director of its Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport . “But why do college football programs have rosters of 125 (with 85 scholarships) when NFL teams have 53? Name me a CEO in America who would allow you to have a bloated workforce and unnecessary expenses. ”
The NCAA could establish roster reductions and other “caps” for all schools, ensuring no one suffers a competitive disadvantage – and yielding savings that could be invested in women’s sports. Whether the NCAA takes such action remains to be seen. Added Kane: “It would require a lot of moral courage.”
But when there’s no alternative revenue source to tap, then what? That’s the question that will surface if proportionality is aggressively sought in the nation’s high schools, says Pearson of the American Sports Council. There already are several lawsuits pending against school boards, demanding the addition of girls’ teams.
“So many school systems don’t have a dime to spare,” said Pearson, who insists they will have little choice but to cut boys’ teams.
Title IX advocates counter that limited means can’t be an excuse for inequality. It’s also clear that exercising the law fairly is no easier 40 years later.
“It’s one of the most important civil-rights legislation ever passed,” Kane said. “But it comes with very complex issues. That’s the conundrum of Title IX.”
‘A magical year’ not likely to be equaled
Undefeated. It’s a word that’s rarely uttered in college golf circles. Even as Arizona State won one tournament after another from 1994 to ’95, no one even mentioned the possibility.
“I don’t remember anyone bringing it up,” former ASU coach Linda Vollstedt said. “The goal was to win the national championship, and we just happened to win tournaments along the way.”
The Sun Devils were 155-0-1 that season. Their lone “blemish” came at the NCAA West Regional, where they shared the title with San Jose State. Vollstedt’s team was so deep that her fifth player – whom Vollstedt put in the lineup at the last minute based on a gut feeling – won the national title for her first college victory.
“I didn’t think she had played her best golf yet,” said Vollstedt of senior Kristel Mourgue d’Algue , who never turned professional.
A Sun Devil won the individual title at nine of 10 tournaments that season. Five players were All-Americans, with Wendy Ward, Kellee Booth, Heather Bowie and Mourgue d’Algue being named to the first team. ASU beat fields by an average of nearly 26 strokes.
“We expected to win,” Vollstedt said.
“It wasn’t egotistical. . . . Not only win, but how many can we win by?”
It’s a domination that’s unlikely to be repeated, especially as Title IX continues to heighten competition and broadens its scope. Arizona State won its third consecutive national title that season and went on to win a total of six that decade. Not since Duke won three consecutive from 2005 to ’07 has a team gone into the postseason with such swagger. The past four years have produced four different schools as national champions. The wealth these days extends far beyond Tempe, Ariz.
“It was just a magical year,” Vollstedt said. “I don’t know that anyone will ever do it again.”
Beth Ann Baldry
Title IX’s impact
The overall number of men’s teams in the NCAA’s three divisions has increased since 1988-89, but some sports – particularly those classified as nonrevenue generating – have incurred significant reductions.
Among men’s team hit hardest:
Gymnastics: 47 to 17, down 64 percent
Fencing: 48 to 34, down 29 percent
Water Polo: 58 to 43, down 26 percent
Wrestling: 286 to 224, down 22 percent
Among women’s teams that have prospered:
Golf: 132 to 575, up 336 percent
Rowing: 39 to 142, up 264 percent
Soccer: 270 to 984, up 264 percent
Lacrosse: 118 to 357, up 203 percent