A Place on the Team

A Place on the Team: The Triumph and Tragedy of Title IX

WELCH SUGGS
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 296
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7rkq4
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    A Place on the Team
    Book Description:

    A Place on the Teamis the inside story of how Title IX revolutionized American sports. The federal law guaranteeing women's rights in education, Title IX opened gymnasiums and playing fields to millions of young women previously locked out. Journalist Welch Suggs chronicles both the law's successes and failures-the exciting opportunities for women as well as the commercial and recruiting pressures of modern-day athletics.

    Enlivened with tales from Suggs's reportage, the book clears up the muddle of interpretation and opinion surrounding Title IX. It provides not only a lucid description of how courts and colleges have read (and misread) the law, but also compelling portraits of the people who made women's sports a vibrant feature of American life.

    What's more, the book provides the first history of the law's evolution since its passage in 1972. Suggs details thirty years of struggles for equal rights on the playing field. Schools dragged their feet, offering token efforts for women and girls, until the courts made it clear that women had to be treated on par with men. Those decisions set the stage for some of the most celebrated moments in sports, such as the Women's World Cup in soccer and the Women's Final Four in NCAA basketball.

    Title IX is not without its critics. Wrestlers and other male athletes say colleges have cut their teams to comply with the law, and Suggs tells their stories as well.

    With the chronicles of Pat Summitt, Anson Dorrance, and others who shaped women's sports,A Place on the Teamis a must-read not only for sports buffs but also for parents of every young woman who enters the arena of competitive sports.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2654-4
    Subjects: Law, Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-12)

    Early mornings are a teenager’s definition of hell. At 8:30 on a chilly November Saturday in 2003, the seventeen- and eighteen-year-old soccer players on the Potomac Mischief were having a hard time getting excited about their first game, against the McLean Mystics in the Bethesda Thanksgiving Showcase. Sleepy and cold, they made simple mistakes and let the ball spin crazily off their feet. (Luckily, the Mystics were just as sleepy.)

    The summer and fall had been a long haul for the Mischief, a club consisting of young women who for the most part lived in the affluent Maryland suburbs of...

  4. CHAPTER 1 The Segregated History of College Sports
    (pp. 13-31)

    There was a golden age of American sports. An age when coaches were respected teachers in their field, when athletes ran out into sunlight to play for the love of the game, to match strength and skill in defending their school’s honor and to stride across campus in their letter sweaters, where baseball and basketball were harmless pastimes played out in Norman Rockwell paintings.

    What’s missing from this picture? Men. Men’s sports like football. Stadiums full of cheering spectators. In the latter part of the nineteenth and the early decades of the twentieth centuries, girls and women at American schools...

  5. CHAPTER 2 A New Paradigm of Civil Rights
    (pp. 32-44)

    The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s fundamentally changed America, forcing white Americans to confront the disparities between their lives and those of black Americans, providing the cultural momentum to begin integrating schools and workplaces. As celebrated as that history is, one has to dig deep into law review articles and scholarly books to find one of the movement’s most important legacies: the laws and legal theory that were designed to break down the walls separating black and white. The laws were tremendously controversial and difficult to pass, and many of the debates over them linger to this...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Heroines as Well as Heroes
    (pp. 45-65)

    Title IX threw open the schoolhouse doors. It also threw open the doors to the gym—for female students and for coaches both. Competing became acceptable, training became acceptable, and schools sent teams out to play almost immediately. Teams require not just players, but coaches, coaches like Sylvia Rhyne Hatchell, Judy Wilkins Rose, and Pat Head Summitt, who met each other in Knoxville as graduate students in physical education in the fall of 1974. That fall they started three of the most remarkable careers of any women in college sports.

    They did not start with much. Summitt, training for the...

  7. CHAPTER 4 College Sports and Civil Rights
    (pp. 66-80)

    Title IX’s basic text is the least controversial aspect of the law. Even in the early 1970s, nobody in an official position would have argued that women did not deserve equal rights to educational opportunities. Over the past three decades, the legal and cultural battles have been fought instead over the assortment of rules and regulations the government published to implement Title IX, particularly in sports. Congress and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare took the better part of a decade to debate and finalize these rules, even as the AIAW came into being and then folded in the...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Legal and Logistical Challenges
    (pp. 81-96)

    As Title IX evolved into a contentious set of bureaucratic guidelines and the NCAA and AIAW fought for control over women’s sports, the idea that high school and college women ought to be out playing on the fields and courts of academe evolved from a theory to a practice around the country. In many cases athletics directors simply upgraded existing informal teams, or they created new teams to attract athletes who had been active in intramurals.

    This happened fairly quickly. Between 1966–67 and 1976–77, the number of women participating in college athletics jumped from 16,000 to 64,375, according...

  9. CHAPTER 6 The First Generation
    (pp. 97-104)

    Apart from, and often oblivious to, the concurrent legal battles, a generation of girls entered junior high and high school in the 1980s and early 1990s. Most of them had the opportunity for some kind of athletic experience, mostly in recreation programs and YMCAs in the suburbs but quite often in both urban and rural areas.

