-By Morgan Aguilar, student staff
Female athletes have several reasons to celebrate this year, especially at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX. The act states that “No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
The title’s main purpose was to end discrimination in all extra curricular activities in education. For women, it had the most impact on athletics.
“In the 70’s prior to Title IX, the women’s teams traveled in vans. In the 80’s they moved from vans to buses, and then from buses to commercial airplanes and then from commercial airplanes to charter flights,” said Ceal Barry, CU Associate Athletics Director.
Here at CU, a number of measures are being taken in order to achieve Title IX compliance.
Up until just last year, the CU women’s volleyball team was practicing in Carlson Gym. The floor is so old, that there are nails sticking up from the floor. Coach Liz Kritza came to Barry, explaining that the girls were leaving practice with cut up arms from diving for balls.
Luckily, the women now have the new addition to the Coors Events Center to practice in.
Moving into the Pac 12 was also an important move for female athletes. It the conference that produces the most female Olympic athletes, and it offers more media coverage contracts.
“I think that’s going to help a lot. I heard something about a lot of our track meets that are going to be covered on TV,” said Emily Hunsucker, CU Senior Track & Field athlete.
Hunsucker is in the CU record books as fourth best in the weight throw and second best in the hammer throw. She is also here on a scholarship-something that would not have been possible without Title IX.
“I feel super lucky just to be a part of what’s going on at CU especially on the track and cross country side. They’re killing it,” she said.
Despite all of this success, there is still a spending gap at CU. The Title does not say anything about the amount of money needing to be split evenly between genders. As can be expected, the bulk of athletics money goes to football.
“You just don’t have a comparable sport (on the women’s side) but you hope that the spirit of the law permeates,” said Barry.
Hunsucker also said that during football season, the women do not have a locker room because the visiting teams use what would normally be the women’s lockers.
While there is still room for improvement, organizations and universities all over the country have been celebrating how far women have come in the past 40 years. Tennis star Billie Jean King spoke at the white house, and the Women’s Sports Foundation held a banquet honoring women athletes in history.
Barry looks at this anniversary year as a time to remember the amazing strides women’s sports have taken since she was a player at UK and to stay focused on the work that still needs to be done.
“It’s a constant effort to make sure that they’re given all the appropriate tools to be competitive in a very competitive conference,” said Barry.