    In certain niches of the country, girls’ and women’s sports became socially acceptable, not only for participants but also for spectators. Small communities like Shelbyville, Tennessee; Hart County, Georgia; the Crow reservation in South Dakota; and Oregon City, Oregon, became girls’ basketball hotbeds. Just...

  10. CHAPTER 7 A Watershed Moment
    (pp. 105-124)

    After Congress made it very clear with the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 that Title IX did apply to sports, after all, athletes started finding their way to court to force colleges to abide by the law. Their numbers were small— athletes have only four years to compete in college sports, so finding plaintiffs who can stick with a case long enough to force change or see it become a class-action lawsuit is difficult. Finding both plaintiffs and lawyers got much easier in 1992, when the Supreme Court turned around and gave Title IX more teeth.

    Christine Franklin was...

  11. CHAPTER 8 Clarifications amid Controversy
    (pp. 125-141)

    The Brown case was a wake-up call, and it came at precisely the right moment. More and more girls were getting interested in sports, especially after seeing the success and celebration of female athletes at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Professional sports leagues for women proliferated, giving girls even more heroes. The NCAA announced its policy would be to support expanding opportunities for women until all colleges were in compliance. The rich and powerful Southeastern Conference set its own rule requiring each of its twelve members to have two more sports for women than for men, to help colleges offset...

  12. CHAPTER 9 Sports before College
    (pp. 142-152)

    The reams of policies and regulations issued under Title IX are written to apply to college sports. More specifically, they apply to the big-time college sports of Division I as they existed in the 1970s—hence the lengthy discussion of athletic scholarships, academic tutors, athletic dormitories, among other topics. This orientation makes it difficult to apply large sections of the law to high school sports, even though the law applies to high schools just as it does to colleges.

    High school sports for girls have evolved alongside college sports for women. In some cases, high schools have added sports because...

  13. CHAPTER 10 The Wrestlers’ Response
    (pp. 153-174)

    When the 2000 election rolled around, wrestlers saw their best chance to place their plight on the country’s political agenda. Groups like Iowans Against Quotas and Americans Against Quotas organized to get their message in front of the candidates and, thus, the public. They tried to get presidential hopefuls to sign a pledge to eliminate the three-part test as a quota system, and three agreed—Gary L. Bauer, Steve Forbes, and Alan L. Keyes.¹

    “We’re trying to educate the public and achieve our purpose through influencing the next president,” said Eric A. LeSher, president of Iowans Against Quotas. “We’ve definitely...

  14. CHAPTER 11 The Tragedy
    (pp. 175-187)

    Participating in sports is a tremendously valuable experience for anybody. The physical and social benefits are obvious. The educational benefits are a little harder to spot, but they are there. Sport can teach normative lessons on teamwork, respect for the rules of the game, and respect for one’s opponents. Competition teaches courage, practice teaches perseverance, and playing for a championship requires an athlete to reach inside to summon abilities she may not have known she had. The heat of the game is a beautiful, passionate, captivating moment.

    Dudley Allen Sargent knew that. Senda Berenson knew that. Teddy Roosevelt knew that....

  15. CHAPTER 12 Triumph?
    (pp. 188-196)

    Title IX and its application to sports have certainly evolved since 1972, thanks to the many challenges, lawsuits, and controversies that have confronted it. In the main, it has been extraordinarily but not completely successful: It has created opportunities for thousands of female athletes, and it has forced the American public to recognize the value of women’s sports, but women’s teams still lack the deep cultural significance that athletics departments ascribe to men’s sports. As a result, women still lag behind men in participation and funding in both high school and college sports.

    These lags are more noticeable because Title...

  16. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 197-200)
  17. APPENDIX A TITLE IX OF THE EDUCATION AMENDMENTS OF 1972
    (pp. 201-204)
  18. APPENDIX B FOUNDING MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS FOR WOMEN
    (pp. 205-207)
  19. APPENDIX C DRAFT REGULATIONS FOR INTERSCHOLASTIC AND INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS (1974)
    (pp. 208-209)
  20. APPENDIX D FINAL REGULATIONS CONCERNING TITLE IX AND SCHOLASTIC-COLLEGIATE SPORTS (1975)
    (pp. 210-211)
  21. APPENDIX E PROPOSED POLICY INTERPRETATION (1978)
    (pp. 212-219)
  22. APPENDIX F POLICY INTERPRETATION: TITLE IX AND INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS (1979)
    (pp. 220-229)
  23. APPENDIX G THE CIVIL RIGHTS RESTORATION ACT OF 1987
    (pp. 230-231)
  24. APPENDIX H CLARIFICATION OF INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETIC POLICY GUIDANCE: THE THREE-PART TEST (1996)
    (pp. 232-235)
  25. APPENDIX I FURTHER CLARIFICATION OF INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS POLICY GUIDANCE REGARDING TITLE IX COMPLIANCE (2003)
    (pp. 236-240)
  26. NOTES
    (pp. 241-258)
  27. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 259-266)
  28. LAND MARK TITLE IX LAWSUITS
    (pp. 267-268)
  29. INDEX
    (pp. 269-283)